published Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

5 at 10: Tebow, NCAA hoops, RGIII and the Saints hit hard

So did anything happen Wednesday? What’s that? No, not much.

From the "Talks Too Much Studios" here we go.

  • photo
    New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams talk at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, La. The NFL has suspended Payton for the 2012 season, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely because of the team's bounty program that targeted opposing players.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Saints get marched on

And with one stroke of his pen, Roger Goodell just changed the stakes of punishment in team sports.

As you surely know by Goodell threw the book at the New Orleans Saints for the bounty system the entire organization was either a part of or complicit in allowing to continue.

Here's a scorecard of the punishments dealt by Goodell

— New Orleans head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season because he was told to make it stop and did not and according to the NFL tried to cover up the system and than actions while allowing it to continue. Coaches make a living believing they can do no wrong so we guess it shouldn't be too surprised when they believe they are above the system and can get away with anything, but it seems like the Kindergarten lesson of lying about you did is worse than what you did is missed by more and more coaches.

— Former Saints DC and current Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely for running the bounty system in which Saints players were paid thousands of dollars for knocking opponents out or hurting them to the point where they had to be carted off the field. Williams has done this in multiple stops around the NFL, and reportedly even put his own money into the pool.

— The Saints organization was fined $500,000 and order to forfeit second-round picks this April and in 2013. Ouch-standing.

— No players have been suspended yet, but you have to believe those are coming too.

And what does the 5-at-10 think? Well, picture the cheesy heavy guy in sappy movies that starts clapping slowly at an emotional moment, and then the applause builds and builds until it's a standing ovation. Goodell absolutely had to hammer the Saints for a multiple of reasons, and this sent a clear message that addresses almost all of them.

Goodell had to be harsh about the bounty-system in general if for no other reasons than appearances. If for whatever reason you don't believe it's wrong to try to purposely injure your opponents and to be paid extra to do it (which is barbaric, by the way), then fine. But the NFL has taken great steps to try to have a safer league, and to make strides in dealing with concussions but turn a blind eye or just slap the Saints' wrist to bounty-gate would be the height of hypocrisy.

Goodell has issued a ton of fines and suspensions in years past for questionable/dangerous hits and to let a system that rewards questionable/dangerous hits go would be unacceptable.

Plus, the NFL is already facing growing amount of litigation from former players about safety concerns and life-altering injuries. So if the stories of a bounty-system went uninvestigated and worse under-punished, the lawsuits would grow in number and damages.

Nevermind the fact that Payton and the Saints front office obviously ignored the orders of the NFL main office and went about their bounty business and then lied about it after the fact. Is the punishment harsh? Sure it is. But it's fair too considering all of the surrounding factors.

There have been former players talking about bounty-systems and how they have been around for years. And maybe they have, but this is Goodell's way of sending a clear message that they won't be tolerated. Heck, these punishments are so strict, half the teams switched paper towels from Bounty to Brawn.

Big Tebow heads to Big Apple

As if the news of the Saints getting thumped was not big enough, then comes the story that Tim Tebow, Patron Saint of Good Dude-ness and Wobbly Passes, is dealt to the New York Jets. Wow.

That's right, that Tim Tebow, the professed Christian and former missionary who has been among the most beloved sports figures in recent memory despite being one of the most maligned for balky mechanics and a lack of accuracy. And now he's a member of those New York Jets, the team that set an HBO record for cussing on "Hard Knocks" and has arguably the league's most dysfunctional locker room and outlandish head coach in Rex Ryan.

Seems perfect right?

Well, let's add in the fact that Tebow is being brought in to run Wildcat packages in new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's offense and will be behind starter Mark Sanchez on the depth chart. Yes, that's the same Mark Sanchez who has doubters in his locker room and had 26 turnovers last year for a Jets team that was picked to win the Super Bowl by many but failed to make the playoffs.

Perfect right?

Well, let’s add to the fact that this is NYC. The world’s largest media market and melting pot that likely figures to be making Tebow an even bigger lightning rod (if that’s possible). And there probably be a question about Tebow in only every news conference given by any Jets player, coach or front office type for the next 10 years.

Perfect, huh?

Well, let’s consider that the most famous Jet ever — Joe Willie Namath — went on the radio Wednesday and called it a publicity stunt, jumpstarting the second-guessing of the move and its ramifications.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, everything. In fact, here’s saying that the Jets organization is the single worst fit for Tebow the player and the person.

