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The Saints’ “bounties” and Warner’s playoff game

Posted by Darren Urban on March 2, 2012 – 2:53 pm

The NFL dropped a bombshell Friday, releasing the results of an investigation that players and at least one coach on the New Orleans Saints were funding and using a “bounty” program for many defensive players, including extra money for anyone who knocked a player from a game.

One of the reasons the investigation started was the complaints that the Saints had targeted Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner in the teams’ playoff game in New Orleans in January, 2010. That was a game that the Cards lost, 45-14, and ended up being Warner’s final game of his career. He was beaten up during the game and then was crushed by Saints lineman Bobby McCray trying to make a tackle after an interception. Warner retired a few weeks later.

Warner said it at the time, but reiterated it again Friday on the Burns and Gambo show on Arizona Sports 620: That hit — and that game — did not make up his mind on retirement. Warner had pretty much decided by midseason his career would be over once the 2009 season was.

“(The McCray hit) put a nice exclamation point on it, but I had known well into that season there was a strong likelihood of me retiring,” Warner said. “It had nothing to do with one hit or one incident. Having made 99 percent of the decision anyway and then you take that hit and are sore for two-and-a-half weeks, it makes you go, ‘Uh, yeah, that’s the right decision.’ But by no means did it come down to one play whether I retired.”

There were other times in that game though when it did look like the Saints were going after Warner and specifically, his head (Warner had suffered through a concussion earlier that season.) Warner got hit a few times up high (like the picture to the right, where he is being clocked by linebacker Jonathan Vilma) but the Saints were only flagged for one personal foul, a roughing-the-passer by linebacker Scott Shanle. Warner at the time wasn’t thrilled about the hits either (the photo below is him complaining to referee Ron Winter.) Warner said the McCray hit was clean, even if it didn’t feel that good.

Warner said he’s heard of plenty of “bounty” speculation in the past, not necessarily with the Saints. There is no question bounties have been around for awhile. The Cards’ own senior director of community relations Luis Zendejas was a infamous target himself from Buddy Ryan and the Eagles back in the 1980s. But Warner also thinks the league, bounties or not, had been morphing into a more violent version anyway, which is why it is good the NFL has put some better rules in place.

“I believe players were going out trying to knock people out,” Warner said. “They were trying to get the big hit. That’s where the league had gone. Whether it was because of a quote-unquote “bounty” or teammates were paying those kinds of incentives, I still believe there are a number of players who were going to hit somebody and try to knock them out. That was the culture.”

The penalties the Saints will receive will be determined later, but they are expected to be severe. This went well beyond the Cards’ game or even the Vikings’ NFC Championship game the following week. Saints were getting $1,500 for knocking a player out of a game and $1,000 if a player was carted off and those payments went up double or triple in the playoffs. Warner said he really doesn’t remember the Saints coming after him or hitting him that day much differently than any team would each week.

But, “I don’t think there is a place in our game for trying to hurt someone,” Warner said.


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Posted in Blog | 65 Comments »


65 Responses to “The Saints’ “bounties” and Warner’s playoff game”

  1. By Fitz4MtRushmore on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    I screamed that whole playoff game at the TV about the 5 or more hit to the head Kurt took & I believe the Aints received only 1 flag. IMO Warner isn’t being honest in saying the last blow he took didn’t play a huge factor in his return to the Cards. STIFF STIFF penalties NFL!!!

  2. By SteveG on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    That was a violent game that the refs did not do a good job of controlling (I am British, we call that “Understatement”).

    I take Kurt at his word re. retirement, but sure did not feel good seeing him roughed up that way, although, one must say, the Cards were almost still too tired after Green Bay to offer much protection……

    Interesting story….stay tuned (and pass the popcorn)….

  3. By cards62 on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Coach Williams should be suspended for a season without pay, and if he does it again a life time ban from coaching from Pee Wee to the Pros, and coach Peyton should receive an 8 game suspension without pay. I can not believe it took them over a year to perform this investigation.

    Football is dangerous enough without idiot coaches.

