Tom Coughlin knows football is a "gladiator sport" and that since the time of Vince Lombardi players have been taught that "what's really important is the ability of one-on-one, for one player to whip the other player." But, he said in an interview on SiriusXM's Mad Dog Radio Wednesday night, the idea of paying players extra money for injuring opponents is out of bounds.
"We all talk about the physical nature of the game and toughness and that you have to be the tougher team and you have to exemplify that with the way that you play," he told Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on his show "Basketball and Beyond with Coach K." "And we all know that it's a gladiator sport and that's part of the popularity of it. But to take it to an extreme, like has been discussed here with this bounty system, has no place in the game."
Coughlin is the latest Giant to speak out against the practice that the NFL has accused the Saints of using to motivate players. Earlier this week, quarterback Eli Manning and other players said bounties for injuries should not be a part of the NFL.
"We all know that it is a very, very tough, very physical, very, very demanding game," Coughlin said. "It's not about trying to inflict purposeful injury on another player. It has no point in this game."
Coughlin also said trying to injure quarterbacks in particular does little to help the league's image or its popularity. "Our game wouldn't be anywhere near as popular if these fantastic athletes playing these positions weren't able to perform at the highest level," he said.
On Friday, the NFL presented its charges against the Saints, and statements from team management and coaches have confirmed those allegations. The NFL's charges included incidents of players placing their own bounties on other players.
On Wednesday, the NFLPA issued a statement saying it would "vigorously protect the rights of all players" and launch its own "comprehensive review . . . If the facts prove that players voluntarily and willingly participated in conduct that jeopardized health and safety, we will work with them and the league to put in place additional safeguards to prevent this in the future," the union said.
"Dangerous play and players' acts on the field intended to injure have no place in football. We must do better to ensure that this activity is not a part of our game."