Hey, we believe Tebow can be a successful quarterback someday. We believe the Jets could win it all even with the oaf as their coach. We understand Sparano’s desire to have a Wildcat option (but if that’s what this is, draft Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson in the fifth round and be done with it).

But we don’t believe this will work. At all. Namath’s theory may be spot on, and when we’re agreeing with Namath about almost anything, well, that tells you how cracked the entire situation is.

  • photo
    Ohio University players gather during practice for an NCAA college basketball tournament game in Nashville, Tenn. Ohio is the first state to have four teams advance to the tournament's Sweet 16.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NCAA hoops

The games figure to be tight and highly competitive. Are we talking about Louisville-Michigan State or the all-Ohio battle of Cincinnati-THE Ohio State? Of course not.

We're talking about the Overrated/Underrated Challenge and the Kemba Walker Memorial Shootout. We're down to the wire here folks, let's take a look at the scoreboard.

Here's the Overrated/Underrated entries that still have a shot at winning (remember the first No. 1 seed out gets a point and the last double-digit seed standing gets a point):

chas9 — Syracuse/NC State

BiSpy — Michigan St/Xavier

Pridemo — Syracuse/Ohio

BigBlue — Syracuse/Ohio

Follower — Syracuse/NC State

StuckinKent — Syracuse/NCSU

McPell — Syracuse/NCSU

wcole777 — Syracuse/NCSU

Ware — Michigan State/NC State

5-at-10 — Syracuse/Xavier

ThatIDoKnow — Michigan State/NC State

Redlegs11 — Kentucky/Long Beach State.

Here are the folks in the Kemba Walker Memorial Shootout (pick the two players that you think will score the most points in the next two rounds, and there's still time to enter this one in either the comments below or email us at

StuckinKent — Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas)

McPell — E. Johnson (Kansas), Brady Heslip (Baylor)

5-at-10 — Tu Holloway (Xavier), Draymond Green (Michigan State)

SportsTalk's Quake — Draymond Green (Michigan State), Anthony Davis (Kentucky)

SportTalk's Cowboy Joe — Brady Heslip (Baylor), Jay Crowder (Marquette)

TFP UT ace Patrick Brown — Jay Crowder (Marquette), Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette)

Follower — D.J. Cooper (Ohio), CJ Leslie (NC State)

wcole777 — Harrison Barnes (UNC), Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin)

Ware — Draymond Green (MSU), Bradley Beal (Florida)

ThatIDoKnow — Harrison Barnes (UNC), Anthony Davis (Kentucky)

dawg747 — Draymond Green (Michigan State), Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)

Chas9 — Sullinger (Ohio State), Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette)

  • photo
    Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III warms up at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

This and that

— RGIII was sharp as a tack in his pro day Wednesday, not that anyone would know it. There has even been some talk that RGIII will pass Andrew Luck on some draft boards. Hey, the 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this. But here’s saying that barring injury, the Colts take Luck. Period.

— If you were a sports executive — college AD, pro GM, whatever — and had some bad news to deliver, can you think of a better day than Wednesday? Seriously, unless you’re announcing a homicide in your athletic department, it would be a blip on the national radar.

— BREAKING NEWS: Chipper Jones will retire at the end of the 2012 season, he and the Braves announced Thursday morning. Good move to get this out of the way now. It allows Chipper a farewell tour and stops the growing questions before they start.

— The concerns for which Jason Heyward will show up in the Atlanta outfield continue to swirl. He’s hitting .208 with 16 strikeouts in 53 at-bats. Ouch.

Today's question

Speak your mind folks.

Saints’ penalties too much?

Will Tebow succeed?

Is Chipper the best Atlanta Braves player of all-time? Would he be on the ATL Rushmore of pro sports stars?

Get in the Kemba Walker Memorial Shootout. Shoot us a question for Friday's mailbag.

Bring it. We’re spent.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
tipper said...

Seems like every time sports gurus take off on Tebow, they have to back up. This is NFL football. Who cares about Tebow's religious beliefs. It's about touchdowns and winning seasons. I'm not that much on religion, so I wouldn't mind if they panned away from Tebow's prayers. The same holds true for the "Icky Shuffles," the childish endzone dances, and leaps into the stands. They have nothing to do with the game, except to belittle it. Tebow plays ball. That's all. He's not pretty, but he gets the job done. I'm sure he will put most of his detracters in their places as usual. And he'll only get better with time. As for the Jets, they have enough other problems to contend with than what their fans think about Tebow.

