Bucs Play In A Division With A Dirty Foe

March 2nd, 2012

Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been implicated by an NFL investigation of running a bounty system by paying Saints defenders to hurt opponents.

Yes, this is a Bucs blog; Joe does not deny that at all.

But it is times like this that Joe will deviate just slightly, as this is indirectly connected to the Bucs.

It seems the Bucs’ division rival, the New Orleans Saints, were busted by an NFL investigation for running a bounty program, where defenders got paid if they mauled opponents.

That could have included Bucs players as victims of dubious tactics.

Joe will paste the entire release from the NFL below so Joe’s readers can inhale all of the investigation’s findings.

NFL Discloses Findings of Investigation Into Violations of “Bounty Rule”

A lengthy investigation by the NFL’s security department has disclosed that between 22 and 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints, as well as at least one assistant coach, maintained a “bounty” program funded primarily by players in violation of NFL rules during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, the NFL announced today.

The league’s investigation determined that this improper “Pay for Performance” program included “bounty” payments to players for inflicting injuries on opposing players that would result in them being removed from a game.

The findings – corroborated by multiple independent sources – have been presented to Commissioner Roger Goodell, who will determine the appropriate discipline for the violation.

“The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players,” Commissioner Goodell said. “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.”

The players regularly contributed cash into a pool and received improper cash payments of two kinds from the pool based on their play in the previous week’s game. Payments were made for plays such as interceptions and fumble recoveries, but the program also included “bounty” payments for “cart-offs” (meaning that the opposing player was carried off the field) and “knockouts” (meaning that the opposing player was not able to return to the game).

The investigation showed that the total amount of funds in the pool may have reached $50,000 or more at its height during the 2009 playoffs. The program paid players $1,500 for a “knockout” and $1,000 for a “cart-off” with payouts doubling or tripling during the playoffs.

The investigation included the review of approximately 18,000 documents totaling more than 50,000 pages, interviews of a wide range of individuals and the use of outside forensic experts to verify the authenticity of key documents.

The NFL has a longstanding rule prohibiting “Non-Contract Bonuses.” Non-contract bonuses violate both the NFL Constitution and By-Laws and the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Clubs are advised every year of this rule in a memo from the commissioner. Citing Sections 9.1(C)(8), and 9.3(F) and (G) of the Constitution and By-Laws, the memo for the 2011 season stated:

“No bonus or award may directly or indirectly be offered, promised, announced, or paid to a player for his or his team’s performance against a particular team or opposing player or a particular group thereof. No bonuses or awards may be offered or paid for on field misconduct (for example, personal fouls to or injuries inflicted on opposing players).”

“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 Goodell said. “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 additional investigation established the following facts:

1. During the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, the players and other participants involved used their own money to fund a “Pay for Performance” program. Players earned cash awards for plays such as interceptions or fumble recoveries. They also earned “bounty” payments for “cart-offs” and “knockouts.” All such payments violate league rules for non-contract bonuses.

2. Players were willing and enthusiastic participants in the program, contributing regularly and at times pledging large amounts. Between 22 and 27 defensive players contributed funds to the pool over the course of three NFL seasons. In some cases, the amounts pledged were both significant and directed against a specific opposing player.

3. The bounty program was administered by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams with the knowledge of other defensive coaches. Funds were contributed on occasion by Williams.

4. Saints owner Tom Benson gave immediate and full cooperation to the investigators. The evidence conclusively established that Mr. Benson was not aware of the bounty program. When informed earlier this year of the new information, Mr. Benson advised league staff that he had directed his general manager, Mickey Loomis, to ensure that any bounty program be discontinued immediately. 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.

5. Although head coach Sean Payton was not a direct participant in the funding or administration of the program, 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.

6. There is no question that a bounty program violates long-standing league rules. Payments of this type – even for legitimate plays such as interceptions or fumble recoveries – are forbidden because they are inconsistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and well-accepted rules relating to NFL player contracts.

Commissioner Goodell has advised the Saints that he will hold further proceedings to determine the discipline to be assessed against individuals and the club. This will include conferring with the NFL Players Association and individual player leaders regarding appropriate discipline and remedial steps.

The discipline could include fines and suspensions and, in light of the competitive nature of the violation, forfeiture of draft choices. Any discipline may be appealed as provided for in the Constitution and By-Laws and Collective Bargaining Agreement. Any appeal would be heard and decided by the commissioner.

