Markets in everything

By Sunday morning, four National Football League teams were linked to a “bounty” scandal that came to light in Friday’s NFL announcement that New Orleans Saints defensive players were paid for “big hits” that took opponents out of play. “Knockouts” were worth $1,500 and “cart-offs” $1,000, with payments doubled or tripled for the NFL playoffs.

Here is more detail, and for the pointer I thank Sheldon Gilbert.


Hate to circumvent you on this Tyler but Pete King at has the coverage. From his essential MMQB today:


Given that King is the ultimate NFL/Goodell sycophant, I presume "essential" means we should read this so we have the league position?

From that "essential" article, King states that NFL concussion litigation is frivolous.

Actually no, he said that the players who were engaging in the bounty program (the aggressors) should not be allowed to sue. But nice cherry picking. Also he is arguably the best beat writer in the NFL. Please tell me who your favorite is. I won't tear you to shreds for your opinion, but I am curious.

King doesn't actually do any reporting, he just outsources it to SI colleagues while rhapsodizing about Starbucks, middling beer that he thinks is highbrow microbrew, and the Red Sox.

Hey Corey,
He actually does break some stories. I prefer local beat writers as well, but King has a better overview of the league because he is considered a "lap-dog" for the league. So yeah I will accept the tradeoff and take what he says with a grain of salt. Again who do you prefer?

I'm not sure why my writer preferences matter here. What I'm saying is that the person at the center of this matter is not Gregg Williams, or the players, but once again Roger Goodell, as he is the face of the NFL as an institution. Whatever other qualifications King may have, he is a huge Goodell toady and can't be relied upon to present anything more than Goodell's views on the matter.

Hence if you are calling out one source, I am asking for another source. If you can't define one (seems like you can't at least) where should I be going for my information?

Peter King is a much better read here.

God he is terrible.

+1 on KSK. Also try Deadspin, Jason Whitlock, most of Grantland.

100% agree on Deadspin there report was great. Especially today's, also highly recommended

Jason Whitlock -> does not break news, so completely flabergasted why hes included

Grantland -> again does not break news, ESPN their sister site does that and is known within the industry to consistently steal stories and credit them to "sources" post-hoc because they "have more rigorous sources when reporting stories"

So I am now even more confused. Deadspin is a great alternative if you don't want mainstream analysis. While grantland is arguably a laughing stock. It gets a substantial amount of pageviews but finds various "experts" to quote on things they find interesting. I can go more in depth on this but their story on Bartolo Colon was an absolute joke, that was subsequently torn to shreds by fangraphs (I am still almost 90% sure that the author of the piece did not watch the two starts by Colon he was commenting on).

Look King isn't great he might be a mouthpiece for the league, but I thought the frame of reference for our discussion would be breaking news with insight from the league which he satisfies both portions of. Jason Whitlock does not fit either of those categories (especially considering he is mainly known for his outlandish statements so he can get page views.) Similarly Grantland will probably never break a story because then it defeats the purpose of ESPN. However I do look forward to their take on the bounty program as it refers to subtle pop-culture references (I am a Bill Simmons reader after all). But again, they probably won't give any league inside knowledge.

Does that clarify things?

I am also assuming you don't like Joe Pos either?

Clear as mud. TC led off with a post about Bountygate, a fascinating scandal that raises a ton of issues about sport, violence, cheating, concussions, etc. You may recall a spirited discussion about TC's "End of Football" article a month or so ago. My frame of reference isn't "breaking news with insight from the league" but rather "what does Bountygate mean for the NFL." You seem really hung up on who is the best beat reporter. I fully agree with you that PK breaks stories and has terrific access to all things NFL. But who cares? The important point, for purposes of a good debate at MR, is that PK is a mouthpiece, not that he gets scoops.

Yeah TC's piece about football was ridiculed by many beat writers. I respect TC but I don't want him commenting on something like that.

Also do you watch the NFL on a regular basis? If you are looking to get opinions and views from Jason Whitlock that is pretty mortifying.

If when this story broke your first reaction was "sounds priced a little low" you may be reading too many economics blogs.

That was in fact my first thought when I first learned of this story yesterday morning.

They may as well give them gold star stickers.

