Blog Entry

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Posted on: March 2, 2012 6:07 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 7:59 pm
We'll let you decide what Vilma and Williams were discussing here. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Twenty-four hours ago, the biggest problem facing the Saints was that they were roughly $5 million apart per season on a new contract for franchise quarterback Drew Brees. And while that's still a huge issue, it's taken a back seat to the revelations Friday that at least one Saints coach and about two dozen players conspired to intentionally hurt opponents and knock them out of games for money.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
The coach: former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who served in that capacity under head coach Sean Payton for the 2009-2011 seasons, including New Orleans' Super Bowl title in February 2010. Williams left the Saints for the same job with the Rams in January after St. Louis hired Jeff Fisher (who Williams had worked with in Tennessee).

On Friday, hours after the NFL announced the Saints' "pay for performance" bounty program, Williams spoke on the matter:

“I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the 'pay for performance' program while I was with the Saints," Williams said in a statement released by the Rams.  "It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”

It's nice to own up to your problems, but this doesn't appear to be an isolated incident. Details via Mark Maske of the Washington Post:

"The Washington Redskins had a bounty system for big hits on opponents under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams that was similar to the one revealed by an NFL investigation of the New Orleans Saints, four players who played under Williams said Friday," Maske wrote.

"Three of the players described a coach who doled out thousands of dollars to Redskins defenders who measured up to Williams’s scoring system for rugged play, including 'kill shots' that knocked opposing teams’stars out of a game."

“You got compensated more for a kill shot than you did other hits,” one former player said. Compensation ranged from "hundreds to thousands of dollars" with the biggest payout thought to be $8,000."


Now that Williams has apologized, what happens next? More specifically: does owning up to it before the NFL weighs in lessen the punishment he'll face?

The short answer: who knows. We're not being glib but if commissioner Roger Goodell is anything he's unpredictable. The league has been criticized in the past for coming down hard on players but less so on coaches and front-office types. But early indications are that New Orleans' "pay for performance" bounty program is much worse than Spygate, and the sanctions could reflect that -- especially if Williams has a history of this behavior.

But it's one thing to punish the Saints; what happens if the Rams lose their defensive coordinator for any length of time?

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Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:23 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

i DO believe that Williams is sorry...........he is sorry that he got caught.

Since: Apr 6, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:20 am

Consequenses: Am I overreacting or do you agree?

It may be a sidebar conversation, but I believe it's worth discussing.  I question the integrity of pieces like these. 

What is not discussed is a very real punishment that doesn't need sanction from the league nor approval from coaches; it's called revenge.  This "stir up controversy for views & comments" style journalism (for lack of a better word) generates hype over any kind of rational reporting.

Agree or disagree, I honestly think articles like these put bullseyes on the backs of the whole team:  most importantly on the backs of Saints players that had nothing to do with said controversy.  And most honest Americans know that, guilty or innocent, it won't matter because they'll move onto the next, bigger story.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: March 3, 2012 8:14 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Let's see....James Harrison gets the book thrown at him for hitting a pansy QB who was running with the football and passed it at the last minute and other players get fined for questionable late hits that seemed to be part of the game.  Then, a coach from a popular NFL team (I will not call names but they happen to play outside of Boston) oversaw a video taping scheme where they recorded other teams practices (FLAT OUT CHEATING) and they get a limited MONETARY fine.  Now a DC sets a bounty for "kill shots" that is designed to put other teams players out of the game?  If they don't "Pete Rose" Greg Williams AND the players involved it would be a dis-service to all of the "safety" speeches we here from Goddell.  There's a difference between Harrison playing the game like a beast and players actually head-hunting for cash.  Ban these guys for life!  What does it say about NFL safety if they have to have weekly clearance by the NFL to play if they had a concussion but then stand by and allow these players involved and Gregg Williams to still play in the league?