Commissioner Goodell also advised the Saints that he is retaining jurisdiction and reserving his authority to impose further discipline if additional information comes to his attention.

Joe wonders if the guilty Saints defenders, going the extra mile to maim opponents, had to use the stash of painkillers Saints executives were allegedly accused of stockpiling?

In Joe’s eyes, this is far worse than the stunts Bill Belicheat pulled. Bad as what Belicheat did, he wasn’t trying to put players out of the game and potentially end their careers.

This makes Joe sick.

56 Responses to “Bucs Play In A Division With A Dirty Foe”

  1. J 2.0 Says:

    It was pretty evident in the NFC Championship game when they are giving Favre cheap shots all game long.

  2. Stevek Says:

    Give me Carl Nicks now, he and Davin will make them their bitches.

  3. Stevek Says:

    Anybody got a link to the LaGarret Blount plow over of Malcolm Jenkins, where he broke his collarbone?

  4. jvato24 Says:

    Malcom Jenkins went for Freemans knee a year ago … Freeman got in his face and Jenkins threw a punch. luckily Blount ran his Ass OVER in the season finale and he missed the playoffs.

    I believe also it was a Saints player that torpedoed directly into Kareem Huggins knee completely destroying it.

    If compensation can be proven these players should be charged, sued and banned from the NFL much like Dante Wesley should have been after knocking out Clifton Smith.

  5. eric Says:

    Totally sickening.

  6. eric Says:

    Totally sickening.

  7. knucknbuc Says:

    steveK that was one of the best plays legarratte has done in his short career. I loved that Jenkins tried to smack him but legarratte lowered his shoulder and broke his collerbone. Jenkins is a punk and I should have paid legarrate a bounty for hurting him. But Hopefully Goodell has a real real real real strict punishment for the saints 4 doing this over the years. Im thinking a forfeit of the season is in order lol.

  8. jvato24 Says:

    I have always hated the Saints and their fans … and their dome … This is who they are

  9. CrispyBuc Says:

    This IS sickening. Remember the Jenkins shot on Freeman’s knees out of bounds? I wonder if anyone got paid for breaking the head coach’s leg?

  10. NJBucsFan Says:

    Strip their ability to franchise/transition tag players for 2 years and take their first round picks for the next 3 yrs.

    Brees hits the open market and they have Chase Hoffman as their QB. Dirty dirty dirty Nola.

  11. NJBucsFan Says:

    Chase Daniels….not Hoffman

  12. Brain Says:

    Chase Daniel…not Daniels

  13. ClayBURN94 Says:

    Horrible video quality but all i could find: http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2Fmobile&gl=US#/watch?v=SuZ1YpTnTtc

  14. OAR Says:

    F-ing Aints! Makes me want to puke!

  15. MTM Says:

    The Saints are starting to implode. Breesy contract issues, some good players getting ready to become free agents, D coordinator gone and now bounty allegations. The drain is starting to circle on the Saints.

  16. big007hed Says:

    Damn this is terrible… Why would another player try to injure others, sad state of affairs in that organization… The GM calls Brees “very good” and can’t get him signed, that only possibly helps the Bucs in their bid to sign Nicks

  17. BucFan20 Says:

    This is SICK! Anyone involved should be Fired, and never be allowed in the NFL again. This includes the people who knew and did nothing about it. They are just as guilty if they knew their players were trying to hurt other players on purpose!! Coaches players or whoever.

  18. gotbbucs Says:

    This will not be pretty when Goodell drops the hammer down on them. This makes the Patriots spygate look like baby sh!t. Maybe it will be pretty….for Bucs fans and other NFC South teams. I can’t wait to see this unfold.

  19. Andrew Says:

    I never thought Sean was a dirty dog coach…guess I was wrong.

  20. Meh Says:

    That superbowl win is forever tainted. There will be huge punishments for this.

  21. jvato24 Says:

    From owner Benson,
    “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.”

    Way to own up a**Hole .. 3rd sentence .. We look forward to putting this behind us … Good luck with that Tommy BOY !!!

  22. BucsfaninMi Says:

    Sad thing is, the NFL probably won’t do a damn thing! Not to the Beloved Saints.

