Drew Brees has the opportunity to break Johnny Unitas’ consecutive passing TD record, which has stood since 1960.
Obviously, this is a historical time in football; therefore, Drew Brees wrote a letter to the NFL so that New Orleans Saints’ suspended coaches and general manager could be in attendance in order to make this feat “complete”.
So when the NFL extended an invitation to suspended coaches Sean Payton and Joe Vitt, as well as general manager Mickey Loomis, my mouth turned sideways. Was this a true display of compassion or was it an extension of a broken crumpled olive branch? I’m not quite sure. But being from New Orleans, we love to buy into a good conspiracy theory. So,
Let’s travel down the different “bounty gate” conspiracy lanes….
1. NFL doesn’t want the home team to play in Super Bowl because not as much money will be made.
Not buying into this one… the NFL makes their money through ticket sales, advertisement and licensed merchandise sales. The home team wouldn’t affect these. Who doesn’t want to party in New Orleans, anyway!?
2. Roger Goodell has “it out for the Saints”.
Maybe… The Saints may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wonder, if New Orleans was a bigger market would the penalties have been the same (e.g. Spygate)? An incentive program probably existed but this is completely different than a “pay to injure” program. I believe that those who play the game have more respect for it than to see one of their fellow “brothers” carted off from something they “intended” to do.
3. The New Orleans Saints were scapegoats.
Okay, hear me out… with more information coming out about head trauma and football related injuries, the NFL had to show they were doing all things possible to take care of current, and former players. Allegations to the contrary exist however, where team doctors would deem players ready to play who may have sustained and/or still had lingering affects from concussions. With key players out, the owners stood to lose games and more importantly revenue. So Roger Goodell, whose allegiance is to the owners, found a way to deflect onus away from the them, and onto a team of misfits with a rogue defensive coordinator. If the concerns were always about patient safety, then why an 18 game season? Why the referee lock out? Did you see some of those hits???
Since the accused players didn’t “lay down and take it,” Goodell has to figure out his next move. Where is the 50,000 pages of evidence now? If I had the “trump card,” I would be slamming it on the table emphatically. BAM! No such gesture from Goodell. What he has done though, is allow indefinitely suspended Gregg Williams to attend multiple games of the St. Louis Rams. The timing is awfully ironic, (after signing affidavit implicating Vilma). Yes, Williams’ son coaches for the Rams, but he was coaching before the affidavit too.
I’m not naïve. The Saints’ organization may not be completely guilt free, but are they guilty of what they are being accused? Or of what the “evidence” shows?
Player safety was an impetus for the NFL’s stance, but always follow the bouncing green ball of money, the truth is usually somewhere buried underneath.
I am pleased that the NFL granted Drew Brees’ request. It would have been a PR nightmare for Goodell, whose integrity is already under the microscope. Was the decision to benefit Brees, pacify the maligned, or boost Goodell’s public image? I guess time will tell.
Anyway, Congrats Drew and let’s go get that “W” too. GEAUX SAINTS! WHO DAT!!