If you pay attention to NFL football at all, and probably even if you don’t, you’ve heard that Peyton Manning is now a Denver Bronco. Once you’ve seen Brett Favre in a Vikings uniform nothing in football is really surprising anymore so, no, this doesn’t feel particularly odd to me, but I am a little bit disappointed.
None of the teams that were “courting” Manning are favorite teams of mine so I wasn’t really rooting for one of them in particular to get him but I am disappointed that he chose the Broncos. To me, the Broncos have always been one of “those other teams” – neither loved nor hated. Just recently though, I have developed a strong contempt for John Elway. His dislike of Tim Tebow seems rather bizarre. I’m not particularly a Tebow fan either but he is a good young quarterback and the fans love him. Okay, so maybe he’s not the “right” quarterback for Denver. I wouldn’t know; I don’t coach football. But Elway… oh what can I say? I don’t know. Every time I see his face I think it would be satisfying to see someone punch it.
I’ve always liked Peyton Manning because he’s fun to watch. I hope he does well at Denver and continues to be fun to watch for a few more years (not to win a Superbowl but just to put on a good show) and then I want to see Tim Tebow really embarrass the hell out of the Broncos – let’s say, something like 35-3 – and I want to see the look on John Elway’s face when it happens. That’ll be way better than a punch.
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The bounty scandal makes me sad. Football is a violent sport. We like the violence. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to us because the players usually bounce right back just like in the cartoons or at least that’s the way it seems. The biggest hits make it into the highlights and players like that. To those involved and those who knew about it and did nothing, the bounty system probably seemed only a “little bit” unethical – not a big deal. It was just part of the culture.
But paying a person to injure another person is wrong. It always has been. If you are not a football player and someone offers you money to hurt someone, you accept and you both get caught what happens then? If convicted you both go to prison, right? Maybe you think football players are being payed to hurt each other anyway – millions of dollars to get out there on the field and slam into each other really hard – but that is not the right way to look at it. Violence is part of the game but it is not the point of the game.
A message had to be sent. An example had to be made. I am sad that the Saints had to be the example. I’m sure there are other teams who have been doing the same thing. When they get caught they will be punished also but they will not get the same amount of attention as the Saints are getting. The stain on their reputations won’t be as huge. The Saints will be the ones who are remembered for the bounty scandal.