Blog Entry

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:17 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 12:21 pm
Williams and Payton are in a heap of trouble. How much, exactly, will be up to Goodell. (Eye on Football Illustration/Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

It's been a busy few days for the New Orleans Saints and for all the wrong reasons. Barely two months removed from quarterback Drew Brees setting the NFL record for passing yards in season, now the organization is faced with trying to re-sign Brees and on Friday, and NFL investigation revealed that former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was complicit in creating a "pay for performance" bounty system that rewarded Saints players for injuring opponents.

Williams, now with the Rams, apologized Friday night saying, in part that, "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.”

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
Except that New Orleans wasn't an isolated incident. At least four former Redskins players said Williams had a similar system in Washington when he was the defensive coordinator under Joe Gibbs. (On Saturday, Gibbs said he had no knowledge of it.)

The NFL, meanwhile, concluded that while current Saints head coach Sean Payton wasn't a direct participant in Williams' bounty program, he "did not make any detailed inquiry or otherwise seek to learn the facts, and failed to stop the bounty program."

So now what?

In reading through the comments, many fans want Williams suspended, some going so far as to suggest a lifetime ban. That seems extreme, but then again, "pay for performance" rewarded players for injuries. That's among the worst charges you can level against a coach or a player -- that they intentionally tried to injure opponents.  Even Steelers linebacker James Harrison, Public Enemy No. 1 when it comes to NFL violence, said in October 2010 that "I don't want to injure anybody. There's a big difference between being hurt and being injured. You get hurt, you shake it off and come back the next series or the next game. I try to hurt people."

In that sense, Williams is worse than Harrison, right? Wherever he lies on the spectrum of dirty tactics, early indications are that Williams won't be forced to miss any games. Details via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"One league source said Williams might be in line for a large fine but didn't think a suspension would be forthcoming. Then again, the source said, 'This is two strikes against him,' referring to controversial comments Williams made before Super Bowl XLIV (at the end of the 2009 season) about knocking Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning out of the game."

Thomas added: "Another source said the expectations was that Williams' fine would be in six figures — perhaps as much as $250,000 — but that head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis would be penalized more heavily."

Will the sanctions have any lasting effects on the Saints? Who knows. In the wake of Spygate in 2007, the Patriots were fined $250,000, head coach Bill Belichick was fined anther $500,000 and the team lost their 2008 first-round draft pick. They went undefeated during the 2007 regular season but didn't win a playoff game from 2008-2010, and haven't won a Super Bowl since 2005.

While we wait for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to drop the hammer, take a moment to enjoy the mock-up of the movie poster for the inevitable made-for-TV spectacle that's sure to follow. (Yes, it has to be science fiction. And, yes, in case it's not blindingly obvious: this is a joke.)

Early cast list includes Williams as Vader (the hands-on leader), Vilma a Boba Fett (the enforcer), Favre as Jar Jar Binks (because who didn't want to knock Jar Jar out?) and Payton as Jabba (in charge but less interested in details as results). Also, in case you missed it the first time: THIS IS A JOKE. (Eye on Football Illustration)

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Since: Mar 4, 2012
Posted on: March 4, 2012 8:44 am
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Since: Mar 4, 2012
Posted on: March 4, 2012 8:41 am
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Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: March 4, 2012 8:18 am

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

Fines? Seriously? It's maniacs like Williams that give the fuel and inspiration to guys like James Harrison. If Goodell wants to kill the violent over the line hitting, he has to cut the head off of the snake. A fine is worthless and sends a terible signal.

Since: Apr 29, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2012 3:06 am

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

Seems like it's players who were paying other players on their team though. Even the 06 Rams defense did it under Haslett, until the Rams GM told them to stop.

Since: Oct 26, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2012 2:56 am

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

If the Redskins say they had a bounty system in place when Gregg Williams was their DC, then he should be suspended because that makes him the integral figure on two teams' systems designed to pay for injuring players. That is abominable. It should be at least a 2 year suspension- I would be fine with a lifetime suspension. Who knows how much injury time of other teams' players he is responsible for? Perhaps his system ended careers. It should end his.

Since: Mar 22, 2010
Posted on: March 4, 2012 2:53 am

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension


I bet you are 140 pound wimp, you are most likely Pee Wee herman and the towel boy could kick your rear

Since: Apr 29, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2012 2:28 am

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

Rams players did it in 2006. Who was their DC? Jim Haslett.


There have been informal "pay-for-performance" programs around for years in the NFL. In 2006, for example, the Rams' special teams unit put together an incentive program.

"It's whoever gets to the end zone first (on a touchback) or makes a tackle inside the 20," Rams cornerback Tye Hill said at the time, listing examples of incentives for the kickoff coverage team.

"Some of the older veterans that make the real big money are sponsoring it," running back Tony Fisher told the Post-Dispatch in 2006.

When Rams president of football operations Jay Zygmunt learned of the system, he informed the players that it was against league rules and should be discontinued immediately.

Since: Feb 13, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2012 2:11 am

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

Doesn't surprise me, the Raiders under John Madden did this. (Actually it was more Injury that guy or don't play but still...)

Kemo Von Oelenhoffen (sp?) took out Carson Palmer intentionally under orders from Cowher so the Steelers could beat them in a playoff game.

And since defenses in the NFL already play with one hand tied behind their back, it probably encourages this kind of behaviour. Afterall what's 15 yards if you can put Tom Brady, or AP, or Peyton, *insert top quality player here*, etc? On the flipside there is O-linemen and offensive coaches that do the same. The Falcons under Reeves and the Broncos under Shanahan did thier best to injury defensive players when they couldn't outright beat them.    

Since: Sep 16, 2010
Posted on: March 4, 2012 1:15 am

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

I wonder what it takes to get one of these guys suspended... Maybe shooting a player in the face?
This is the final needed piece of proof that Goodel's boner for safety is BS.
Done. Players suffer serious injuries, a hurricane wins NO a SB, and Williams and Payton get a quick scolding and are put in time out..
F*** Goodell...

Since: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: March 4, 2012 1:07 am

Report: Williams to face fine but not suspension

Williams and those tied to the bounty hunter scandal should be banned for life in the NFL. If your intent was to hurt players and then pay them for what they did you should get punished. I dont care if it was for Brett Farve or Rex Grossman a bounty is a bounty and getting banned from the league should be the penalty. I know there are a lot of dirty players out there, but coaches? they should be banned, bottom line.

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