From what I understand, they essentially are like 'gold stars.' Every NFL team has these 'incentive bonuses' for a variety of legal 'big hits,' which include interceptions, run backs, etc. and often amount to a few hundred dollars. But the real reward is getting called up in front of your teammates on Monday's viewing of the 'big hit' film.

What?? There are non-monetary utilities???

My point is the coverage and outrage of this is kind of silly when considering the numbers involved.

"They are paying people football!!!!"

Really? If someone can blow up your quarterback for $1500 you need a better Left Tackle.

Actually in relation to the penalties (flags) they were being imposed with after some of the more vicious hits the price seems way too low. Considering fines for roughing hits are approximately 15,000 and higher for each subsequent hit.

Wow - and to think they used to pay players to do that all season long. I'm thinking the 1970s Oakland Raiders, specifically. ('In 1976, the Raiders came from behind dramatically to beat Pittsburgh 31-28 in a revenge match in the season opener, and continued to cement its reputation for hard, dirty play by knocking WR Lynn Swann out for two weeks with a clothesline to the helmet. Al Davis later tried to sue Steelers coach Chuck Noll for libel after the latter called safety George Atkinson a criminal for the hit.') Though of course, the 1980s had their share of Raiders players making a true impact on the field, like this - 'The NFL’s “Lyle Alzado Rule”, named for former Los Angeles Raiders Defensive Lineman Lyle Alzado, basically states that a player may not take his helmet off after a play is over and use it to beat on an opposing player.' (And let's not forget that Raider dedication to rule changes - 'The NFL rule banning the use of Stickum by players was put into the rulebook largely because of Lester Hayes, this rule is also sometimes referred to as the “Lester Hayes Rule”.')

The Raiders of course were also the team that forced the 'tuck rule'.

Tyler and Alex have been curiously quiet on the Cato vs. Koch drama.

Markets in everything except for libertarian nonsense. That stuff is as pure as snow.

>"Criminal charges of assault and battery against the teams, including Williams, are possible"

Right. It's also possible that Jessica Alba will start returning my calls, Global Warming is man-made, and I will discover a diamond mine in my backyard.

The precedent for criminal charges is that 12 years ago, someone tried to decapitate another player with a hockey stick? That's the same as awarding bonuses for hard, legal football hits? Really?

What next, assault charges on boxers?

They are supposed to hit hard all the time. Making the intent to cause injury transparent is refreshing honesty. The rules of the game already prohibit behavior that is unnecessary but likely to cause injury. Now, if they paid the bounty for penalties, then that should be a crime. It is intentional battery.

Otherwise, this was motivation to overcome the free rider problem if voluntary provision of a public good.

I'm all for hitting hard, but if the main goal of a defensive unit is to knock offensive players out of a game (or vice versa), I'm out on football. This from a huge football fan.

Here is another take:

The purpose of the baton in relay is to beat the other runners to take them out of the race???

Shouldn't javelin be played in a circle with the winner determined by the farthest throw that kills an opponent?

Why hasn't football adopted new rules providing weapons for players instead of rules requiring protective gear and outlawing techniques that maim or kill?

I, for one, second Mulp's javelin plan.

For another modification, combine the Javelin toss with the 200 meter sprint - the javelin throwers aim to hit a sprinter as far away as possible. The sprinters try not to get hit. Fun for everyone.

The monetary incentives are secondary to the recognition of coaches and teammates, something that, we can't forget, athletes have been conditioned to crave since the moment they stepped on the field as kids.

How much for paralyzing a guy from the neck down?

It's almost unbelievably rare, isn't it?

By the way, I have a real nice copy of "Knute Rockne, Man Builder", written by his All-American quarterback Harry Stuhldreher (one of the "Four Horsemen) and published in 1931, shortly after Rockne's death in a plane crash near Bazaar, Kansas. It'd be a nice gift for the real football fan in your life, or even yourself.

What is the expected value, in terms of future salary and/or bonuses, of a tackle? Of a sack? Of a forced fumble?

Even if they weren't paying bonuses, a defensive player that can and will make disabling, legal hits will get better pay.

we used to do that for a t shirt in high school! it said "hit of the week" or something like that.

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