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The Final Horne: Football is tough, violent sport, but New Orlean Saints crossed line with ‘Bounty-Gate’

 

The Final Horne with James D. HorneClarksville, TN – Football is my sport. Always has been always will.

I started on the offensive line my junior and senior years in high school for 15 of 22 games for C. Leon King High, the Roaring Scoring Lions, the first one my junior year, then every game after the fourth one.

I love most others — I won’t list any in fear of offending someone — and enjoy learning about new ones, for example I was bowled over the first time I saw Curling and now I LOVE Curling, seriously.

Football is a tough and yes violent sport. And that’s violence as described by the first definition in Merriam-webster.com as: marked by extreme force or sudden intense activity. Or by Dictionary.com as: intense in force, effect, etc.; severe; extreme.

And that’s what I love about football and that’s what you love about football. Don’t get me wrong, seeing Ray Rice break ankles on the way to a 70-yard run or watching Aaron Rogers hit Greg Jennings on a 70-yard bomb is exciting and scoring is what the game is about.

But we all love the bone-rattling, back-breaking and jaw-crushing hits. That barbaric yawp that surges from your belly when you see Ray Lewis, Clay Matthews, James Harrison, et al decleat someone is almost, that’s almost, as good as …. a full rack of slow-smoked ribs (you thought you knew where I was going with that one didn’t you, dirty mind!)

Those hits get you off your seat.

Since Roger Goodell has taken over an emphasis of safety has taken over as the NFL’s guiding force and as a purist, I at times resists his calls for better, safer hitting. But as a former player he is right, because ALL football players should be taught to not hit with their heads. I was taught that in high school and college and I taught it when I coached pee-wee football myself.

All that together is why I’m so bothered by what has transpired in ‘Bounty Gate’ with the New Orleans Saints and the now released audio of Gregg Williams pre-game talk before playing the 49ers.

It’s one thing to want to take an opponent’s will and desire to go against you play after play away. My goal as an offensive lineman was by the end of the game for you to feel like you had no control of your body for 60 minutes because of the way I blocked you all over the field whether by sheer force if you where smaller or speed and quickness if you were bigger.

But it’s sadistic to want to physically hurt or injure someone and even worse to go after people’s livelihoods and that’s where the Saints crossed the line and that’s where I applaud Goodell for his efforts.


About James D. Horne

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