||04-10-2012 11:42 PM
.. well, I have my own conspiracy theory about this whole "bountygate" thing, in that the NFL picked the Saints to be the scapegoats in cahoots with the Saints and the Rams organizations.
My rationale is, everyone in the NFL, from Goddell to the waterboys, must know about cash payments under the table, players wanting to knock other players out, is nothing new: it's been going on since football became football. Now, after the 2009 Senate hearings on concussions and player safety, the ex-player lawsuits, the cries about the beating Farve took, and Gregg Williams' big mouth, what better team is out there than the Saints which the NFL FO can use as scapegoat in putting a show of enforcing player safety by severely punishing the team, yet without severely crippling the team's competitiveness?
The Saints have the best offense the last 6 years running, the defense has been half-decent one. Sure Payton is not going to be there with the suspension, but last year things ran smoothly without Payton on the sidelines, and the playbook is surely not going to change that much at this point. So maybe without Payton the Saints drop from #1 most awesome offense ever to #5 without Payton on the sidelines. The defense, on the other hand, was just about to go through an overhaul anyway because it was actually pretty bad, so even suspending a few players was not going to cause a major drop in defensive performance.
As for the Rams, GW didn't even have a chance to step inside the Rams facilities, it is early, they have a new coach, going through a transition, where doormats last year, etc, so while they get inconvenienced in that they need to find another DC, it really doesn't hurt them.
And obviously, the catalyst here is money: it'd only take a closed-door meeting among the owners and Goddell to figure out "we do this now, the Saints and Rams get inconvenienced this year, but we save billions on lawsuit payouts later".