Blog Entry

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:30 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 4:10 pm
According to the NFL, New Orleans coach Sean Payton didn't try to stop the bounty program, while owner Tom Benson, center, did try but ultimately failed.  (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

In a stunning announcement, the NFL has released the news of an investigation into a team-wide bounty program in New Orleans in which at least one coach and about two dozen players conspired to intentionally hurt opponents and knock them out of the game for money.

Between 22 and 27 players, and at least one assistant coach maintained this “pay for performance” bounty program, violating league rules in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

And the knowledge of the program reaches all the way into the owners box. Saints owner Tom Benson -- who was cited by the league as giving his “immediate and full cooperation to investigators” -- told general manager Mickey Loomis to end the program immediately when he became aware of it in 2011. According to the NFL, “the evidence showed that Mr. Loomis did not carry out Mr. Benson’s directions. Similarly, when the initial allegations were discussed with Mr. Loomis in 2010, he denied any knowledge of a bounty program and pledged that 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.”

According to the NFL, the funds of the bounty pool -- to which players regularly contributed and which was administered by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the Rams -- might have reached as high as $50,000 during the 2009 playoffs. If a player knocked out an opponent, they received $1,500. If an opponent had to be taken off on a cart, a player was paid $1,000. Those payouts could double or triple during the playoffs.

“Our investigation began in early 2010 when allegations were first made that Saints players had targeted opposing players, including Kurt Warner of the Cardinals and Brett Favre of the Vikings,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Our security department interviewed numerous players and other individuals. At the time, those interviewed denied that any such program existed and the player that made the allegation retracted his earlier assertions. As a result, the allegations could not be proven. We recently received significant and credible new information and the investigation was re-opened during the latter part of the 2011 season.” 

The NFL also found that coach Sean Payton was not a direct participant in the bounty program but that he didn’t make an attempt to learn about it or stop it when NFL investigators began asking about it.

Now, it’s up to Goodell to dole out the possible punishment. He has told the Saints that he will hold more proceedings and meet with the NFLPA and individual player leaders to discuss the appropriate discipline.

The league notes that “the discipline could include fines and suspensions and, in light of the competitive nature of the violation, forfeiture of draft choices. … Any appeal would be heard and decided by the commissioner.”

Said Goodell: “The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players. The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.

“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. We have more work to do and we will do it.”

Here's Benson's statement on the matter: "I have been made aware of the NFL's findings relative to the 'bounty rule' and how it relates to our club. I have offered and the NFL has received our full cooperation in their investigation. While the findings may be troubling, we look forward to putting this behind us and winning more championships in the future for our fans."

For what it's worth, here is one of the last attempts of Warner's career.

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Since: Mar 4, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:24 pm

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

 Story is BS! Every QB should be targeted and every Defensive Player should make it thier sole occupation to knock opposing players out of the game.  I love it! Screw the fines! Pay em and keep rollin.

Since: Mar 4, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:21 pm

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

Ha good luck in the draft, do you guys have ANY Picks letf after selling the farm for Julio Jones? Lol

Since: Jun 20, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:19 pm

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

I got $50,000 for any player who paralyzes Michael Vick and Ray Lewis, $100,000 if they kill them.  Since our court systems can't seem to punish them properly for their crimes maybe money can help them pay. 

On the other hand can't wait till next season when the NFL becomes the two handed touch league so this pussified country can feel safer when watching the games.

Since: Mar 4, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:17 pm

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

So what, as long as it is within the rules then it doesn't matter. Who DAT! There's no vindication for the VIKES they got outplayed. Period.  Lame story..moving on..

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:57 pm

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

A little bit of vindication for all Vikings fans that knew this was happening in the 2009 NFC championship game.

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:55 pm

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

wow what a disgusting story didn't warner get knocked out of that playoff game? I don't remember much about the play though

Since: Jan 5, 2012
Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:51 pm

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents


Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:46 pm

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

Wow.  Just wow.  Gregg Williams and Mickey Loomis should be gone immediately (yes, I realize Williams is in St. Louis now).  Benson should handle Loomis himself.  Direct insubordination???  Inexcusible.

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