    Go Cards

  4. By Mike Ellingboe on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    While I get that this kind of story gets everyone’s blood boiling, especially when it’s directed at someone like Warner, it’s nothing new. As Darren noted, we hired a coach known for doing it (Ryan) and as a franchise have employed one of, if not the dirtiest player to ever play the game (Conrad Dobler). It’s refreshing to hear the league is considering handing out a legit penalty for it, as opposed to the wrist slaps they used to give out. Ask any Chicago Bears fan about that.

  5. By SteveG on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Details from peter king SI Article.

    http://goo.gl/xVwnb

  6. By RD on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    I know the fines better be 10 times the fines that James Harrison regularly receives. If one guys gets fined $125,000 in one year, what should a team get for rewarding knock out hits….$500,000, $1,000,000?

  7. By SteveG on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    From Mike Freeman CBS sports

    “An NFL memo to all of its clubs details yet more of what is becoming one of the biggest sports scandals in recent NFL history. Details of the memo were obtained by me from a team official. Here is a summary of what parts of the memo states.

    Funds for the Saints bounty system, the memo states, weren’t solely contributed by players. People close to the Saints team contributed as well. One was a felon: Michael Ornstein.

    Ornstein was once Reggie Bush’s marketing agent and is close friends with Saints coach Sean Payton. Ornstein spent time in prison for fraud and the Saints — somewhat — have cut ties with Ornstein.

    But in 2009 Ornstein was a fixture around the Saints site. The NFL memo to teams state that then Ornstein pledged $10,000 towards the quarterback bounty in 2009.

    Then, on at least two occasions in 2011, Ornstein again contributed to a bounty fund on an opposing quarterback.

    The NFL memo also states there was a bounty paper trail. Ornstein put details of the bounty system in an e-mail to Payton, according to the NFL memo. In that e-mail, Ornstein committed $5,000 towards yet another bounty.

    This just gets worse and worse for the Saints. “

  8. By SteveG on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Source for the previous post (sorry, forgot) http://goo.gl/KByiZ

  9. By Elijah on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    All coaches directly involved should get a years suspension, any who profited monetarily should suffer triple indemnities, and the Aints should sacrifice more than what the Pats did after their debacle.

  10. By Mike Ellingboe on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    In regards to “Cardschatter Twitter,” it sounds like the anvil is ready to drop on Williams.

    Cards62,

    Your idea for his punishment may not end up being that far off.

  11. By brad oneill on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    its probably pretty politcally and otherwise incorrect to think, forget nfl penalties, they put bounties on us and it gets handled on the field. score board, yea it means nothing in the hall of fame game. by the way this is a brilliant marketing gimmick by nfl, we are going to have our first NFL preseason game be between a team we just indicted for putting bounties on another team whose beloved qb was beat to hell in the last game of his career many of the hits being aimed at the head.

    I think WIlson is looking soft lately, if anyone sees wilson walking around tell him the saints didnt put a bounty on him because he is past his prime and hits like a girl.

  12. By Mark on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren is their any chance the cards or vikings will receive draft compensation from the Saints in light of the circumstances surrounding “The Bounties” incidents from 2009

  13. By Darren Urban on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Mark —

    RE: Compensation

    Nope.

  14. By cardsalltheway on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Now I see how our D-fence made a turn-around this past year, can’t help but wonder.

  15. By Scharf on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    *cracks knuckles* We will see you in the Hall game Saints! Let’s have the Cardinals send an exclamation of their own. Let’s riddle the scoreboard and publicly humiliate the Saints. Cardinals 70 – Saints 3

  16. By Procen on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    In my opinion the players that participate on that unprofessional act should be kick out of NFL along with their coaches that instigated it, and make them as an example, so no one will repeat it. I need your input this, Darren.

  17. By Marcelo on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    As a Brazilian I may that here in our soccer, and maybe in yours, players hit hard, put other players down in order to scarry them, to make them see that if they intend to play better, they`re gonna suffer the consequences…… it happens so often here that it’s becoming a routine, if a player plays good, he’ll be “isolated” knocked out of the game somehow….

    Nfl`s players are not supposed to be scarried, but they do fear getting hurt, and that may change the course of an entire game.

  18. By Darren Urban on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    Procen –

    RE: kicking out players

    I think that’s never going to happen, nor should it.

