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 ***Bounty-Gate*** 
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
PFT wrote:
Mutiny of the bounty, Monday edition
Posted by Mike Florio on March 5, 2012, 8:16 AM EST

It’s Monday. Welcome back to work. Before the boss starts looking over your shoulder, here’s a chance to get caught up on one of the biggest scandals in NFL history, which the league wisely slipped through the late Friday afternoon five hole.

Right after you turned off your computer and headed home for a weekend of not surfing the Internet on your own time.

You’re likely feeling a little inadequate right now, because you don’t know the details as well as you’d like. That’s why we’re going to take you on a quick tour of the 29 bounty-related stories that have been posted here since Friday.

Yep, while you weren’t working, we were.

Then again, this really ain’t work.

It all started with a bolt-from-the-blue press release. The league has concluded that the Saints ran from 2009 through 2011 a system of payments to defensive players for, among other things, inflicting injury on opponents.

Coach Sean Payton knew about the program, and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams administered it.

Bounties fueled the Saints’ 2009 playoff run. The Vikings, who lost to the Saints in the 2009 NFC championship after linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered $10,000 to whoever knocks Brett Favre out of the game, aren’t talking, but plenty of you believe the news taints the Saints’ Super Bowl win.

Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner’s final game included being blown up by former Saints defensive end Bobby McCray a week before the Vikings-Saints playoff. Warner nevertheless thinks bounties have been part of the NFL for a long time.

The NFL insists Saints owner Tom Benson didn’t know about the bounties. In what likely will be regarded in time as one of the great sports-related understatements, Benson issued a statement calling the findings “troubling.”

Williams has confessed, even though former Saints safety Darren Sharper apparently didn’t get the memo. In a statement issued through his new employer, the Rams, Williams called it a “terrible mistake,” and he said “we knew it was wrong while we were doing it.”

Which, by definition, means it wasn’t a mistake.

It’s also harder to accept the notion that it was a mistake, given allegations that Williams apparently ran a bounty program when he worked for the Redskins and the Bills. The league will investigate the situation in Washington.

Former Colts coach Tony Dungy told PFT on Friday night that the Titans had a bounty on Peyton Manning, whose ongoing neck problems possibly trace to a hit he took from the Redskins in 2006, under Williams.

The league says it’s not aware of bounties in any other cities, and former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs says he didn’t know about any of it in D.C. This means either that the investigators didn’t ask Williams if he used bounties before his time with the Saints, or that they asked him and he denied it. Regardless, they’ll be asking Williams about it on Monday.

Speaking of denials, the investigation regarding the Saints nearly died on the vine because everyone involved said it didn’t happen. Now that the league has found evidence that the bounty program did indeed exist, those who were dishonest to the investigators should face enhanced penalties.

Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis also apparently lied to owner Tom Benson, and Loomis definitely failed to put the practice to an end once Loomis was told to do so by Benson. The fact that Loomis reportedly won’t be fired for such a flagrant example of insubordination invites speculation that Loomis is simply covering for Benson.

Benson’s own punishment likely will consist of a hefty fine imposed on his team and a forfeiture of draft picks, even though the team traded in 2011 its first-round pick in 2012. (If the NFL really wants to punish the Saints, the league should take away its franchise tag.)

Lengthy suspensions are expected for Williams, Loomis, and coach Sean Payton, along with multiple players. The expected absence of key members of the organization as of Week One helps explain the team’s decision to volunteer for the Hall of Fame game, which will give them two extra weeks and one extra preseason game to get ready for the inevitable absence of people like Payton.

A decision on punishment will be made by the March 25 league meetings. The NFLPA has vowed to review the NFL’s report, but the union has taken no position on the situation, yet.

Some wonder whether a few extra dollars makes a difference to a highly-compensated pro football player. Apparently, it does. Which makes cash money the NFL’s equivalent of a helmet sticker.

