Friday, March 02, 2012

Say it Saint so

Goddamnit, Saints! Really?

You’re already the most targeted and disrespected team in the National Football League. Every time you had the nerve to hit one of the untouchable quarterbacks like Brett Favre, all the haters said you were dirty. And that’s what they were, haters. Fans with selective memories and rife with the idea that the New Orleans Saints aren’t worthy of winning anything. Pure petulance.

And now you just validated all of them.

The NFL makes me sicker every year. Player safety is well and good. And yes, conspiring to knock out other players is wrong. But I think the Goodell regime overreacts a lot of the time. And you just gave them more reason to keep overreacting.

Oh, and they will overreact. All the pundits are salivating over the prospect that you will receive harsher sanctions than the Patriots did for filming opposing teams’ signals. And all the other teams, none of whom have ever done the same thing, will wag their fingers condescendingly. Tsk tsk. And it won’t even have the benefit of exploring bounties by other teams, I’ll bet. No matter how hard, cheap and late they hit Jimmy Graham in the playoffs.

Money was already tearing apart the Saints we all know and love before this bomb dropped. Those cool-headed enough to do so reminded us that football, like every other goddamn thing in the universe, is a business. Inevitably. But the bounty system was pure greed. Inexcusable greed that, unlike the Patriots’ transgression, didn’t even lead to better performances. Seriously?

To sum up, you allegedly engaged in a prize ring that rewarded excessive, damaging hits and created a paper trail, fully aware that you’re already criticized (fairly or not) for playing dirty, thus making it officially dirty and still managing to suck, and as a result giving ammunition to all your many critics. Nice going.

The bounty affair is a wrong that’s going to keep a lot of other wrongs going strong for years to come.

So much for ever seeing an aggressive defense ever again in the NFL. Can something be killed twice? Will every team in the future be the subject of investigation every time they land a hard hit? We know the Saints will. They seem to be the team that sparks more rule changes than any other lately.

Of course, my friends who aren’t Saints fans think I’m wrong about that, that I'm just a delusional fan. They’re loving this. They love to watch me struggle to defend something I don’t want to defend. Many of them think it’s entertaining. And I guess it is, because the Saints seemed to be one of the few things going right in my life, something I could be a part of, something that brought me closer to family, friends and my favorite city. I’m not so naive as to think money and greed aren’t part of the game, but there still seemed to be a logic to it. Not anymore. Now there’s a real taint to what others insisted was tainted all along, something I defended to the bone. Now I’m not sure how to take it.

I guess I just have to accept the fact that everyone in the world is bought and paid for, and the price isn’t even that high.

What a shame. What a waste.

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