Both former Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy and former New England Patriots V.P. of player personnel Scott Pioli have both said they had no interest in drafting Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito in 2005 because they questioned his character. Based on Incognito’s sordid past, most recently being suspended for harassing teammate Jonathan Martin, that assessment appears to be valid.
On the other hand, the St. Louis Rams used a third-round pick to draft Incognito that year for the very reason Dungy and Pioli didn’t. The Rams wanted some nastiness.
Mike Martz, the head coach of the Rams when they drafted Incognito, told the New York Times that the team wanted to build a mean, physical offensive line, and Incognito fit that bill.
“Because that’s the way the game is played in the NFL, obviously,” Martz said. “That nastiness is evident, especially in Incognito.”
One of the reasons the Incognito controversy has been so polarizing is because it sums up the growing clash in Football culture of being expected to be a good person or role model off the field, then becoming an aggressive physical player when the whistle is blown. What Incognito allegedly did is wrong, but football is testosterone driven sport, perhaps more than any other, and plenty of people believe Incognito’s nastiness is exactly what you need in football.