Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Tarkenton's big hit on Gregg Williams
By Mike Sando
Hall of Famer Frank Tarkenton has occasionally taken some shots at current NFL quarterbacks, notably Jay Cutler and Brett Favre.
Tarkenton found an even easier target in former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams. Tarkenton, writing for the Wall Street Journal, is calling for a lifetime ban against Williams for his involvement in rewarding players for injuring opponents.
"Football is a tough, physical game," Tarkenton wrote. "It is violent. But there is a line between being violent and being vicious. Williams crossed that line when he established a bounty system that rewarded players -- not for tough, clean football plays but for injuring other players."
Williams has not spoken at length, but I suspect he would frame the bounties as rewarding players for tough, clean football plays that forced opponents out of games. In my view, the distinction between legal hits that injure opponents and illegal ones that injure them is one that needs to be made independent of how troubling the bounty concept might be on its own.
Tarkenton makes strong points in explaining why the Saints' bad intentions crossed an ethical line. He also took offense to the hit Williams' Washington Redskins put on Peyton Manning years earlier.
"It was one of the worst hits I have ever seen, as one player tackles him low from the side, before another hits him high head-on, bending him backwards and ripping his helmet off in the process," Tarkenton wrote.
Tarkenton concludes by calling for the lifetime ban.
"The NFL has to come down hard on this scandal because every team, coach and player needs to get the message that this is not OK," he wrote. "Gregg Williams should never be seen in the NFL again."
Earlier: Bounty Double Coverage.