Feb 26, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III and Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck warm up during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Friday Football Feast: Bounties, New Looks and the Draft


We all got a huge break this week from the Bounty Gate scandal which was launched into it’s highest gear yet with the release of the ‘Williams Tapes’ when NIke released their new product line. This was such a big deal because of what we thought was going to happen. Ever since it was announced the Reebok’s contract as the exclusive merchandiser of the NFL was expiring and not being renewed and it was Nike stepping in we were in a panic.

We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when Nike revealed they had only messed up the Seahawks jersey as they took over as the merchandiser of the NFL

Nike didn’t do themselves any favors either in calming our fears that we would have male lingerie as uniforms. Spec photos were released last year of what Nike was supposedly gong to do with the NFL which was give each and every team (except he boring Browns) a complete facelift.

To those who doubted the truth of what atrocities Nike was capable of were referred to the University of Oregon and their ugly uniforms. Plus, it seemed every week a new college jersey was introduced and it looked nothing like the traditional uniforms that had been in place in institutions like Ohio State and Michigan for decades.

But the NIke issues stayed in the Pacific Northwest with the Seahawks being the only team to get a new look. Now the only thing that NFL fans have to fear about Nike is the price tag to look up to date in their new uniforms that essentially just changed the collars and added the famous swoosh to certain areas of the uniform.

New Coach for New Orleans

Even though he's suspended the first six games of 2012, Joe Vitt is getting a once in a lifetime opportunity to fast track his way to being an NFL head coach by being named the interim head coach for the Saints. (Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE)

Nike distracted us from Bounty Gate for only so long.

Sean Payton formally appealed his suspension which was quickly met with a yeah right, you’ve got to be kidding response of hell no. SO then the question became who would step into his shoes for the 2012 season.

There was much speculation that Bill Parcells would fill the role but that turned out to be just an interesting idea and nothing more then that.

The man that the Saints settled on was Assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt. The only issue is that Vitt will only serve 10 games as the interim head coach as Vitt himself is suspended for the first six games of the season for his role in the scandal that gave him a head coaching shot. But for Vitt this cold be a blessing.

Here’s a guy who is not that attached to Bounty Gate to the general public and is getting a chance to auction his skills like no other assistant ever really has. Vitt is literally stepping into Payton’s shoes and is getting free head coaching experience. Don’t expect Vitt to get a head coaching job after 2012 is over, but if the Saints put together something special with him at the helm, don’t be surprised if Vitt uses this opportunity to fast forward his coaching career and skip a few rungs on the ladder.

Draft Talk Heats Up

We are less then two weeks away from the 2012 NFL Draft and speculation is beginning tone manufactured at an incredible rate. ESPN got dealt a premature hand when Washington traded up not on draft day at the last minute to take Robert Griffin III (which would have killed in terms of ratings) but they did it almost a month in advance.

This means the draft begins with Minnesota and the No. 3 pick as Andrew Luck and Griffin III are going to get drafted 1-2.

So now you have your annual Mel Kiper says one thing and Todd McShay says something completely different with other random voices chiming in here and there. The biggest drama surrounded quarterbacks and now that the top two prospects are gone, new ones are being manufactured by said network and pundits and include Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden.

McShay believes Tannehill is a bust compared to Weeden with the national consensus being Tannehill is and always been (even though half the country is just learning his name and still don’t know his college) the third best QB in this year’s class.

But picks 3-6 will be very interesting and it has little to do with Tannehill drama no matter how much Jim Irsay is trying to get in on they hyping of the Texas A&M quarterback.

The VIkings need an offensive lineman to protect Christian Ponder and won’t take Tannehill or Weeden. This means that either they take Matt Kalil or trade down which is a new option for them. After that Cleveland, who wanted to trade up to No. 2 to take Griffin III but got outbid by Dan Snyder, will either take a quarterback, wide receiver Justin Blackmon, cornerback Morris Claiborne or running back Trent Richardson.

After that you have everyone’s favorite eleven: the Buccaneers.

The more and more these talking heads talk up prospects and get bad teams like Miami and Cleveland in a tizzy about who’s the best prospect the more the Bucs benefit. No mater who Cleveland takes that leaves four picks everyone wants. Either it will be Tannehill or Weeden who the Dolphins and Chiefs want, or it will be Trent Richardson who any number of teams would want (same goes for Justin Blackmon) or Morris Claiborne will be there — the guy Tampa wants.

So really the drama will start after the top 5. Every pick hinges on the previous one. If Minnesota trades down or doesn’t take Kalil that  gives Cleveland an option they didn’t know they’d have which in turn means there may be someone on the board at five Tampa wasn’t planning on and so on and so forth.

It’s been written here numerous times that the Bucs can’t lose and the closer we get to the daft the more likely that is seeming.

Other News and Notables:

  • Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo stated that anything less then a Super Bowl would be a failure in Dallas. This just confirms what we’ve all been thinking up to this point: Tony Romo’s career in Dallas has been a failure. What were the last six years Tony? Practice? But he said it so this must be the year.
  • Ex-1972 Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese opened his mouth again when no one asked to say that bounties didn’t exist in his day. Not only does this make Griese now the old man who has his epic ‘back in my day’ stories, but it also confirms that he’s a moron as well. No Bob, you didn’t have bounties as an incentive for guys to play rough, you just had guys like Dick Butkus and Decon Jones who didn’t need a monetary incentive to want to play dirty and come after you hard.
  • Ending on a happy note (and one close to home): Peyton manning personally called every single Indianapolis Colts beat writer who has covered the Colts since his time there until the day he was cut and thanked them for doing such a great job. Now this may not seem like a big deal but to hear a legend you’ve been covering as he breaks records call you and congratulate you on a good career — that’s something. It also shows Peyton doesn’t forget where he’s been and the people there and shows you not everyone who is a superstar in the NFL hates the media and wants to run their mouths about how highly they think of themselves.

You can follow Josh Hill on Twitter @jdavhill 

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