You know as a kid when you hang out with your best buddies all the time, and not by choice but mere familiarity, you begin to act and talk like them? Start using the same nicknames and having similar opinions. Your personalities become near carbon copies of one another. I think that's what is happening here. Stephen A. Smith has been spending far too much time around Skip Bayless and his nitwitted, controversial opinions are starting to wear off on him. Either that or he just has a bold, moronic take on a topic that is receiving far too much attention.
As a Saints fan, I have strong feelings about BountyGate. I think most would agree that the penalties the Saints and their staff had to endure were far too extensive. Especially given the evidence, which was circumstantial at best. Sean Payton sitting out an entire season was the most drastic penalty a head coach has ever received. It would be very difficult to prove that monetary motivation caused the Saints to play any differently on the field. They finished amongst the middle of the pack in personal foul penalties that year. Football is a sport that is animalistic in nature. When a player tackles another player he does not do it with good intentions. Encouraging aggressiveness does not necessarily mean promoting injury, especially given the violent nature of the sport. Far be for me to say that a small sum of cash, that pales in comparison to a player's actual salary, would be enough for them to risk their reputation and livelihood to intentionally cut another player's career short. The actual play of the Saints was not what was punished. There are many other factors that went into Roger Goodell's decision.
There are very few similarities between DeflateGate and BountyGate. Neither coach supposedly knew what was going on, even though both should have. Also, neither situation was unheard of, by any stretch. Brad Johnson admitted this morning that he paid $7,500 for an NFL employee to scuff up game balls to his liking prior to Super Bowl 37. Aaron Rodgers is widely known for his preference for over inflated balls. Both quarterbacks validate my previous opinion that teams have absolutely done this before, without it becoming anywhere near this big of an issue. The supposed bounties that were being administered behind closed doors were not some unprecedented circumstance either. In fact, many NFL players, past and present, argued that almost all teams had some form of bounty system. Whether either situation is right and/or good for the sport is debatable, but their unpunished existence in NFL history is not.
The major difference, that is seemingly flying directly over the head of Mr. Smith, is that BountyGate could have directly affected the health of NFL players. BountyGate came at the ass end of dozens of lawsuits claiming negligence of the NFL in regard to the head injuries and health of current and former players. It came during the heart of the CTE craze, a degenerative disease most commonly associated with football. BountyGate wasn't a big deal because it involved money exchanging hands under the table. BountyGate was a big deal because the league was trying to take a hard stance against life altering injuries. It was more about protecting the shield than protecting the actual players. The Saints were far more guilty of bad timing than of any on field transgressions. Far more guilty of the theory of bounties than the actual practice of bounties.
The suspension of Sean Payton was meant to set an example, and it clearly did. However, in no way does it relate to the inflation of a football. Evidence presented shows that 11 of the Patriots 12 footballs were "significantly" under inflated, and I honestly have no ides what that means. In my eyes, any football that was SIGNIFICANTLY altered would be visible by anyone that owns an HD television, never mind the officials that spot on the ball on a play by play basis. A football is a football is a motherfucking football. As long as there are two teams, 100 yards of gridiron, and a ball of any size, shape, or inflation level, wrapped in pigskin there are no excuses when the clock hits zero. While the sizable nature of the BountyGate consequences still bothers me, I would be duplicitous to say the situations were equivalent in any way.
Today in "Absurdly Idiodic Takes From The Media"….