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 6:52 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Has anyone actually watched the saints play defense the last 2 years, if they were paying the defense to injure players on the opposing offense they could not have paid too much out. I dare anyone to go back and look at film and find a single player the saints D Knocked out of a game and claim he was a target of a bounty. It sure wasn't lynch for seahawks or stafford or megatron for
the lions or vernon davis for San Fran. they all put up monster numbers in the playoffs the lat 2 years. The only QB to get leave the game injured was hassleback for the titans and he hurt himself after throwing a pass.
I know eveyone wants to point to the 2009 playoffs and the way favre was hit but that wasn't about bounties that was to get to the super bowl and williams said upfront his gameplan was to pressure and hit favre, just like every other defense tries to do, and force him to make a mistake late in the game.
The saints will get punished,fines,suspensions,and draft choices but not for any injuries they caused on the field but for injuring the
image the NFL wants to present itself as.

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 2:43 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

This is such a disturbing revelation.  I am a Saints fan, and I definitely was happy to see Gregg Williams go on to "greener pasture" in St. Louis.  Not for this reason though...   Was tired of his defensive scheme.  Thinking back though to the last couple years, I distinctly remember some extremely cheap hits from my Saints to opposing stars.  One game in particular against Carolina, Steve Smith was not even in the play, it was a run, and one of our safeties tackled him low.  It looked like he tore some knee ligaments, but thankfully, he was okay.  

For those of you that want a saint's first round draft pick, we don't have one this year.  Maybe a second and a third instead.  Realistically, Goodell is likely to fine the Saints franchise, and Tom Benson will say what people want to here.  Sean Payton and Gary Loomis will not be fired though.  Literally, New Orleans would be in an uproar.  I know many of you want his head, but they're not going to give it to you.  Gregg Williams on the other hand, I am not so sure.  I feel bad for Payton because he gave up some of his own salary to get the guy over to New Orleans and gave him free reign over the defense.  Seemed Payton was regretting that in the game against the niners in the playoffs.

Gregg Williams had too much say over the defense.  This whole problem is a prime example of that.

Since: Apr 29, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 2:01 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Williams won't get fired. And why judge a person just because of some story? Just because of a story doesn't mean that he is mean. At least meet a person first, before judging. Jeff Fisher was also under Buddy Ryan, when he went to the Eagles. I think Williams gets fined and a maybe suspended for a few games. But, then again lots of this stuff happens in the NFL, it's football. What are teams surpose to do play flag football so no one gets hurt? Even the 01 Pats were after Warner in the SB. Again, it's part of the game. That's nothing new. Also, Darren Sharper pretty much came out and said that Williams didn't do anything, and that it was pretty much the players doing it. If anyone should lose their job, it's the Saints GM. Their owner even wanted the GM to tell them to stop, but he didn't listen to his boss.

Since: Feb 17, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 1:31 am

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

It's probably a lot more widespread and far reaching than we now realize.  But Gregg Williams will probably take the fall and receive hush money.  If you like conspiracy theories, consider this:  Gregg Williams was HC for the Bills in 2003.  His assistant coach was Dick LeBeau, who went to the Bills after the Bengals fired him as HC.  LeBeau took the Pittsburgh DC job in 2004. Although the Steel Curtain is known for their integrity and playing by the rules and having the utmost respect for the game, didn't a QB sustain an injury from a late hit in the 2005 AFC playoff game?  

Since: Sep 11, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:49 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

Man, that is rich! I understand Williams has to publicly eat crow, but does anybody outside perhaps an autistic family member buy his line about the whole "injure for pay" being a 'terrible mistake' that he 'knew was wrong the whole time'? His comments attempt to make him seem like he was an unfortunate bystander, a man who found his VERY SOUL in turmoil as he found himself pulled deeper and deeper into a deplorable 'contest' that he, a man of great morals, despised; sadly, he chose to loyally stand by his team, rather than ratting them out...
So if you think about it that way, Gregg Williams is actually a true American hero! Considering how broken up he seems to be about the entire incident ever occuring (NOT just that he was caught, no way, Jack!!), imagine how stomach churning it must have been for poor pious Gregg when the team he worked at previously did the SAME EXACT THING! I mean, what are the odds??

Since: Mar 30, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:46 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

What do you expect from this asshole??  H ecoached under Buddy Ryan, the piece of shit who originated the bounty system.  He needs banned from the NFL for life, Peyton needs to lose his damn job, and so does Loomis.  And, despite what that dumbass Judge says, the players who particpiated need suspended one year and fined heavily.

Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:37 pm

Gregg Williams: Bounty 'was a terrible mistake'

How about a bounty on Greg Williams and Sean Peyton....tainted championship NOLA!!!!

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