Marlins Fan's Blog
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So the drama-filled offseason for the New Orleans Saints should be over.  At least the drama part, at any rate.  BountyGate has been uncovered, dissected, appealed, rejected, etc.  Drew Brees and the Saints have agreed to a 5 year, $100 million contract.  All the distractions are more or less taken care of and now the Saints can get back to what they do best - playing football.  Or practicing, rather, but you get the point.

So now that everything is in our rear view mirror, I wondered what the damage would be.  What the long term effects of BountyGate would be.  And I came to one surprising conclusion; a conclusion that many of you will no doubt disagree with.

I've concluded that with the exception of a very small group of people (Gregg Williams, Sean Payton and Jon Vilma come to mind), BountyGate isn't as big a deal as the media made it seem.  It came, we talked about it, it left.  It's over.

But you know what isn't over?  The damage Drew Brees has done to his reputation.  Brees has long been considered one of the true good guys of sports; a guy who had to overcome doubters because of his lack of size and arm strength; a guy who wasn't given a fair shot in San Diego; a guy who went to the deepest depths of NFL Purgatory (New Orleans, pre-Brees) and turned that town into the home of a Super Bowl trophy; a guy who was sort of viewed as the face of New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; a family man; an athlete who not only succeeded on the field but was a great role model for fans across the world.

And he is all those things.  He's also a guy who ignored all of the NFL's evidence about bounty hunting and instead labeled BountyGate a "smear campaign".  He's the guy who claims the NFL is colluding against the NO coaches and "intimidated them into accepting" suspensions.  He's the same guy who claims ledgers taken from NO coaches' computers showing bounties are "hypothetical, hearsay, and supposed testimony".  Same for the audio of former Defensive Coordinator Williams instructing his players to injure 49ers' players; it's all "hypothetical hearsay".  Same guy who tweeted this:

"If NFL fans were told there were "weapons of mass destruction" enough times, they'd believe it. But what happens when you don't find any????"

You know...  because us NFL fans are stupid as can be, apparently.  And of course suspending a couple of football coaches/players is the exact same as invading foreign countries and involving multiple nations in war.  Jon Vilma has to sit out some games?  Same as soldiers putting their lives on the line.  Payton can't coach this year?  Same as Iraqi citizens losing their lives.  You know, obvious stuff.

And it gets worse.  There's the just recently ended contractual situation, where Brees held his organization hostage to ensure he made more than the pitiful 18 mil/per year contract the stingy Saints were bold enough to offer.  Yep, it went on for months and months; Brees even spoke to the public about what he wanted and how the team wasn't giving it to him.  In other words, he whined loudly enough until the team had no choice but to cave and make the Brees' family bank account that much larger.

Never mind the $60 million he's already made from the Saints.  Never mind the fact that the 2012 Bloomberg BusinessWeek Horrow Sports Ventures Power 100 ranked Brees number one overall, due to his on-the-field accomplishments, $16 million salary, and his plethora of high-grossing endorsement deals.

The Saints only offered him $18 million a year, and that's clearly an outrage.  Brees is worth way more than that, at least in his own selfish mind, and obviously in the mind of his powerful and money hungry agent (Tom Condon) as well.  So he cried about it and he cried about it, and the Saints caved.  Brees is now scheduled to make no less than $20 million per year, and his reported $60 million in guaranteed money is the largest amount in the history of the NFL.

So I hope you enjoy your overabundance of money, Mr. Brees.  Enjoy it while it lasts, because all the respect and good will I had for you is already gone.  Here's hoping the Saints fall flat on their faces this year.  Here's hoping a team featuring some of the real good guys finishes first this time.

Comment #1 has been removed
July 14, 2012  02:37 AM ET

Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but I don't have an issue with anything Brees did. He defended his organization in the face of harmful accusations and expected to get paid for his efforts. Good for him. Without Brees, the Saints would probably be playing in Oklahoma City right now. This is his last chance at a big contract. I don't fault him for a minute to try to get as much as he can; and get it in guaranteed money.

July 14, 2012  02:40 AM ET

He tore open the championships for me in the Fantasy Football at least....

Comment #4 has been removed
July 14, 2012  10:47 AM ET

I am on Breezy's side... No, I don't want to tell you why.

Comment #6 has been removed
July 14, 2012  07:29 PM ET

Brees had the Saints between a rock and hard place. Does anybody really think that he and Tom Condon didn't realize that New Orleans absolutely NEEDED the good press?

They played that organization like a drum.

Now, I too have many a gold (fantasy trophy) helmet sitting on my desk, thanks in part to Mr. Brees. And honestly, I kind of like the guy. But in my opinion (and it is, only my opinion), he probably should have played the "It will all come out in the wash..." card, rather than going on such an offensive with league, which also happens to be an organization (besides the Saints) that he works for.

Either way, I'm sure his boys in NO are very happy to see him.

July 14, 2012  08:31 PM ET

But you know what isn't over? The damage Drew Brees has done to his reputation.


On the BountyGate comments, yes, Brees damaged his reputation slightly. But I don't think it was significant. And it's kind of difficult to fault a team leader for openly defending his team

But on the contract dispute, I just don't see it. Contracts disputes happen all the time, in every sport. Fans generally get irritated with the player for demanding more cash and/or they get irritated with the team for not paying him. They're mostly irritated because their star players isn't on the field. But in most cases all of that resentment ends the second he signs the dotted line.

After that, the only time that the contract becomes a future issue is in extreme cases of disappointing play (such as Albert Haynesworth in Washington).

Even if you're currently still upset with Drew Brees because of his contract demands, my guess is that most fans - especially those in New Orleans - really don't care now that the contract is signed. And those fans won't care as long Drew Brees continues to play up to his ability.

July 14, 2012  09:37 PM ET

You are right, MF, that was a poor choice of analogy Brees (or his texting-coach) made with weapons of mass destruction. But then this is the same guy who thanked everyone but the Superdome ushers and beer vendors in his speech after setting single-season yardage record last December.

Comment #10 has been removed
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Comment #12 has been removed
July 14, 2012  11:16 PM ET
QUOTE(#12):

I no longer feel that way about Brees, because although he has done a world of good over the years, it seems to me as if lately he has shown himself to be as petty and greedy as anybody else in sports, and I find that to be immensely disappointing.

I am concerned for Brees in that a) he probably deserves whatever he asks for monetarily b) what he deserves may significantly restrict his organizations ability to build depth or land free agents.

While he got what he deserved for being a leader through tough times and winning the Super Bowl, he probably condemned the Saints to a rapid decline in performance and record. The deal was good for Brees. The Saints had to make it, but I think he just screwed them over for 2013-1017.

 
July 15, 2012  08:44 AM ET
QUOTE(#13):

I am concerned for Brees in that a) he probably deserves whatever he asks for monetarily b) what he deserves may significantly restrict his organizations ability to build depth or land free agents. While he got what he deserved for being a leader through tough times and winning the Super Bowl, he probably condemned the Saints to a rapid decline in performance and record. The deal was good for Brees. The Saints had to make it, but I think he just screwed them over for 2013-1017.

They're definitely screwed in 1017 but I wouldn't blame Drew Brees for that.

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