Peyton Manning is a Bronco. Bounty hunting is severely punished. And Tim Tebow takes Tebow-mania to the Big Apple.
Just like that, in the span of only a few days, the very predictable NFL world has been turned inside-out. Peyton Manning covered in orange? I never thought I’d see that unless he was wearing his Tennessee Volunteers uniform.
Turns out that ole lovable and injured Peyton is one shrewd negotiator. He leaves Indianapolis in tears and in doubt, only to re-emerge seemingly moments later, with a bevy of teams in hot pursuit and ultimately a financial deal from the Denver Broncos even larger than the one he had with the Colts.
And in courting and landing Manning, Denver Broncos’ president John Elway was able to say goodbye to Tim Tebow and all of his maniacs without looking like a villain.
Even the staunchest Tebow-maniac knows a soon-to-be healthy Peyton Manning is a better fit under center in Denver than a still very raw Tim Tebow. And Elway knows that the very forgiving Tebow will never publicly say a bad word about the messy way all of this was handled.
Most weeks the delicious storyline that has Manning taking over the Mania would give talk show hosts and blogs more than enough to bark about. And the speculation about where Tim Tebow might land would have been an even sweeter sports dessert.
But news that Tebow was traded to the New York Jets amid rumors that he would yet land in his hometown of Jacksonville, was quickly overshadowed by one of the most devastating sports punishments ever levied.
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton is suspended one year for failing to end the bounty program he either ignored or endorsed. It doesn’t matter which. He will forfeit his $7.5 million salary for this indiscretion. And the man who actually developed and oversaw the Saints bounty system, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, may be fighting for his career.
Williams who just left the Saints to help rebuild the defensive fortunes of the St. Louis Rams was suspended indefinitely and conceivably might never coach in the NFL again.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants to send the strongest message possible that bounties, which targeted opposing players for cash and prizes, will no longer be a part of the league.
Usually by the time Spring arrives, the upcoming draft and new players are the NFL’s major focus.
This year though, the change of seasons ushers in costly and needed reform to curb unsanctioned violence, and finds a way for an old school player to show the young acolyte and his followers how to really play the game.
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