Of course, helmet stickers don’t constitute taxable income. Cash money does, and the IRS could start poking around.

Other law-enforcement agencies could get involved as the situation unfolds. This story is far closer to the beginning than the end, and we’ll be following it every step of the way.

Now, get back to work.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... y-edition/

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March 5th, 2012, 2:10 pm
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
njroar wrote:
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
I'm honestly not surprised about this at all. I think most teams have this, they just have managed to keep it under wraps. Already I'm seeing headlines that there may be something similar coming out of Washington. I think we're going to see that many, many teams have things like this.

One telling thing is that most players who have commented on it have basically said that it's not news to them. I think it's sports media people and fans of other teams who are outraged/shocked about this. The people involved basically know it goes on and I don't think it should be a surprise.

That said, they still should be punished because it is a violation of the "spirit" of the game.


The reports out of Washington were when Williams was DC there from 2004-2007 and also while he was in Buffalo.

And the thing to remember is this wasn't just a pay for play for big hits that most teams readily admit too, it was the specific bonuses for knocking players out of the game for a play or the entire game. Most people are throwing the two together, but there's a big difference between pay players for a big hit and paying players for intentionally hurting other players.



Again, I think the shock value is more "calling it what it is," than how it played out on the field. Other teams would likely call a big hit that knocked someone out of a game a "big hit" paid the bonus and left it at that. Or they could well have a rating of 1-10 for the size of the big hit, 10 being knock the guy out for the game, and the "bonus" tied to that rating. We'll never know how other teams allow this to play out, because no one is going to admit it, ever.

The only two "dirty" players that the Saint's have, IMO, are Roman Harper and Will Smith. The only person on the Saint's D that even hits hard, IMO, is Roman Harper. He's the only person that looks like he's out to hurt people on the field, but he's always played that way. Even in college Harper was known for being a big hitter.

I really don't see the story here. By most accounts they were a CLEANER team than we were (this is something that I would agree with) even WITH this rule in place. They're not notably dirty, and they haven't injured a particularly high number of people. Had this been the Ravens, Titans, Raiders, or our Lions after last year and our troubles, I would think there's more to it, but given the play and record of the Saint's, I think it is a non-issue.


March 5th, 2012, 4:22 pm
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
Id like some of whatever you are smoking.

Just because the Saints WERE the Golden team of the NFL and got away with more uncalled penalties than almost any other team the past few years doesnt mean they werent playing dirty.

This is a Huge story, even though many other team likely have unannounced hit bonusus similar to this program... and the saints will be made an example of.


March 5th, 2012, 7:04 pm
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
wjb21ndtown wrote:
njroar wrote:
Again, I think the shock value is more "calling it what it is," than how it played out on the field. Other teams would likely call a big hit that knocked someone out of a game a "big hit" paid the bonus and left it at that. Or they could well have a rating of 1-10 for the size of the big hit, 10 being knock the guy out for the game, and the "bonus" tied to that rating. We'll never know how other teams allow this to play out, because no one is going to admit it, ever.

The only two "dirty" players that the Saint's have, IMO, are Roman Harper and Will Smith. The only person on the Saint's D that even hits hard, IMO, is Roman Harper. He's the only person that looks like he's out to hurt people on the field, but he's always played that way. Even in college Harper was known for being a big hitter.

I really don't see the story here. By most accounts they were a CLEANER team than we were (this is something that I would agree with) even WITH this rule in place. They're not notably dirty, and they haven't injured a particularly high number of people. Had this been the Ravens, Titans, Raiders, or our Lions after last year and our troubles, I would think there's more to it, but given the play and record of the Saint's, I think it is a non-issue.


Are you freakin' kidding me?! Roman Harper and Will Smith are the only dirty players?? Have you watched a Saints game lately? Did you watch the regular season game against the Lions? Carl Nicks grabbed Ndamukong Suh by the head and threw him to the ground, no call. Even Cris Collingsworth (I think it was him) pointed it out and uttered that it was a pretty obvious call to be made. I'm sorry, but just because they're called the Saints doesn't mean they are.