  19. By SteveG on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    One wonders how much extra money was paid to Mcray for that hit?

  20. By Corgon on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    There’s only one real punishment for this! We have to beat the saints from now on every time on the field!

    I’ll hate them forever for this, cuz Kurt deserved a much cleaner last game.
    They systematically haunted Warner and Fevre as well in that playoff. That was crystall clear for everyone except the refs.

  21. By Buck on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    cardsalltheway Your last post is sick.

  22. By joe67 on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    mike ellingboe
    Don’t try and compare Dobler with what is going on here. Pretty hard to compare an O-lineman with some of the Goons playing D today. Most of what he did was defending himself and maybe biting a couple people who had their fingers inside his facemask, trying to gouge his eyes.
    Don’t know how old you are or if you ever saw him play. He was the true defintion of an “over acheiver”. Did what he had to do for his team and his QB. Gotta love some of the stories he and his team mates tell, especially about Jack Youngblood and Merlin Olsen trying to take him out of a game.

  23. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    The most suprising thing to me about this whole story is the paltry dollar amount for the bounties. Only $1,000 for getting a guy carted off the field when the minimum salary for NFL players was over $300,000 in 2009? How is a paltry $1,000 enough to justify the punishment and fine (five figures for sure) if they player gets caught for breaking the rules?

    Better late than never regarding the punishment though. It was painful to watch Warner and especially Favre take those blatantly excessive and late hits during the 2009 playoffs.

  24. By cardsalltheway on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    Buck,
    “Sick,”
    Maybe I’m just a more read person that you, haven’t you been listening/reading what’s being said…?
    “Saints’ ‘pay for performance’ system commonplace in NFL”
    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8275bb0f/article/saints-pay-for-performance-system-commonplace-in-nfl?module=HP11_cp

  25. By georgiebird on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    Darren,
    The hit on Warner in the playoff game was uncalled for. To blindside a QB when the game is no longer in doubt is not a sportsmanlike thing to do (although legal).
    Just shows how vigilant defenses can be.

  26. By Andy M on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    Darren, I wonder if you or someone can put this all in perspective. At its core, the NFL is a violent game–that is much of the appeal for many fans. The notion of a bounty is something the players undoubtedly talk about in private, whether that particular team formally engages in such a reward system–and at some level we have ask how prevalent the practice is. So, we also have to wonder if the players who participate in bounties are the same ones who kneel in prayer when a player gets his clock cleaned or is otherwise blown up. It seems pretty schizophrenic. The league is trying to get “safer” about hits to the head, yet most of us enjoy an aggressive shot (if “our” team is on the right side of the collision) or sack. It seems like the commissioner has an impossible task.

  27. By Andy K on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    Has the Cardinals ever thought about if Skelton, Kolb, and Bartel were injured, that Calais Campbell could be their backup Qb as well?

  28. By georgiebird on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    Darren,
    Any chance the HOF game with the Saints will be renamed- maybe the Bounty Bowl or possibly the Warner War ?

  29. By Cactus jeff on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    Both QBs Warner and Farve were getting drilled in the 2 playoff games. Unreal! Take their number 1 draft pick away this year and fine the head coach serious money!

  30. By Darren Urban on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    Georgie –

    RE: blindside

    The Warner hit actually came in the second quarter in a 14-point game. It was hardly decided.

  31. By clssylssy on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    Is it just me wondering why now? This has been going on forever and is pretty much part of the football culture… like it or not. Football is a violent sport and “bounties” were previously viewed as incentives…verbage…potatoe, pototoe. I hear hardcore fans long for the “good ole days” of smashmouth football at the same time they are accusing other teams of playing dirty and cheating. The Saints are being scapegoated for the sins of the league and again we have the Commish posturing in the same spirit as his position on helmet-to-helmet hits that only apply when certain players are hit…give me a break…concussions don’t discriminate as to the position of a player! The Saints are one of the cleaner teams in the league that have somehow fallen out of favor. Football is ripe with scandals…I recall the Patriots “spygate” incident…was that different because it was only the integrity of the game being hurt? So far I haven’t heard Terry Bradshaw weigh in on this as someone who has been there and no doubt targeted. I have always been proud of my Cardinals because they play clean and take their penalties without a lot of whining …all part of the game. I would be interested to hear from Coach Whisenhunt on this subject as a former Steeler coach. GUYS…THERE IS NO CRYING IN FOOTBALL! One team should not be singled out and penalized after the fact at random. This week the Saints…next week the Cards?

