Let’s start from the top on this one. Author Jeff Pearlman wrote a book on Brett Favre and someone who understands marketing very well gave Deadspin a passage that was surely going to make waves.
The passage from the book talked about a bounty program. If the word bounty sounds familiar to you in this NFL context, it’s because it should. One of Roger Goodell’s first embarrassments as NFL commissioner was his handling of the Saints bounty scandal.
The rival franchises played again nine weeks later, and three days before kickoff a Minnesota coach stood up in a team meeting, mentioned Barnett by name, and said, “I will give $500 to anyone who takes this motherfucker out of the game.”
This was hardly a shocking move in the Vikings’ locker room, where piles of money were regularly collected—then distributed as rewards—for injuring opposing stars. “It was part of the culture,” said Artis Hicks, a Minnesota offensive lineman. “I had coaches start a pot and all the veterans put in an extra $100, $200, and if you hurt someone special, you get the money. There was a bottom line, and I think we all bought in: you’re there to win, and if taking out the other team’s best player helps you win, hey, it’s nothing personal. Just business.”
What does this have to do with the Chiefs? Current Chiefs OC Brad Childress was the head coach of the Vikings at the time. He was scheduled to speak to the media on Thursday and knowing the question was coming he started off with a statement:
“I’m primarily here to answer questions about the Colts,” Childress said via quotes from the Chiefs, who actually left this quote in their transcript, “but I understand there is a statement out there about the Minnesota Vikings. I had a great opportunity to coach a lot of great people there, including Artis Hicks. I have too much respect for the Wilf family and professional football to have anything to do with a bounty system. With that, I’ll take your questions on the Colts.”
And that was it. No more on it. Smart move by Childress because what’s the point of opening that can of worms again? Especially when you know Roger Goodell has a tendency to overreact and start doling out punishments for something that happens all over the league. Can you tell that I’m not bitter about the Maclin tampering thing at all?