  23. BucFan20 Says:

    Not only the NFL but I can’t wait to see what Fisher and the Rams do with Williams. If Fisher keeps him then I will thank God he is not here. I could not back a HC that would keep a coach who would condone this.

  24. buCncRaZy Says:

    I’m glad we took Mr. Payton OUT,karma’s a b¡tc# !!! Really hope we can bring in Nicks and Lofton that would be great hurting division opponents!

  25. Fear The Glow Says:

    These are the same guys that are going to be suing the NFL in 20 years because they cant walk anymore or because they cant remember what they had for breakfast because of injuries suffered during their playing career.

  26. jvato24 Says:

    Its a good night to have the NFL network!

    I sense the dirty Aints Empire is on shaky ground.

  27. Phenom4498 Says:

    Better put the Asterisk beside their Superbowl win in the history books!!

  28. thegregwitul Says:

    Take away their first round pick, bottomline. An example needs to be made that player safety is taken seriously. What’s a fine of a million dollars when the league shares revenue and generates hundreds of millions of dollars? Take away that high pick and maybe any other team out there participating in disgusting bounties will think twice about doing so in the future.

    Let’s see how serious Roger Goodell is about this heinous infraction.

  29. jLM Says:

    That’s ok we took care of Sean Peyton. Lol

  30. jvato24 Says:

    It may be possible for multiple Defensive players to be suspended for part of the season. Coaches too … THis is as sweet as the 49ers beating them at the last minute in the playoffs

  31. TrueBlue Says:

    I don’t want the Bucs to try and sign anyone from the Saints who was involved in this. All of them need to be sued by any player that got hurt from this crime. The team needs to be sanctioned by loss of draft pics for at least three years. If that’s how long they were playing this game, that’s how long they need to be sanctioned.

    No college player should be forced, by being drafted, to go into this organization until the punishment is paid.

  32. NJBucsFan Says:

    Hmmm….I think the IRS should come knocking. I’m sure all the income was unclaimed. Start chipping away at the deficit.

  33. jvato24 Says:

    Wow .. this could be crazy.

  34. MichiganBucsFan Says:

    there had better be a serious punishment for this Goodell, this is serious sh!t

  35. J 2.0 Says:

    Payton was taken out by his own player. It just happened on our turf.

  36. Architek Says:

    The Saints are going to really feel this during the season…very bad business

  37. Tuggz Says:

    How could anyone NOT see this during the 2009 NFC Championship game? They were drilling Favre’s knees with late hits all day. WHY weren’t the refs taking action??

  38. Bill Says:

    If you don’t think this happens on other teams, including the Bucs, you are crazy. The Saint’s got caught and will be punished, but come on, you all are making it sound like this is the first tikme you have ever heard of anything like this. I guarantee it goes on and will continue to go on.

  39. Yar Says:

    Just a little old school football, been going on for a long, long time.

  40. Pete Dutcher Says:

    @ Tugg
    That’s a very good point. You would almost think those officials had a hand in the pool.

    Not true. If that were the case the NFL itself would not be making a big deal of this.

    There is a huge difference between celebrating good hits and giving cash rewards for them.

    PFT I think is reporting that the owner knew nothing about it at all. Sean was not involved. If the GM was involved what exactly could Sean do? The GM is his boss.

    I can see Goodell taking the franchise tag for a year or stripping 1-2 picks this year to punish the organization…but I don’t think it will be worse than that.

    The players and Williams are the true culprits in this. They need suspensions and fines.

    Is there a list of players involved? Were there any offensives players? Niccks started playing there in 2009 I think…a year after we got Faine.

  41. BucFan20 Says:

    Now there is a story out of Washington. Williams was running a similar bounty system while he was there. He used money from fines ( things like being late for meetings, etc..) for that one. He has admitted to the system with the Saints and apologized. This guy needs to be out of the NFL! USA Today has a few stories.

  42. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Notable news:

    The Raiders applied the franchise tag to Branch…and they are WAAAAAY over the cap.

    Anyone over there worth getting? UFA is Michael Bush (rb), but they are going to have to trim $50-60 million to get under the cap. That means a lot of high paid players will get the axe.

  43. Dave Says:

    This is not “just something teams do” or “old school football”. MOST players do want other players to get hurt. They know each other and most respect each other.