  32. By AndyStandsUp on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    Since the other Andys have already spoke I thought I’d try one:
    Was the punch Duece Lutui gave Tommie Harris that ultimately got Harris ejected in 2009 premeditated or not?
    And if so, how many In-N-Out Burger coupons were given in advance?

  33. By Mike Ellingboe on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    @Joe67,

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but Dobler was far worse than this story about “bounties.” He made a career out of leg whipping, punching, cheap shots every chance he got. Read about what he did that made guys like Olsen and Youngblood try to take him out of the game. Dobler openly bragged about getting opponents that pissed off at him.

  34. By clssylssy on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    Following the logic held by some of our fans, since we beat the Saints (with Max Hall as QB) does that mean we have a “Bounty” system ? Maybe when this all shakes out we will be under investigation as our trip to the Superbowl, surprising to many, is viewed as suspicious! ….just saying,
    And, if we’re still needing a QB next year we can obviously pay better than the Saints and know how to treat our valued players!

  35. By We Missed Q on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    “Cactus Jeff”, The saints do not have a #1 draft pick this year, traded it to the pats.

  36. By BrothersGottaAndyHug on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    Love that photo of Ron Winter….classic NFL referee – does not even offer the common decency of looking Kurt Warner in the eyes as a class act expresses his very valid concern over the Saints BS style of play….just bury your head in the sand, bunch of Ostriches stealing paychecks as far as I am concerned….

  37. By cardfancolorado on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    Totally agree with what BrothersGottaAndyhug. But like most of us are thinking I’m sure the saints were not the only team that had bounties

  38. By in fitz we trust on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    nfl network @ 5pm today will air the 2009 wild card game, cards vs the pack. great memories channel 162 cox.

  39. By tim on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    Maybe they should return to good fundamental football skills like tackling. Use the shoulder, wrap ‘em up, down you go. A majority of head injuries are a result of running full speed and crashing into each other. Watch the highlights and see how many “great” plays result from a guy not falling down after the crash. Washington got jumped over and looked foolish trying to deliver such a blow in the Cincinnati game. He might have saved a touchdown with a real tackle. Watch the replays with a critical eye, think about it, it’s amazing how many missed tackles there are. Let’s divide stats for tackles into tackles and crashes.

  40. By Chuck 1 on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    Now, we’ll see if Goodell is just a “Paper Tiger” {or, will he do what is just and lower the boom on the Aints; not just a tap on the wrist, but career or several season suspensions and hefty (not $50) fines}.

  41. By georgiebird on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    Darren,
    I stand corrected on the McCray hit- for some reason thought it was later in the game. Still was uncalled for because McCray could have just screened Warner and been effective..
    For the record, I would like to know how vigilant our OL was toward McCray for the rest of the game.
    I’ll bet Dobler would have gone out of his way to even the score. While Dobler’s aggressiveness was over the top, he did play on a couple of the best OLs in the NFL.

  42. By CORMAC on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    OOO ya, its on like DONEKY KONG!!!! I say all the teams put a bounty on the Saints if they want to play like that. Where they going to be if DREW got taken out? !!!#@#$|””!!!

  43. By Eazy E on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    I thought most of the hits were clean, even though, obviously hindsight is 20/20, maybe a hit or two was a bit much, but it is still football. What they did to Brett was worse. It looked like they we’re definitely going after him and trying to knock him out illegally.

  44. By Jeff Gollin on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    I just listened to Mike Golic’s rationalization for bounties (i.e. “big hitting is part of the game”, “the players often organize this on their own”, “other teams do it/Williams was just at the wrong place at the wrong time” etc.)

    I’m not buying almost any of it.

    The biggest issue is that the criteria/objective of the “incentive” program wasn’t “big hits” or hits that (within the boundaries and rules of play) “won games.”

