Just when you think it doesn’t get much bigger than Peyton Manning shopping for a new team, a bounty program involving the New Orleans Saints is unveiled and Tim Tebow gets traded to the Jets. This week was definitely exciting for NFL fans, with suspensions, fines, punishments and trades galore. First off, Peyton Manning finally decided on the team that he will most likely finish out his time in the NFL with, the Denver Broncos. Manning’s arrival in Denver sent Tebow packing for a new team, and that team was the unstable New York Jets. Tebow had a plethora of options of teams to play for, with the most likely being the Jacksonville Jaguars since that is where he grew up and his family lives, but instead he somehow ended up in New York. Always the optimist, Tebow spoke about how happy he was to be a Jet and how when it came to what team he ended up on, it was totally up to Denver and he had no say in the matter. This lead to a bit of a war of words between him and Denver’s John Elway.
Perhaps the biggest news in the NFL this past week was the suspension of virtually every member of the New Orleans Saints coaching staff and numerous fines on players. After a bounty system that saw players getting bonuses up to $50,000 for injuring opposing players was uncovered, NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. With coaches condoning (or standing by idly) a system that rewards defensive players for injuring offensive players, the Saints have lost their head coach Sean Peyton for the season, their defensive coordinator (who is responsible for orchestrating the scheme) indefinitely, and their general manager and assistant head coach for the early part of the season. If that wasn’t enough they also lost their second round picks in the 2012 and 2013 drafts as well as being fined $500,000. While some may feel this is a bit extreme, I feel that it is perfectly just. The NFL is an offense driven league, and when a team threatens that with a careless bounty program they don’t need to just be punished, they need to be made into an example of what happens to anyone who threatens the well being of other players in the league. This may taint the Saints Superbowl victory a few years ago, but they did it to themselves, and I for one am glad that Goodell has stepped up to the plate and sent a strong message to other teams around the league that these actions will not be tolerated.