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Nfl Retirees: Saints Crossed The Line


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There is an old story that has been told, most recently in HBO's documentary "Namath," about a legendary quarterback with bad knees and a league full of opponents unwilling to exploit it. Fred Dryer doesn't understand why people make such a big deal about it. Back in the 1970s, Joe Namath had bad knees -- everyone knew he had bad knees -- but Dryer, a tough defensive end who went on to be a badass on a 1980s cop show, never took a shot at them. It didn't seem right, Dryer said. Around the league, defensive players would pull up when tackling Namath.

"There was a moral code to how you played the sport," Dryer said.

"I would hate to play today."

There is a legion of old football players who are passionate and angry right now, and perhaps that is somewhat of a surprise. When commissioner Roger Goodell cracked down on the Saints last month for running a bounty program, there was a sentiment, voiced loudly in New Orleans and whispered among a few young defensive players, that Goodell was once again sissifying football. That the stuff former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said to jack up his players has been said in locker rooms for decades.

It hasn't. At least that's what Dryer and a number of other retired NFL players said in interviews this week. Many of them expressed disappointment at what they heard in the audio clip released late last week that featured Williams, the day before a January divisional playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers, imploring his defense to "kill Frank Gore's head" and target receiver Michael Crabtree's ACL.

Dryer mainly expressed disgust. For nearly 40 minutes, with his voice reaching high decibels, Dryer vented his anger at a league that he says is reckless and at a reality that so many of his friends are stumbling through their later years with concussion issues and battered old bodies. Dryer said he supports Goodell's decision to suspend Saints coach Sean Payton for a year and ban Williams, the team's former defensive coordinator, indefinitely.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/77...s-crossed-line

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Hmmm not sure I buy Dryer's memories. I watched the NFL back when Namath played, and as I recall it he had bad knees BECAUSE the opposing defensive players DID target them. In fact, if my very old memory servers me correctly, many of the rule changes protecting QBs came about just because of the way Namath was intentionally brutalized by opposing defensive players. The NFL has always been a violent sport played by violent men. Thank goodness over the years they have made more rule changes to try to protect these guys as much as possible while still preserving the very nature of the sport itself.

Can any of you other old geezers out there confirm or deny my memory of the Namath era? I may be wrong: man that was soooo long ago.

When I was just a kid, my brother and I idolized Vince Lombardi while he was building and running those awesome Packer teams of the early 60s. I thank the NFL and ALL the great coaches/players in it who have provided me with so many great moments in sports history and my many fond memories.

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Exactly . Players back then didn't want to gain a repution as a " dirty " player because the rest of the league had a way of metering out their own brand of justice . Usually it wasn't the cheap shot artist that was getting nailed , but a teammate that was just try to earn a paycheck who wound up getting hurt over someone else's stupidity .

No one wanted to be that guy , so if a teammate had a rep for trying to delibertly cripple an opponent he was typically ostersized by his fellow teammates . Most of these old-timers where out there just for the love of the game because they were not getting paid like players today , and they had some mutual respect for the other guys who were doing the same .

Besides , it was considered more manly to rip the helmet off an opponent and punch him in the mouth than go for a knee . That's what a real man would do .happy.png

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wow. what a bunch of bull hockey. the game was different back then because it was even more brutal. anyone remember the old bump and run whhen receivers were cracked coming off the line of scrimmage? anyone remember Jack Tatum? what about the head slap? running players intentionally into the goal posts? the Raiders and Steelers would destroy you.

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wow. what a bunch of bull hockey. the game was different back then because it was even more brutal. anyone remember the old bump and run whhen receivers were cracked coming off the line of scrimmage? anyone remember Jack Tatum? what about the head slap? running players intentionally into the goal posts? the Raiders and Steelers would destroy you.

While I agree that was old school, hard-nosed football that was then, before the truth about concussions and neurological disorders were better known. Over the years the NFL (not just Goodell, but Tags as well) has tried to make the game safer for the future retirees from the game. Especially after seeing the effects of the head to head hits had on the older guys.

For one, I am all about a good, hard hit, as long as it's clean and without malicious intent.

I'm not going to argue with you or play my biased side of this, I'm just going to point out the obvious thing that brought this whole scandal to light.

The 2010 NFC Championship Game...the broadcasters for FOX (Buck and Aikman) were continually referring to the slightly late (apparently within reason) hits that were being dished out to Farve as "Remember Mes", a term Greg Williams had long used to describe similiar hits by his players. It was part of his philosophy. Rattle them, take them out of their comfort zone, which is something all DC's want to instill in their players, but at the right time, in between the whistles. Williams encouraged the slightly late hits, the momentum hits if you will.

Jonathan Vilma as his offer of $10,000 for any player who took Farve out of the game. Farve is a tough SOB and played with a severly injured ankle, something that is paramount to good QB play. Did it affect the throw that was intercepted by Porter? Maybe, but Farve has also been known as a risk-taker over the years and in a crucial situation, FEARING another "remember me" he got rid of the ball in a hurry, thus leading to the turnover.

These are the two most prevalent issues that stand out regarding this scandal. In 09 (I believe) Bart Scott offered a bounty on Hines Ward, the NFL caught wind of it, two days later, Scott was apologizing for the comments he made.

The NFL found out about the Saints bounty program and instructed them to stop it immediately...they didn't listen and now have been reprimanded.

Think back to when you were a kid, imagine if you were the neighborhood bully and you kept picking on and beating up one particular kid. Your parents told you to stop, but you didn't. Next thing you know, you have no contact with the outside world and your dad beat your behind so badly that you couldn't sit down for a week.

That's what this equivalent to. You call Bull Hockey...I call Justice.

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i agree that Williams should be fired and banned - seems that may be happening. I agree that Vilma should be suspended for the year. those two see to be the most egregious offenders in al of this. but to question simply hitting players? all defenses through all time have used this ploy. if the game turns to flag football, so be it.

as to the Vikings - their fans keep crying about the game, but no hitting in the world makes you bring twelve players to the huddle. Favre has thrown more interceptions thatn anyone in history. he too often believed in the hype that he could win any game by himself. and didn't the running back have a bad game?

as to the hypocrite Goodell, he runs a company that sells violence. then when they get wind of the lawsuits that former players are filing he becomes all about player safety. was it last year or the year before a player got abig fime for a hit the same week the NFL was adverting a greatest hits dvd? and why does the NFL automatically deny every claim brought by ex-players? why do guys who are obviously crippled have to fight so hard for compensation? because Goodell is talking out both sides of his mouth.

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