We were all disappointed to learn of Gregg Williams, the Saints defensive coordinator's, offer to his guys to get a bonus for taking out an opposing player. Encouraging your men to deliberately hurt someone else is simply wrong. Period. The game is tough enough without promoting serious injury. But the penalties Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, imposed on the Saints is even worse.
First of all, before you can hurt a runner, you first have to catch him. Few Saints defenders could even do that. No one was seriously hurt. Secondly, it's common knowledge that all defensive players are paid to hit hard. Every team in the league has promoted this forever. Every coach and owner in the history of football knows this... even Roger Goodell.
Should there have been a penalty? Yes, of course. It's good to send a message to the other teams once in a while to cool it. But let the punishment fit the crime. Stiff fines would have been appropriate. Hit 'em where it hurts... right in the pocketbook. But suspending Gregg Williams indefinitely, suspending Mickey Loomis for eight games, and suspending Coach Sean Peyton for the entire 2012 season? What ??? Maybe Goodell acted a little too fast. Maybe he didn't think this through.
What has he accomplished besides making himself look foolish? He's seriously slowed down two teams from winning ball games, which is counter-productive. This is not what an NFL leader should do. But, even worse, he's done exactly what the hard-hitting was supposed to do - take players out of the game. Let's give Goodell an opportunity to lessen the penalties and somewhat redeem himself. Failing that, I'd urge the team owners and all the other decision makers in the NFL to give him a taste of his own medicine and take Goodell out of the game.