Now that the 2012 NFL schedule has been released everyone and their brother is coming out with their opinions and thoughts on their favorite teams' schedule, and whether or not they're happy with it. The story lines will begin to become more clear for each of the games as we get closer to them, but the week two match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills already has its' story line.
It's Eric Berry Vs. Steve Johnson.
For those who don't remember, it was during these two teams' game last year that the Bills wide receiver threw a controversial chop block on the Chiefs safety. That block led to a torn ACL for Berry, the Chiefs Pro-Bowl safety, and caused him to miss the rest of the 2011 season. While the hit wasn't considered illegal, it didn't stop the play from being discussed nationally while Johnson went to the airwaves to defend his intentions. via Pro Football Talk.
"We get plays and coaches tell us what to do, and we go out and try to execute it. I went out there and did a chop block on Eric Berry, the safety. Basically, let’s say Freddy was to break that run . . . [Berry] would’ve been the next defender. That would’ve been, ‘That’s a good block, we just sprung Freddy for the touchdown.’ It just so happened to be a bad play and a bad situation. . . . I definitely don’t want that to happen to anybody."
These were the comments that Johnson had to make after a Chiefs fan had tweeted to Johnson that the play was dirty. Johnson lashed back at the fan. via Steve Johnson's twitter page.
"man shutup U clown ILL NEVER CHEAPSHOT A PLAYER ON THE FIELD! IDC if he my Enemy U Square! Last I checked a cut block was legal!"
So with all of the talk about bounties this off-season it was questioned as to whether or not the Bills could have had a system in place and taking Berry out was part of that system. That question wasn't posed by a fan, but by Berry himself who tweeted, "Sometimes I sit N wonder if they had a bounty on me ... oh well ... who cares. Either way u can't hold me down".
Is it possible that they had a bounty on Berry? Possible, but not probable. Most of the bounties as they have been rumored to be have been defensive guys going after offensive guys, particularly quarterbacks. That doesn't change the fact that Berry missed the entire season on a play that many, including Rodney Harrison, a former safety himself, had serious issue with after it happened. According to the Pro Football Talk article, Harrison had gone as far to describe the play as "cowardly" in regards to Johnson.
One thing is for sure about this seasons' match-up between these two teams. All eyes will be on Johnson and Berry from the very first offensive snap for the Bills. The first time that Johnson comes across the middle and gets laid out by the Chiefs ProBowl safety, don't call it a bounty.
Call it football, or karma if you will.