March 22, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Hard to say Chipper's better than Murphy. But there may not be a whole lot of difference. Aaron's years in the early Braves days in Atlanta weren't bad either. He is probably the greatest Brave of all time, regardless of city, with Spahn right behind. Babe Ruth does not count.

And how do you suspend a GM for games? And if you're in New Orleans, do you just go, "Great! I get to hang out in the French Quarter all Sunday! Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

March 22, 2012 at 10:37 a.m.
nurseforjustice said...

I am a Tebow fan and have been since day one in Florida. But I believe he is being used for multiple reasons. First, it is a wake up call to Sanchez to say, step it up or we got someone to step in for you at any moment. Second, he brings a positive attitude with him whether it be on the field, locker room or even in daily life with other players. Last but certainly not least, is the fact that he draws a lot of attention from the fanbase, which will increase ticket sales along with team paraphernalia. I think he is a stand up kind of guy. I wish more players would adopt his attitude and ethics as role models.

March 22, 2012 at 11:09 a.m.
nurseforjustice said...

I think the Saints penalties should be harsher with some of the players being penalized as well like you said would probably be coming.

Chipper is a fine player but not sure about the best Brave ever. Yes he spent his entire career there (which is unusual) but don't think that should be a qualification. Not that it was his fault, but it was kind of aggravating with the amount of injuries he always seemed to have. Just think of the stats he could have produced if he had been healthy all these years.

March 22, 2012 at 11:14 a.m.
Salsa said...

Tim Tebow was 1-4 in his last 5 games (the same record that got Orton benched and traded). Tebow has the worst pass completion % in the NFL. If Tebow was a Muslim he'd have no supporters. Nothing to see here.

March 22, 2012 at 11:42 a.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, if Peyton and Williams had handed out gift certificates for NFL approved merchandise, then Goddall would not have come down quite so hard. Since Peyton has a year and Williams maybe more to dwell on what they've done, they should go in on a fishing boat together. Let's say they christened it Bounty.

The ATL Sports Stone Mountain is already crowded with Evander Holyfield, Dominique Wilkins, Hammering Hank, Tom Glavine, Dale Murphy, Greg Maddux, but there's room for Chipper.

As for that paragraph about #1 in Tuesday's paper, lot's of nice things happening at the moment including interest from AU.

March 22, 2012 at 12:51 p.m.
Stewwie said...

The Saints' penalties were firm but fair for reasons you explained in the column today. Well done.

Tebow to the Jets is not the most ideal situation for him, but it will help that the new OC will run the wildcat at times. That plays to Tebow's strength as of now, and it gets him on the field some in 2012, but do the Jets care about developing him as a pure passer? Can/will Tebow ever become a pure passer? Playing behind a Manning, Rodgers, and the like would have helped him more for the long-run I think.

Best Brave of all time? Chipper is most assuredly in the top 10, but it may be a bit of a stretch to declare him the best given all the good players who have played there over the years. Half of the top 10 would probably be just pitchers.

March 22, 2012 at 1:15 p.m.
Livn4life said...

Bounty Penalties-not too stiff--In an already violent game with lots of money being handed out to add more financial incentive to be more violent is ludicrous. Drink it to the dregs. My ? is does Goodell/Badell hit anyone else proven to be doing it as hard? I hope so. Tebow-Dude is not Roman Catholic but does he believe in Purgatory? To read many responses to his move, one concludes a number of people think he is headed there as he goes to the BIG APPLE.Will he succeed? That is a difficult assertion to make. I still do not see him as ever an elite NFL qb but he will give it his best shot. Joe Namath? I thought he didn't care at all about Chad Pennington or Tim Tebow. He just wants to kiss Susie. Chipper is definitely an All Time Brave and deserves a lot of love as he prepares to retire.

March 22, 2012 at 1:41 p.m.
Blueoval said...

I'm glad Chancellor mentioned Glavin and Maddux. I think pitching is the toughest postion in baseball and those two guys (and Smoltz too) were awesome in ATL. I'm not saying they were the best Braves of all time but they are pretty darn close.

March 22, 2012 at 3:32 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

The Saints had the whole library thrown at them but it was not excessive. A first round pick, their next available one, could have been taken away too and it wouldn't have been too much. As for the players Jonathan Vilma has to be at the top of the list for a one year suspension at least.

March 23, 2012 at 1:14 a.m.
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