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March 5th, 2012, 8:02 pm
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
m2karateman wrote:
wjb21ndtown wrote:
Again, I think the shock value is more "calling it what it is," than how it played out on the field. Other teams would likely call a big hit that knocked someone out of a game a "big hit" paid the bonus and left it at that. Or they could well have a rating of 1-10 for the size of the big hit, 10 being knock the guy out for the game, and the "bonus" tied to that rating. We'll never know how other teams allow this to play out, because no one is going to admit it, ever.

The only two "dirty" players that the Saint's have, IMO, are Roman Harper and Will Smith. The only person on the Saint's D that even hits hard, IMO, is Roman Harper. He's the only person that looks like he's out to hurt people on the field, but he's always played that way. Even in college Harper was known for being a big hitter.

I really don't see the story here. By most accounts they were a CLEANER team than we were (this is something that I would agree with) even WITH this rule in place. They're not notably dirty, and they haven't injured a particularly high number of people. Had this been the Ravens, Titans, Raiders, or our Lions after last year and our troubles, I would think there's more to it, but given the play and record of the Saint's, I think it is a non-issue.


Are you freakin' kidding me?! Roman Harper and Will Smith are the only dirty players?? Have you watched a Saints game lately? Did you watch the regular season game against the Lions? Carl Nicks grabbed Ndamukong Suh by the head and threw him to the ground, no call. Even Cris Collingsworth (I think it was him) pointed it out and uttered that it was a pretty obvious call to be made. I'm sorry, but just because they're called the Saints doesn't mean they are.


WJB, if you don't see what the story is here then you probably never will.

It's one thing to offer incentives for interceptions or fumble recovery's; even QB sacks, knockdowns & hurries are acceptable. But when the cash bonus is an incentive to knock a player out of the game (weather you call it a 'cart off' or a 'big hit') then that's simply low class and wrong. Period. It defies fair play and common sense. Not to mention that you're defending behavior that even Gregg Williams has already admitted was wrong!!

Players should play tough and I'm fine with hard hits. The obvious consequence of that is occasionally people get hurt and get carted off the field. But when the bonus is paid for a game ending (potentially season or career ending) result; that's just ignorant.

BTW, your opinion that only two Saints players are dirty and that the Saints are cleaner than the Lions isn't even close to accurate. In fact it's absurd. I heard on TV today that the NFL report on this concludes that "dozens" of Saints players were rewarded for these hits / results. DOZENS! Until and unless the NFL reports that the Lions were committing this same violation of the rules then Detroit could hardly be considered a dirtier team than the Saints.

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March 5th, 2012, 11:31 pm
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
ESPN.com wrote:
Bounty scandal has Saints in disarray

Coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis deserve to be fired
By Ashley Fox, ESPN.com


Sean Payton deserves to get fired. Mickey Loomis does, too. New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson should strongly consider canning his head coach and general manager for their stupidity and arrogance, if for nothing else.

Having a bounty system that financially rewards players for taking out the opposition is less offensive than the arrogance Loomis and Payton showed in not putting an end to it after the league first investigated the Saints in early 2010. They weren't scared or swayed by the thought of being exposed doing something that violated NFL rules. They let the pay-for-big-plays system remain.

By doing nothing, Payton and Loomis rubber-stamped the program and said it was OK to go out there and try to take out someone, be it Brett Favre or Kurt Warner or whomever, with a vicious, even late, hit.

According to the NFL's report, when Benson directed Loomis earlier this season to ensure that any bounty program be discontinued immediately, Loomis did not follow Benson's directions. "Similarly, when the initial allegations were discussed with Mr. Loomis in 2010," the report continued, "he denied any knowledge of a bounty program and pledged he would ensure that no such program was in place. There is no evidence that Mr. Loomis took any effective action to stop these practices."