    They should pay heavily, especially since coaches knew about it, allegedly.

    Franchise tags, draft picks, fines, susoensions….. I see ALL of it coming their way in this age of trying to protect the player’s health.

    The league has been adament about player health. I believe they are going to nail the Saints and the players and coaches involved BIG TIME as a message… and they should.

  44. Patrick Says:

    AREN’T you guys glad we didn’t hire this guy to be our head coach or defensive coordinator?!?

    I sure am!

  45. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I really don’t think it matters if other teams across the league do the exact same thing. You get caught, you pay the price, period. Maybe they should be better at hiding it. You can’t take it easy on those who get caught just because there is an assumption that others are doing the same thing. I’m all for anything that hurts the New Orleans Saints, so I hope they get the hammer by the warden on this one. He needs to make an example of them. Maybe he could even give them the ultimate punishment: make them take our linebackers and corners, and let Raheem Morris be their defensive coordinator. If that’s not enough, let Greg Olsen run their offense. I guarantee you there would never be anymore bounties in the NFL with that punishment.

  46. Vince Says:

    Sick and disgusting! Williams should be thrown out of the league, players should be suspended and draft picks should be taken away.

  47. Pruritis Ani Says:

    I will be curious to see if any opposing players that were injured now try to sue the Saints, as now intent to injure can be demonstrated. As for Williams, he should be fined and suspended from the league fora few years. I also dont believe Peyton was blissfully ignorant about this. New Orleans has gotten a pass for a lot of things because of Katrina, hopefully this isnt one of them

  48. Bobby Says:

    That was the first thng I thought of when I read this…the Kareem Huggins cheap shot and the shot on Freeman. I’ve always thought Malcolm Jenkins is a dirty player and now I know why. This is really, really bad and needs to be severely punished as an example to other teams that this will not be tolerated.

  49. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I actually like the saints more than I like the Panthers or the Falcons (whom I really, really hate). I haven’t forgotten that part of Freeman’s development is due to Drew being his mentor.

    I would prefer their tag be stripped because that would help the Bucs right now. But now that I’ve thought about it, I don’t think the punishment will come in time…especially if they are permitted an appeal.

    Maybe their draft picks should be awarded to the teams they injured players on or that they hurt the most as a result. I could see the Vikings getting their first round pick. I could see us getting a 4th rounder.

  50. James B. Says:

    Remember when the notion of the Saints being dirty was repeatedly shot down from BSPN. Just playing football…

  51. Wisconsin Bucs fan Says:

    Pete Rose got lifetime ban for a lot less. Greg Williams needs to go.

  52. BigMacAttack Says:

    I agree about how they beat up Favre with late hits and the refs did nothing. It was complete BS at the time and I was furious watching that game. It is even worse that they all lied about it during the initial investigation. I believe suitable punishment would be:
    1. Forfeiture of the Super Bowl Win and Lombardi Trophy.
    2. Forfeiture of all 2012, 2013 and 2014 Draft Choices since it went on 3 years.
    3. Loomis banned for life from NFL
    4. Greg Williams banned for life from NFL
    5. Sean Payton and Other Asst Coaches involved serve 3 year Suspension
    6. All Players involved serve 1 year suspension
    7. Fines assessed to all Players & Coaches involved and compensation paid to all players hurt or injured by Saints’ defense, depending on severity up to $25 Million with half paid by the Organization.

    It happened under Benson’s nose, on his watch and he is almost as much to blame IMO.

  53. Heath Says:

    The Taliban thinks that is excessive.

  54. Bucs Babe Says:

    I can’t stand the Saints this is almost as good as when they lost to Seattle in the playoffs

  55. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Those are unrealistic punishments. The NFL needs to be careful not to alienate the Saints fans. It is, after all, a business.

    The more likely punishments are fines, SOME player suspensions, a suspension or ban of Williams, and a loss of 1-2 draft picks.

    The Saints are a huge money maker. The NFL will do the least punishment possible, taking care to not alienate the rest of the fans of the NFL.

  56. jarrett Says:

    Although technically this is cheating, because the money for bounties is not going toward the salary cap, I still do not think this is any where as bad as spygate. Every team wants to knock out opposing qbs. The patriots are cheating cheaters who cheat, and it is the worst in my book.