    Instead, the criterion was “to injure opposing players.” (That’s what the money was paid out for). What message does that convey to our kids playing HS or Pee Wee football?

    Sooner or later, under programs like these, an NFL player is going to die. From a legal standpoint, at what point does “enthusiastic play” morph into first degree murder or attempted murder? (And who becomes complicit in the conspiracy)?

    Think about it.

  45. By Scott H on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    Hey, I hope the Saints get what is coming to them for whatever “bounties” they may have put on Warner or anyone else. Shame on whatever coaches were involved with that. The game is violent enough. We don’t need COACHES inducing players to be MORE violent and cause more harm by offering incentives.

    Shame on whatever players may have gona long with this, as well. Any one of them could have their career ended on any given play just in the normal course of the game. To have a career ended by one player seeking to harm another to collect a “bounty” is just…beyond words. You would think / hope players wouldn’t do that to others just as they sure as hell wouldn’t want it done to them.

    AND it surprises me that players would go alomg with this when maybe what they SHOULD be doing is taking offense to it. If I am a defensive player for the Saints, why am I going to buy into a mindset that maybe we have to create an advantage for ourselves by hurting the other teams’ guys and knocking them out of a game??? Really? Is that because we aren’t good enough to win straight up? If my coaches are giving me that message, why am I not offended by that?

    After saying all that, it IS just a reality in the NFL that after an interception and during a return, players on the other side WILL go after the QB. That is just what happens, bounties have nothing to do with that. And if the QB is trying to go after the guy with the ball at that point, players on the other team are “justified” in throwing a block to clear the way for the guy carrying the ball. That’s just football. As a fan, I like it when my team is laying out the opposing QB given the chance to do so. I don’t like it when the OTHER team is laying out MY QB. Again, when it’s just football, I’m OK with it. When it’s not – because coaches have given their players an added incentive – then I think it sucks. And if Gregg Williams is found guilty of this, then I will not shed a tear if he ( and anyone wlse that should be held responsible ) never works in the NFL again.

  46. By clssylssy on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    I do not understand why everyone is singling out the Saints as a scapegoat when this practice has been around since the beginning of football…sounds like sour grapes to me over the hit on Warner which HE has stated was a legal hit. What I’m wondering is where the referees are when there is all this unnecessary roughness and why aren’t they making calls or ejecting players from the game? Yes, football is a violent sport that can result in serious injuries, but, then nobody is being forced to play and the players know more than anybody what the real deal is. I think Cards fans are still blaming Warner’s retirement on the Saints…read the article again! And, if we hadn’t struggled the last few years, this entire incident would be history. As it was pointed out Brett Farve was targeted more aggressively and I don’t hear whining from the Vikes. This Greg Williams “incentive” program was also in practice when he was with the Bills and the Redskins. We finished strong last season and have great potential for next season; Warner was a good
    QB but didn’t get us to the Superbowl alone. Goodell and the NFL need to look at the referees who are responsible for behavior on the field before they start
    scapegoating one team and trying them in the Court of Public Opinion based on anonymous sources. Can you do an interview with Coaches Whisenhunt and Horton and Russ Grimm Darren?

  47. By SSG Tim Roberts on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    Ok, back when I was in high school our coaches used to preach to our defense that “IF” there was an interception that the defense then becomes the offense and one of the first people they need to get is the QB. However, there are ways other than to blindside this guy like the Saints did that game. Many of the calls by the refs in that game were questionable (to say the least) and when you go back and review the film of that game you will undoubtably see what I’m saying.

    This (as I’m a diehard Cards fan) isn’t the way to play ball. This was supposed to be a fair contest in which BOTH teams played hard and one of them came out the winner. NOT to will fully put another player on their back so they could collect $1500. I know this game is violent. Its the only sport I know of where you can hit somebody full out and not get ejected from the game for it. But come on guys! Seriously?! While I doubt the outcome of the game would have been any different, it would have made for better sportsmanship than to hit a guy in the head just to win. I think they need to fine these dirtbags heavily and take some draft picks from them. Thats only fair for what they’ve done

  48. By John the draft guy on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    Knockouts, cartoffs, Bounties. I hate the ugly side of sports. But at what point does it become wrong in such a violent driven sport?