If the NFL's report is true, Loomis defied a direct order from his owner. That is grounds for dismissal.

And Payton was no better.

In its damning release Friday afternoon, the NFL said Payton "was not a direct participant in the funding or administration of the program" but said "he was aware of the allegations, did not make any detailed inquiry or otherwise seek to learn the facts, and failed to stop the bounty program. He never instructed his assistant coaches or players that a bounty program was improper and could not continue."

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Saints coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis didn't participate in the bounty program, but didn't prevent it, either.

Payton knew, and did nothing. Loomis knew, and did nothing. Reason would have it if they disapproved of a bounty system, they would have stopped it. By not stopping it, they encouraged it.

And that was stupid.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made player safety one of his top priorities, and for good reason. Research continues to show more and more players are suffering brain damage as a result of sustaining concussions while playing football. The lawsuits against the NFL, like the wrongful death suit recently brought by the family of Dave Duerson, the former Chicago Bear who took his life last year, will only continue to mount, particularly if Duerson's family wins.

Goodell has gone overboard to legislate against big hits and dirty play by spending the past few seasons levying significant fines on players. You can't hit a defenseless receiver. You can't lead with your head. Ask any defensive player. They will tell you Goodell is trying to change football, and not necessarily for the better. And, most of them will tell you, Goodell's fines have worked.

It is inconceivable, given how big the player-safety issue has been, for Payton and Loomis to not recognize the environment change that has occurred in the NFL. Defensive players complain about the fines every week. They appeal. Their appeals usually are denied. And they gripe and complain and voice their displeasure.

So to allegedly institute a bounty system in this era is just lunacy. This isn't the 1980s or 1990s. This is Goodell's era, in which protecting the shield matters. We know about CTE and we know Duerson shot himself specifically in the chest, apparently so doctors could dissect his brain and further the conversation about the dangers of the sport.

To condone a system in which a player is paid $1,500 for a "knockout" shot and $1,000 for a hit that results in a player being carted off the field is the height of arrogance.

The bounty system is bad, but this is football. It is an ugly game. Bad things happen under the piles. Eyes get poked. Body parts get pulled. If you don't want to know, don't look too closely. This game is violent and nasty, and those players who succeed do so through intimidation and fear.

But thinking that the rules don't apply to you, that somehow you are better than the other 31 teams, coaches and front offices, that to me is worse.

That has become a hallmark of the Saints under Payton and Loomis. They've earned the reputation for doing what they want to do. On the Tuesday before their Super Bowl victory, the Saints purposely arrived at media day an hour late. It had never been done. The NFL has an annual day-after Super Bowl news conference with the winning coach and MVP, and Payton had to be strong-armed into going.

Rules are rules, but the Saints too often act as if the rules don't apply to them.

Goodell will bring down the hammer soon enough, and the prevailing feeling is that his punishment will be harsher than the one levied on New England for Spygate in 2007. Then, Goodell fined the Patriots $250,000 and Bill Belichick $500,000 and docked the team a first-round draft pick. This could include multiple picks and possible suspensions because the Saints were told to stop and didn't.

That is what makes their offenses so egregious. And that arrogance in thinking the rules don't apply to them and the stupidity in not understanding the NFL's climate in 2012 are why Benson should consider firing his coach and his general manager and starting anew.



I don't disagree with anything this writter says. This article is right on the money. I'm fine with Payton and Loomis being fired. I also think that Gregg Williams should be banned from the NFL for life.

BTW, Check out these ESPN polls on the subject:

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/polls?pCat=46&sCat=2928

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March 6th, 2012, 8:44 am
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
LionFan57 wrote:
I don't disagree with anything this writter says. This article is right on the money. I'm fine with Payton and Loomis being fired. I also think that Gregg Williams should be banned from the NFL for life.
Agreed. IMO the Saints should lose draft picks this and next year (perhaps more), should be fined a large sum and put on a probation of some sort. Payton & Loomis should be fined and fired. Williams should be banned for life especially if the Washington & Buffalo reports are true. All that said, I wonder how the Rams will make out after all is said and done, considering as Williams is / was supposed to be their DC.

