Somehow, just when it seems like football news will quiet down, something new comes along. In this case, it is the graphic and often disturbing language Gregg Williams used in a speech to his Saints defense the night before their playoff game against the 49ers. Some players are talking about how it's a speech to fire up the players, but when you start getting into specific injuries (going after Michael Crabtree's ACL, testing Kyle Williams concussion, getting head shots in when coming out of the pile, hitting Alex Smith in the chin with some money potentially going ), things start getting out of hand.
As would be expected, this has led to all sorts of chatter on twitter as people discuss the fallout from this. While there is a certain level of locker-room talk involved in this, ESPN's Dan Graziano made a good point:
People -- esp those who played -- are saying the Gregg Williams audio isn't unusual. I think the point is, it needs to be.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) April 5, 2012
Football is obviously a very physical game, and we have seen a lot of rule changes intending to lighten that up to a certain extent. At this point, I have to think even the most gung-ho of people who supports a physical game can view this whole situation as going too far.
There is room for physicality in football. Albert Breer referenced this in a tweet of his own:
Also not gonna be a hypocrite -- In Jan, said I loved the tempo & physicality that Niners-Saints game was played at. Still feel that way.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 5, 2012
It was an insanely physical football game and there is a place for that. Of course, it is also kind of ironic that Gregg Williams talked a big game about showing the 49ers how physical the Saints could be, and yet it was Donte Whitner who laid the biggest hit of the game. The 49ers established the physical tone early on, as they did all season.
There is a drastic difference between encouraging your team to play tough football and actively encouraging specific injuries. There is no place in any sort of motivational speech for hitting ACLs and popping a guy in the chin for some extra cash.
There is some chatter about potential civil suits by opposing players. Dylan mentioned it a while back and it has been bandied about on Twitter. Given the nature of football and the fact that many players have indicated this is not an uncommon practice, I would be surprised to see any lawsuits. That conceivably opens the door for discussion of any bounty systems in existence around the league now or in the past. I suppose this could develop like the concussion lawsuits, but I would be a bit surprised if such lawsuits happened.