Biddle’s Beat: Wed. Mar. 7, 2012

JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: July 7, 2013 (Image 1)

Can we talk?

I have had it up to here with all this Bountygate garbage. Watergate was 40 years ago. Can't we come up with another phrase to use when some dirty laundry comes to light?

If what I have heard and read is any indication — teams, coaches and/or teammates paid various amounts of money to NFL players whose hits put a hurtin' on opposing players.

We are all guilty of suspecting, knowing, but not telling. Yes, media is high on the guilt meter. You mean to tell me these bounty payments have been prevalent, dating back decades, and those media types who watch every practice, practically live in the locker rooms during the season and form relationships with players never once got a whiff of it? There was no Deep Throat, no Woodward and Bernstein?

Current Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will take the hit because he confessed there was a system that rewarded New Orleans defensive players for ringing opponents' bells with devastating hits during games. Williams offered a sincere apology, said he knew it was happening, knew it was wrong, but went along with it anyway, doing nothing to stop the stampede.

Gregg Williams didn't dream up this scheme. You can date his association with these type bounties back to former Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. Buddy Ryan coached Jeff Fisher, took him under his wing after Fisher's playing days and gave Fisher his start in the coaching profession.

Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams have a long, deep relationship. Williams was an entry-level coach for the Oilers. He moved up the chain of command and was Fisher's choice for defensive coordinator when the franchise moved to Tennessee.

Did the Titans employ some type of monetary rewards for big hits? There have been accusations around the league that the Titans are a “dirty'' defensive team.

Mild mannered Tony Dungy as much as implied that this week, as the former Colts head coach said that he had former Titans come to Indianapolis and former Colts went to the Titans.

“When guys leave, they talk,'' Dungy said on a video.

While those guys are talking, Williams'mea culpa could not have happened at a worse time on the NFL calendar. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to be known as the commissioner who cleaned up the country's most popular sport. Polished up all the warts, cleaned up all the performance enhancing drugs.

Now Goodell has to find a way to convince sponsors, fans, mothers and fathers that players in his league do not go out every Sunday during the season and try to scramble someone else's brains.

His investigation is aimed at the Saints, where Williams was defensive coordinator for three seasons, including year before last when they won the Super Bowl.

But Goodell is just scraping the tip of the iceberg.  In the coming days, I predict there will be more players, coaches, owners and teams stepping forward to offer their kiss and tell stories.

Others will be implicated. It will be baseball's steroids scandal, one that has advanced to HGH and other designer drugs to enhance performance.

The NFL's problem is that the game demands toughness. It demands playing hard, playing at full speed, playing with a passion bucket filled with adrenaline.

Today's players are bigger, faster, stronger than those that played 10 years ago. If you stand on the sidelines of an NFL game today, you get a taste of violence that leaves you wondering how anyone could get out of bed the next morning. Yet fans encourage the violence.

Goodell will likely make an example out of someone. He needs to send a strong message and Williams and the Saints will be on the receiving end.

I predict Williamson will be fined and suspended for at least half the season. A full season away from the game is possible.

The Saints should lose money and draft picks. Owner Tom Benson, General Manager Mickey Loomis and Coach Sean Payton are also facing fines and suspensions.

But how deep will Goodell carve the golden goose? He will never eradicate the violence in a violent game. Kids in Pee Wee leagues are encouraged by parents and coaches to play for keeps. It escalates the higher up the flagpole they climb. We read every year about high school football players paralyzed for life. The same thing occurs at the college level.

There is no magic cure. Professional players are willing to risk their lives to play the game. That's a high price to pay, but they willingly do it every Sunday. And nothing Roger Goodell can do will change that.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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