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March 6th, 2012, 11:27 am
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
SI wrote:
March 12, 2012
Way Out Of Bounds
For three years, the NFL says, members of the Saints defense maintained an illicit bounty program, administered by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, that paid cash rewards for hits that injured opponents. Expect the league's punishment to be swift and severe
PETER KING

On Saturday nights during the 2009 NFL season, Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the lightning-rod leader of a feisty unit, would stand in front of his men holding white envelopes filled with cash—bonuses for their performances the previous week. As Williams called up player after player, handing them envelopes with amounts ranging from $100 for a special teams tackle inside the opponents' 20-yard line to $1,500 for knocking a foe out of the game, a chant would rise up from the fired-up defenders:

"Give it back! Give it back! Give it back!"

Many players would do just that, to beef up the pot and make the stakes bigger as the season went on. The NFL alleges that by the time New Orleans reached the NFC Championship Game against the Vikings on Jan. 24, 2010, the stakes had risen to the point that middle linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Vilma personally offered a $10,000 bounty to any player who knocked Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre out of the game. (SI's attempts to reach Vilma were unsuccessful.)

Over four quarters that Sunday at the Superdome, Favre was hit repeatedly and hard. The league later fined Saints defensive linemen Bobby McCray and Anthony Hargrove a total of $25,000 for three separate improper hits, and NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira said the Saints should have been flagged for a brutal high-low mashing by McCray and defensive lineman Remi Ayodele in the third quarter. Favre suffered a badly sprained left ankle on that play and had to be helped off the field. On the New Orleans sideline, Hargrove excitedly slapped hands with teammates, saying, "Favre is out of the game! Favre is done! Favre is done!"

An on-field microphone directed toward the sideline caught an unidentified defender saying, "Pay me my money!"

Favre returned to the game but was hobbled. The Saints won 31--28 in overtime, and two weeks later they defeated the Colts 31--17 in Super Bowl XLIV, a victory for an embattled city that was one of the most uplifting moments in recent NFL history. But the excessive hits on Favre in the title game, and on Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner a week earlier in New Orleans's 45--14 divisional playoff victory, prompted an off-and-on two-year league investigation that culminated last Friday in a caustic and blistering report implicating Williams and Saints players in a pay-for-performance program that operated far outside the bounds of league rules. The report also said that general manager Mickey Loomis was made aware of the allegations about the program in early 2010, denied knowledge of it and said he would ensure that no such program was in place, and that coach Sean Payton was also aware of the allegations but failed to look into them. (Loomis and Payton did not respond to repeated requests for comment over the weekend.) The discipline handed down to Williams, Payton, Loomis and several players will likely dwarf the Patriots' punishment in the infamous Spygate scandal in 2007. In that case the league fined the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick $750,000 and docked New England a first-round pick for illegally videotaping opposing sidelines. Judging by the outrage emanating from the NFL's New York City offices over the weekend, the Saints' sanctions could be closer to the yearlong suspensions given to stars Alex Karras and Paul Hornung in 1963 for gambling. Discipline is expected to be announced within the month.

For commissioner Roger Goodell, player safety has become a top priority, and nothing could undermine that more than cash incentives for players to injure their opponents. One source close to Goodell said the commissioner's reaction to the initial reports of the bounties in the 2009 playoffs was, "God forbid this is true. This will be earth-shattering."