    A pop warner coach called in and said he gives a box of Captain Crunch to the player with the best hit that week. Most of us would say that is acceptable.

    If a pro coach gave 1500 for the best hit on a QB that week, is that OK? As Al Davis said, the QB must go down and he must go down hard. I would say the performance pay is OK.

    Knockouts. If Adrian Wilson unloads (as he has many times) on a wr and knocks him out of a game, and Horton comes up afterwords and says here is a 1000 bucks for that hit, is it wrong? I know everyone of us card fans stand up and cheer it. What if the receiver is Vernon Davis and Horton mentioned the 1000 buck before the game but only if it is a clean hit with no flags? Still OK?

    I think the line is crossed when the idea is planted to physically knock a player out by any means necessary. Every player knows how to blow someones knee out or give them a concussion. The days of Jack Tatum and Mean Joe Greene are gone. The league has worked hard with the player association to limit injuries and long term disabilities.These types of bounties goes against all the work those players have done.

    If Gregg Williams was advocating something outside the rules, and paying for cartoffs seems he might, then he has no business in this game.

    I guess my parting shot is, is it necessary? Does a 1000 bucks to a guy like Wilson making 5-6 million really make him hit harder? I think the fines and suspensions have curbed his hitting actually. Guys at a professional level, don’t need an incentive. Their next contract (or keeping the current one), should be why they play hard and hit hard. Bounties, wrong or right just has a bad feel to it and really have no place in sports.

  49. By Darren Urban on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: Interview

    And ask what? My guess is that most coaches don’t want to come anywhere near this subject right now.

    I’m trying to understand why you believe nothing wrong has been done. Just because it has been going on doesn’t make it right. First of all, any payment for football-related things that aren’t in a player’s contract violates the salary cap. More importantly, encouraging players to injure others is simply wrong. I don’t care how violent the game is. I am not naive, I know it’s going to happen anyway with some guys. But for coaches to encourage it — either directly or with silence — just doesn’t work.

  50. By D on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    Good job to former Card Ed Cummingham…good movie

  51. By Voice of Reason on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    Plain and simple, Gregg Williams is a pig that couldn’t handle such play physically. I’d pay Bobby McCray $1,000 to put the same hit on Williams as he put on Warner that day. I’ll even let Williams pad up more than Warner was.

    The only difference would be that Warner got up quicker and didn’t have a brown stain on the back of his pants.

    I’m all for rewards for sacks, turnovers, fumbles caused, pass breakups, and other parts of the games, all of which can result in injury. But in none of those plays is there an INTENT to injure.

    And that is the distinction — hard play versus attempts to injure — that separates those meatheads that don’t understand the nuances of the GAME from those marginally intelligent and above that do.

    Disgusting.

  52. By SteveG on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    As ever, one is stunned to see folks actually thinking that this is somehow “OK”.

    Legal ramifications. Any intent to injure (And if $$ change hands), means this was assault. (That’s criminal.) Please note the word “intent”.

    Tax evasion. ALL income MUST be reported. Did someone get the $10K for downing Brett? Did they report it as income? (Civil)

    Class action suits. If you buy a ticket to a NFL game but someone changes the rules for money, does it give a ticket holder the right to sue for misrepresentation? (Think there isn’t going to be an attempt at least?) (Civil)

    Cap ramifications. ALL compensation to players must fall inside cap, did these “bonuses” paid in part by management, constitute a cap violation? (CBA).

    This is the beginning of an UGLY stretch for the NFL as a whole, and saying “boys will be boys” is frankly ignorant and uneducated.

  53. By John the draft guy on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    Never thought of the cap angle Darren, very good point.

    All these ex-players keep defending bounties and saying there is a gray area. (something I was trying to create in my post above). But with the cap issues coming into play, management can’t pay players extra incentives without it counting.

    I keep hearing the experts say the patriots did worse because they cheated. But aren’t the saints cheaters too?

    Bounties are a violation of the cap and giving one team an unfair advantage of being able to pay players more. Another way to put it; Cheating.

