Perhaps Dan Dierdorf isn’t bringing up any sort of brand new idea here, but it’s certainly one that’s relevant. And it has been in probably all of our lives for a long time. Let’s face it, didn’t we all learn the lesson when we were pretty young kids that if we do something wrong and our caretakers catch us in the act, that our punishment was almost always worse when we lied about it? That seems to be the situation when it comes to the bounty problem in New Orleans and the stiff penalties handed out this week by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. It’s not the first time that Goodell has handed down swift and harsh judgment, which probably makes it even worse that some of the Saints thought they could get away with not being forthright. And Dierdorf basically calls them out here. Dan Dierdorf joined KFNS in St. Louis with The Morning After to discuss his reaction to the Saints’ penalties, if bounty programs might be in place elsewhere, why he was more surprised in Gregg Williams’ penalty than Sean Payton, if Williams will coach again, if this will affect the way football is played, Tim Tebow’s trade to New York and Tebow’s flaws as a quarterback.
What was your initial reaction to the suspensions levied?
“Not overly surprised with the severity of the penalty to Gregg Williams. Completely stunned and jaw-dropped with the suspension and the length and severity for Sean Payton. I did not see that coming.”
Do you think bounty programs like this could be present elsewhere and the Saints are just the team that got caught?
“I think it’s something that’s pretty unusual. Again, a life lesson here for anybody listening, lying and not telling the truth just makes it worse. … You would think that, by now, that people in the National Football League would figure it out: Do not tell a lie to Roger Goodell. It never works out well for you. And that’s exactly what the Saints did. They not only were running this program, but when they were confronted with it, they lied about it, they attempted to cover it up. I think that’s really the biggest reason for the harshness of these penalties.”
Why were you more surprised by the Payton suspension and not Williams?
“Because we all have been reading and following this for the last month or so. Certainly, Gregg Williams was at the epicenter of everything. … I think, Sean, if you know how the Saints operate, Sean Payton is completely in charge of the offense and Gregg Williams is completely in charge of the defense. Sean Payton never goes to a defensive meeting. … If he was to make a case that he was isolated from that, it would be semi-believable. But now it turns out the evidence the NFL has … that’s very damning.”
Do you think Williams is done? Would anybody ever hire him again?
“I’m not going to pass judgment on Gregg Williams and say that he’ll never coach in the National Football League again. He’s such a good coach and I think we all deserve the chance to be rehabilitated. … Let’s be realistic. By making his suspension indefinite, what they’re saying is, ‘We’re going to see how cooperative he is over this year and how much he helps us in this investigation.’ I think that if Gregg Williams is forthright and helpful to the NFL, I think at the end of the year, Roger Goodell will remove his suspension.”
Do you think this could have any effect on the hard-hitting type of play?
“I don’t think so, because I think that’s still part of the game. It’s still a game of intimidation. I don’t care what the NFL wants to call it. There’s a big part of that. I never went into a game where my goal was not to intimidate the guy across from me so I could get him to do what I wanted. … But you do it within the rules. … We never talked before a game about, ‘Let’s see if we can blow up Merlin Olsen’s knees.’”
What are your thoughts on Tebow going to New York?
“The situation in New York, at first blush, you go, ‘Look, this is a team that over the years, really has effectively run the wildcat.’ … It’s long been a part of their offense. From that perspective, you say signing Tim Tebow is perfect. Now, let’s factor in the fact that they have a quarterback that has been, at times, on shaky ground. There are times that Mark Sanchez has looked unsure of himself. I know psychologically he might be a little fragile. And then what’s going to happen in New York, what’s going to happen at the Meadowlands the first time Mark Sanchez throws four incomplete passes in a row? The chant of Tebow is going to come rolling out of the stands and Rex Ryan is going to go, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’”
On Tim Tebow’s flaws as a quarterback:
“It’s not just his throwing motion, but it’s his abilities to read defenses and his ability to adjust on the fly. I’m not saying he can’t make that leap, but it’s a huge leap. He’s got a long way to go before he’s a bona fide, day-in, day-out, winning quarterback in the National Football League. I’m sorry. Last year was not enough.”