Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Problems for the Saints

As you probably know, I am a big Saints fan. I have been since the early 80's when I attended a Saints game one Sunday afternoon at the Super-dome and was really impressed by how loyal the New Orleans fans were to a team that consistently played bad. The day I went to the game the Saints were in last place and were playing the Cowboys, who were in first place, but the stadium was still packed. Many of the fans showed up wearing paper bags over their heads with holes cut out for the eyes.... The important thing was that they still showed up to support their team -and that made me start following the Saints and really wishing they'd win a few for those fans. I've been a fan myself ever since.

Well, the good old Saints are in a bit of trouble right now. It seems they got caught offering a bonus to players that "took out" players on opposing teams (purposely trying to cause injuries so the other team would lose players for the rest of that game). That is an unacceptable behavior. From what I have heard it is something many of the teams were doing unofficially but the Saints made the mistake of organizing it and even setting a schedule of bonuses based on the type of injury inflicted. Wow. Bad Saints, bad. I understand completely why the NFL has come down hard on this and wants to make an example harsh enough to stop the practice league wide.

But, having said that, I think they may have gone a little too far on the punishment side. The Saints Head Coach, Sean Payton, has been suspended and will not be able to coach the Saints for a year. That will hurt the Saints badly as he has been one of the major factors in making them one of the top teams these past few years. It will also cost him dearly in pay -we are talking millions of dollars here. I think that is going overboard -especially since I do not see them going after other teams for the same practice. That is unfair. If you are going to punish one team so severely then you should punish all teams that paid bonuses for purposely targeting opposing team players. Fair play is, after all, fair play -and is part of what sports should be about.

As for Sean Payton's suspension, I think taking him out for a year is a bit much. Suspending him for several games and giving him a big fine would have gotten the same point across and it would not have hurt the team -and more importantly, the fans, as much.

The Saints still have some great coaches and outstanding players (Go Drew!) so they may do OK next season. But OK will not get them to Superbowl and, as a long time fan, that is just unacceptable.

Live Long and Prosper....

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