  54. By Ben on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    Off topic,

    That ZOOM with Ryan Williams on the front page. BRILLIANT!!!!

    Way to make my off-season more enjoyable. Kudos to everyone involved with that segment.

  55. By clssylssy on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    Darren:
    I don’t think you understood my meaning. I think it is wrong to single out one team and make them the scapegoat for something that the NFL has turned a blind eye to for years and years. I am sick of the media taking something and blowing it up…to sensationalize the negative parts of a sport I love. It serves no purpose but to sell papers, magazines or get board hits…it is not constructive. I don’t like it when someone is tried in a kangaroo court of public opinion citing “unnamed sources”. It would be more appropriate and constructive to have a confidential inquiry, gather information and proceed to address the issue with the Owners and Players Association then draft policies, procedures and outline penalties for FUTURE infractions to included being banned for life from participation in the NFL…not make an example out of a team for something that occurred in retrospect.
    I’m sure your are right about most coaches not wanting to be anywhere near the subject right now because most of them know that this is nothing new from
    all the years they have played or coached in the NFL. Ask them what? …In the old days of the “Steel Curtain” were any players given “incentives” or compensated for hard hits that changed a game? Mr. Grimm, what is your knowledge about an “incentive bonus” for players when you were with the Redskins. I personally remember the days when the Raiders were little more than thugs in uniforms and that is the way Madden wanted it. The Cards have had a few bad apples..Dobler was a saddist, we’re not lilly white.
    As I have said on numerous previous occasions, I am proud of my Cards for their clean play and good sportsmanship even though we have had seasons
    that were not considered successful. I just read an article in which Gregg Williams was described as a “stand up guy” by one of the NFL “unnamed sources”…and, that doesn’t work for me but does seem to reflect the character of those running the witch hunt.

  56. By Darren Urban on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    clssy —

    RE: “Unnamed sources”

    Let’s make one thing very clear: This is not a Yahoo! report, or Schefter from ESPN uncovering this, or any media outlet. This is an NFL-led investigation that no one knew about until the NFL released its findings Friday. This wouldn’t be reported in the media if the NFL hadn’t said this (at least, not yet). The investigation already was on and off for two years and just finished. We are seeing the end.

    I am biased, given my background, but I believe the media is necessary in our world. I know many think the other way, and stories do get sensationalized, but for a moment imagine the world without media. Think of all the stories no one would ever know about. There are some things that, yes, don’t need to be known. But there are many, many things over the years that were important to be exposed to the light of day, and that’s what the media is for.

    (Steps off soapbox.)

    As for this story, sorry. I’m not a fan of “They’ve always done it, so it’s OK.” Notice the examples you are giving: Steel Curtain, Conrad Dobler, Redskins with Grimm. You are talking about 25, 35, 40 years ago. Are we really going to go there? It’s a different game. There are a ton of players from that era complaining they have terrible lives now because of what they did to each other physically. So it’s OK? Back then, cigarettes were the norm too.

    Finally, one of the reasons the league will come down on the Saints isn’t just that this happened, but that they lied about it happening and the NFL has ironclad proof, with e-mails and testimony, that they lied. They’ve been busted. I’ve seen a handful of players talking about how it’s bad that all these people have been “snitching.” Well, you can’t snitch unless someone has done something wrong.

  57. By TUCSTEVE on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    darren is making all the right points. agree with every word you said. i wish some people would keep there comments small

  58. By Scott H on Mar 6, 2012 | Reply

    Interesting…anyone take note of the fact that that Saints-Vikings game was supposed to run on NFL Network ( yesterday, I think ) and then was pulled amidst all of this hoopla going on around Williams and this bounty stuff? Gee, why would that be, I wonder? Could it be that the NFL is changing the programming on it’s own newtork so people won’t see what they don’t want them to see? yeah, you better believe it. If there is nothing un-usual going on in that game ( “Nothing to see here” ), then they would definitely want that game being seen so that fact would be reinforced. The only reason to pull that game is because it clearly seems to support the fact that the Saints had obviously hung a target on Favre.