In football circles, it is. The NFL charges that over the past three seasons, between 22 and 27 Saints participated in a bounty program administered by Williams and by leading players that paid defenders for specific achievements on the field, including injuring opponents. The program reportedly paid $1,500 for knocking a player out of a game and $1,000 for a "cart-off"—forcing a player to be helped off the field—as well as lesser rewards for individual plays. During the playoffs, the league said, the sums increased. Such bounties not only circumvent the NFL's salary cap, as extra off-the-books compensation, but also violate the NFL's constitution and by-laws and the collective bargaining agreement, all of which state, "No bonuses or awards may be offered or paid for on-field misconduct (for example, personal fouls to, or injuries inflicted on, opposing players)."

In a statement on Friday, Goodell said, "It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game, and this type of conduct will not be tolerated. We have made significant progress in changing the culture with respect to player safety, and we are not going to relent."

Culture change has been a mantra in the NFL since a brutal weekend of football in October 2010, during which Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was paralyzed on a kickoff return, and a series of violent NFL collisions focused attention on concussive hits in the pro game. In addition, more than 50 former NFL players have filed lawsuits against the league, alleging that it didn't do enough to prevent concussions and head trauma during their playing days.

"This is a seminal moment in the culture change we have to make," said the source close to Goodell, who asked to not be identified because the investigation is ongoing. "This has to stop now. Every team needs to hear the message that we're in a different era now, where this appalling behavior is going to end."

Last Friday, Williams admitted culpability in the scheme and apologized for it. "It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it," he said in a statement. "Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it." Saints owner Tom Benson said he had fully cooperated in the investigation and admitted that the league's findings "may be troubling." It appeared as of Monday that New Orleans was distancing itself from Williams, who in January left to become the Rams' defensive coordinator, and that if Saints staffers spoke out, it would be to paint Williams, who declined to speak to SI, as a rogue coach who didn't have the support of Payton or Loomis. But would the NFL believe that a micromanager such as Payton didn't know what was going on with one of his coordinators and half of his team on the nights before games? "Reminds me of the Nixon White House," said another league source involved in the investigation.

As with Watergate, this scandal almost died in the early stages for lack of proof. According to a confidential league memo sent to the 32 teams late on Friday, Vikings officials alleged to the league following that January 2010 NFC title game that the Saints had put a bounty on Favre. Minnesota officials also said they had information that New Orleans had a bounty on Warner a week earlier. The NFL memo said Williams, Hargrove and assistant head coach/linebackers Joe Vitt all denied that any such activity took place that postseason. The league said two NFL investigators told Loomis at the time to ensure there was no bounty program in place and that Loomis "pledged to take care of it."

The investigation was dry-docked at that point, but during the latter part of the 2011 season the league said it received "significant and credible new information" that the bounty program did exist in 2009 and continued through '11. Before the Saints' January 2012 playoff game against the Lions, the league informed Benson of the renewed investigation. At that point the owner allowed NFL officials and outside forensic experts to gather evidence, including copious club e-mails, related to the bounty program. Benson also told the league he would contact Loomis to make sure the program wasn't in place.

The NFL said it examined 18,000 documents totaling some 50,000 pages. One of those was an e-mail from a former team consultant, Mike Ornstein, to Payton, allegedly pledging $5,000 toward a bounty on an opposing quarterback. A source said Ornstein—at one time a close confidant of Payton's who in October 2010 would plead guilty to federal fraud and money-laundering charges in connection with the scalping of Super Bowl tickets and the sale of bogus game-worn NFL jerseys—claimed he was kidding about the pledge, but the league took it seriously.

When the investigation was complete in mid-February, Goodell summoned Williams to his office. Confronted with evidence that implicated him as the ringleader in the scandal, Williams at first denied any involvement but shortly thereafter met with Goodell and admitted his role.

The new investigation concluded that Loomis "took no effective action to ensure that these practices ceased" and that Payton knew about the bounty program, though he wasn't in the meetings where bounties were discussed. Last Thursday, Loomis and Payton flew to New York to meet individually with Joe Hummel, the NFL's director of investigations, and Jeff Miller, its lead security officer. Faced with the weight of evidence, one league source said, Loomis admitted he could have done more and that he "let Mr. Benson down."

