A team melee broke out this week during the New Orleans Saints' mini-camp. The Seattle Seahawks were stripped of two organized team activity practices after the NFL found them in violation of CBA rules after they admittedly performed excessive contact and hitting during off-season practice sessions.
Why is this even remotely shocking? This is just another example of the New Orleans Saints' 'bounty gate' scandal. The Seahawks' infractions unfolded because of a culture that will always exist in the NFL. Seattle's' environment is no different than the foul words captured on tape by former Saints defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams--buttons were pushed by coaches to get players to respond aggressively and perform in an overly competitive environment.
Why on earth are NFL players acting so aggressively in meaningless OTA's or mini-camp?
It doesnt matter if its bounty payments distributed by Saints coaches or the mantra of 'competition' preached by Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. They are equal as both coaches encourage an environment for overaggressive behavior. There was no money involved, other than a days pay for these players to go off in Seattle or New Orleans. This is the off-season; players dont receive a weekly paycheck.
The new CBA dictates teams are only allowed 10 OTA sessions. Seattles behavior must have been reported early on for the league to investigate. As a former NFL player, I know this type of behavior, environment, and culture exists on all 32 teams.
Why would coaches break rules by having players knock around their own teammates? Was it an attempt by players to impress coaches, teammates, or earn a job or bonus for off-season workouts performed?
There are many reasons, but the competitive environment to earn an NFL roster spot mixed with coach speak fuel is not leaving the NFL anytime soon. There weren't any non-contractual paid incentives for an OTA practice session.
Are we to assume the Seahawks' practice just happened to be an overzealous day at work?
Hardly. There was probable cause and the NFL investigated like they did for 'bounty gate'.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently proclaimed that bounties are no longer a part of the NFL culture. What coaching staff needs bounties? Its been proven this last week that players will do it to their own teammates for free.
I thought this environment and culture didnt exist anymore. Goodell said so. If the bounty culture is eradicated from the NFL as the commissioner has claimed, wait until next years offseason OTA sessions. Players will make bounty pacts to fight early and often, knowing it will lead to OTA cancellations.
Why not? If safety is so paramount in the NFL, players can insure there won't be any excessive practices with a simple non-contractual agreement. In baseball, no one can predict a rain-out, but NFL players just received a couple of guaranteed rain-outs from Roger Goodell.