  59. By Voice of Reason on Mar 6, 2012 | Reply

    Darren,

    You and I have disagreed on points in the past and have had healthy intellectual debates, but I could not support your last post more. Well done.

  60. By Mike in Mesa on Mar 6, 2012 | Reply

    cissyissy and all the rest of you who want to act like the Cardinals are so righteous. The Cardinals have had their share of cheap shots. I remember a couple of years ago in a Seahawks game that I think it was Dockett, who after tackling Matt Hasselback got up using his forearm across Hasselbacks throat. Hasselback was flopping around and I thought sure his larynx was crushed. After he got up he complained to the ref who did nothing. I thought the Cardinal player should have been thrown out of the game. He was intentionally trying to hurt the qb. NFL looks the other way on some of this stuff. Remember in the Super Bowl when Harrison was beating on the back of a Cardinal player. The announcers were commenting on how he should be tossed. I think no penalties were called there either.

  61. By Born n Bred on Mar 6, 2012 | Reply

    The way i see, is that a Defence or a Defensive player is out there to tackle and put a hurtin as they say.. Now these guys were payed to do what they do… PUT a HURTIN.. Not an injury.. there is a fine line… Players out there no where it is.. these guys were not stomping on a QBs arm like a Suh (OLman)..

    Whats the Difference with colleges or even highschools giving out pride stickers for big plays and big hits.. Now at my highschool we only got stickers for Speacial teams plays.. but i have played at various levels with other guys that have shown me their HS helments with assorted stickers and some saying BIG HIT..

    If these guys needed money to get up for a game intesity wise.. well just shame on them for needing it and not already having it.. G.Williams should not have organized the whole thing.. He was wrong.. But if between players wanted to go between eachother, i see nothing wrong but a league getting softer and softer.. this was not spygate that was horrible..

  62. By Syd Gaffney on Mar 6, 2012 | Reply

    There is no place in ANY aport for the kind of things that have been reported lately. For PETE SAKE it is a game people. A spectator sport. Yes a very rough sport. But to go out and try to Hurt someone is down right CRIMINAL and has no place in sports PERIOD. Any one doing this should be thrown out of the game FOREVER.

  63. By David in Versailles on Mar 6, 2012 | Reply

    It would be terrible if a certain “Saint”player would get knocked out for the whole season by a Cardinal during the “Hall of Fame”game!!!!!!!!!!

  64. By Eric on Mar 8, 2012 | Reply

    Somebody in the Saints Org must have pissed off daddy NFL, and/or this is one more excuse to impliment some more ridiculous rules that have consistent interpretation. This stuff has happened since the beginning of the game, and WILL, in some form, continue. This is clearly political, because why else would it suddenly be worthy of this serious of an investigation? Unfortunately the Saints have been caught in the cross hairs of an agenda clearly aimed at something much bigger. I’m not saying its pleasant, but it is an aspect of the culture of this game, and some people just don’t get it, something the league counts on. If you are an old school football fan, or even some new fans to the game, EVERYBODY loves, and wants more of the big hits. Its the same reason people watch auto racing and bull riding. The thrill of the wreck, the ooooh factor. There has been a movement in recent years by the NFL to “clean up” the game, and “make it safer for the players”, and while I agree with certain aspects of it, most of the new rules take away from the integrity of the game, and the intrepritation of these rules, as unconsistant as they are, have an unsavory determination on the outcome of many games, and take many players best and most exciting attributes and make them moot. Its in the same genre of people who say our Constitution is a “dated” document, when in reality, that is EXACTLY what makes it so beautiful and sacred. Perhaps with bigger, stronger, faster players, and a desire to keep everyone from “uneccessary” injuries, some aspects of it are legitimate, however, it is taking the most exciting aspect of our beloved game away. Just ask A Dub. The violence of the game is what makes it so dam incredible. Is the Pro Bowl not just ridiculous and a complete joke with the lack of any effort to hit and play hard? Of course it is. So, NFL, if you don’t think serious fans can’t see your ridiculous investigation as nothing more than one more attempt to impliment rules that will completely nueter this game, or levy some type of punishmentment against someone that dared to dissagree with you, your making a bugger fool out of yourself than you already have with all this nonsense.

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