According to the source, Payton refused to admit he knew much of what Williams was doing. Confronted with the e-mail from Ornstein, Payton expressed surprise and said he hadn't read the e-mail.

There is a win-at-all-costs side to Gregg Williams, a fiery 53-year-old who's fond of telling his troops, "Kill the head and the body will die." Since the NFL's announcement on Friday, allegations have surfaced of pay-for-performance programs at at least two of Williams's previous stops. Former Bills safety Coy Wire told The Buffalo News there was one in Buffalo, where Williams was the head coach from 2001 to '03. Ditto in Washington, where Williams served as defensive coordinator from 2004 to '07; there, former Redskins safety Matt Bowen said in a Chicago Tribune column, bounty prices were set on Saturday nights. "We targeted big names, our sights set on taking them out of the game," Bowen wrote.

Then there's the Williams who along with wife, Leigh Ann, stressed the value of education, insisting that their three children read 30 minutes each night before going to bed. Williams ran charity events in his hometown of Excelsior Springs, Mo., that benefited athletic and academic causes alike. He raised money to found an Excelsior High robotics team and to send the drama club to Scotland.

But Williams was most driven to coach football. He once worked under the attack-minded Buddy Ryan with the Oilers, and he preaches a similarly physical, punishing style predicated on blitzing and turnovers. To entice him to come to New Orleans in 2009 to improve a D that had ranked 23rd the previous year, Payton personally paid $250,000 of Williams's first-year salary—enough to ensure that the Saints beat out Green Bay for his services. And Williams's driven ways worked: While the defense's overall ranking didn't improve in '09, New Orleans went from tied for 20th in takeaways to second.

Along the way Williams inspired a loyalty among his players that recalled the Bears' devotion to Ryan in the '80s. And Payton was confident enough in him that he ceded control of the defense's preparations to Williams, instead spending his Saturday nights working on the offensive play script. It's wrong, though, to say that Williams ran the pay-for-performance system by himself. One player who was in those Saturday defensive meetings says the energy among the players sometimes built to such a height that he was surprised to hear the words that came out of his own mouth. Another source said that linebacker Scott Fujita and two other defensive leaders contributed between $2,000 and $10,000 to the performance and bounty pool. Williams preached intense team play, and the players relished their roles as funders and benefactors.

On Sunday, Fujita said, "Over the years I've paid out a lot of money for big plays like interceptions, sacks and special teams tackles inside the 20. But I've never made a payment for intentionally injuring another player." Fujita said he didn't think he ever put money into a collective pot; rather when a teammate made a play, Fujita handed him the money he'd promised.

Fujita's name in the investigation is noteworthy. After signing with the Browns as a free agent a month after the Super Bowl win, he accepted a nomination to the NFL Players Association's executive board. During the 2011 negotiations on the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, he and former Cardinals and Steelers special teams star Sean Morey pushed hard for improvements in working conditions, including fewer full-contact practices during the season. It was Fujita's emphasis on health care for former players who have debilitating illnesses, such as close friend and former Saints safety Steve Gleason, who suffers from ALS, that helped persuade the two sides to include lifetime care for ex-players with that disease. It's hard to reconcile Fujita's being part of the problem in 2009 and part of the solution in 2011.

"You don't spend time with guys like Sean Morey and other former players, or have close friends whose health fails them, possibly because of this game, and not be affected by that," Fujita said. "I wanted to be part of the paradigm shift."

It is likely Goodell will come down hardest on Williams, Payton, Loomis and Vilma, in that order. Williams oversaw the program in New Orleans and may have run similar ones in previous coaching stops. He might have mitigated his punishment with his contrition, but he should expect a significant suspension, perhaps half a season or more.

Payton and Loomis may be equally at fault in the eyes of the league. The confidential memo to owners last week said that Payton "failed to stop the bounty program" by not exercising proper institutional control. The league had particularly harsh words for Loomis: "He failed to ensure that the club, and the coaching staff he supervised, conducted themselves in a way consistent with league rules, and further failed to carry out the express instructions of the club's owner." The Saints may have to do without Payton and Loomis for four games or more in 2012. As for the players, Vilma seems likely to get a multigame ban. Benson personally appears to be in the clear—"There is no evidence to suggest that Saints ownership had any knowledge of the bounty program," the league memo said—but the franchise will almost certainly face penalties including a heavy fine and loss of one or more draft choices. That would be problematic for the Saints, who traded their 2012 first-round pick last year to the Patriots and don't make a selection until No. 59. Goodell could take that pick, or wait until 2013 to dock New Orleans a first-rounder. Or he could do both.

Far away from the furor, the object of much of that January 2010 mayhem didn't seem particularly ruffled. Reached on his 465-acre ranch just west of Hattiesburg, Miss., on Friday, Favre told SI, "Since that game, I haven't gone a week without someone asking me whether I thought there was a bounty on me that day. Now it's come out to be true. But it's football. I'm not going to make a big deal of it." The commissioner will.

Follow @SI_PeterKing

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/ ... /index.htm

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March 6th, 2012, 5:42 pm
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
DJ-B wrote:
Id like some of whatever you are smoking.

Just because the Saints WERE the Golden team of the NFL and got away with more uncalled penalties than almost any other team the past few years doesnt mean they werent playing dirty.

This is a Huge story, even though many other team likely have unannounced hit bonusus similar to this program... and the saints will be made an example of.

for real

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March 7th, 2012, 1:21 am
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
I think we should get their 1st round draft pick next year. Just because. LOL.


March 9th, 2012, 7:57 am
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
here we go....

USA Today wrote:
Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for one year and the Saints will lose their second round pick in 2012 and '13 and pay $500,000 as a result of the NFL's bounty investigation, the league announced Wednesday.

Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who orchestrated the program, has been suspended indefinitely. Team general manager Mickey Loomis also faces an eight-game suspension and a $500,000 fine.

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March 21st, 2012, 1:04 pm
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
The Assistant HC also got suspended 6 games. There's no date on start of GM suspension start, but they could possibly be without HC, asst.HC and GM for the draft.

If I'm Brees, there's no way I sign a long-term deal now. He might even demand a trade.

And the player penalties still to come...


March 21st, 2012, 1:08 pm
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
GOOOOOD!!!

Hate Sean Payton. Take em' down Goodell!

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March 21st, 2012, 1:10 pm
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Post Re: NFL finds that Saints violated “bounty rule”
LOL at the "This is blown out of proportion/will blow over" comments earlier.

NFL brought down the Hammer.


March 21st, 2012, 1:31 pm
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Post All teams must certify bounty programs are not being used
PFT wrote:
All teams must certify that bounty programs are not being used
Posted by Mike Florio on March 21, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT

In addition to imposing severe punishment against multiple individuals involved in the Saints’ bounty program, Commissioner Roger Goodell has required all teams to certify that they currently maintain no similar systems.

“In a memo to NFL clubs, Commissioner Goodell directed the principal owner of every NFL team to meet with the head coach and confirm that the club does not operate a similar pay-for-performance or bounty program and to instruct his coach that no such program is permissible and that if such a program exists, it must be terminated immediately,” the NFL said in a release. (It’s unclear whether any sort of amnesty will apply to teams that currently maintain a bounty program, and that terminate it in response to the league’s directive.)

Teams already are required on an annual basis to sign documentation certifying full compliance with rules relating to the integrity of the game. The certifications will now be modified to include specific reference to bounties and other “pay-for-performance” programs.

Such procedures will force teams not only to avoid establishing such systems but also to actively police the locker room to ensure that players aren’t maintaining similar programs without the direct involvement of the team.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... eing-used/

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March 21st, 2012, 2:28 pm
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