Seahawks Insider

NFL comes down hard on Saints, Gregg Williams

Post by Eric Williams on March 21, 2012 at 10:26 am with 46 Comments »
March 21, 2012 10:26 am
In this Sept. 26, 2010, file photo, Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams looks on during an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Williams, the former Saints defensive coordinator, apologized for running a bounty program that targeted opposing players for injuries. In a statement, he says the program was a "terrible mistake and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it." The NFL on Friday said that it had found between 22 and 27 Saints participated in the program over the last three seasons, and that players including quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Brett Favre were targeted. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Once again, NFL Roger Goodell shows he’s the boss in today’s decision on discipline for the people involved in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.

According to, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Peyton has been suspended a year without pay. New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis has been suspended eight games, and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely, with his suspension up for review at the end of the year.

Also, the Saints have been fined $500,000 and will have to give up the team’s second-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 NFL Drafts.

New Orleans Saints defensive assistant head coach Joe Vitt has been suspended six games without pay.

Heavy-handed? I would say it’s a bit on the strong side, but once again Goodell has got the league’s attention that he will not put up with this type of behavior.

How do you feel about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's discipline for the Saints' bounty scandal?

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Leave a comment Comments → 46
  1. JazBadAzz says:

    Not only does Sean Peyton not get to coach but he loses 8mil in salary…ouch!

  2. Yeah, that is a steep price. A bit too steep IMO.

    Goodell is certainly making an example out of New Orleans.

  3. Not only did they do it early on, but when asked by the league they denied it and even kept doing it. Doesn’t get any worse than that.

  4. Dukeshire says:

    I’ll give Goodell credit; this took guts. And hopefully, will discourage Hawthorne from signing with them after all this turmoil.

  5. RDPoulsbo says:

    I think a harsh punishment is the right call. pab is right, not only do bounties for causing injuries cross a lot of lines, the cover-up to continue the bounties makes it that much worse.

    Money for big hits isn’t as big a deal, but being run by management when it’s explicitly against the rules in the CBA, then intent to injure is takes it to a whole other level the requires a sledgehammer to come down on them.

  6. psoundpowerhouse says:

    I was pretty close. I really think Loomis should have been suspended for a year as well. He and Payton knew and incouraged this program.
    I’m amazed that all these talking heads thought there would be four game suspensions, etc.
    The Saints better not tank this season and get rewarded with the #1 pick in next years draft!
    I’ll be pi@#!*

  7. They went on to say that any other team(s)will be reviewed if they were doing it as well. Have we heard the end of this?

  8. SeahawkFan12 says:

    Fair and balanced. To set a bounty on a player is to threaten his livelihood and perhaps the quality of his life for the rest of his days. Goodell’s punishment sent a claer message to the NFL and those who were in command and should have known better. This is the right call, in my opinion.

  9. RDPoulsbo says:

    Punishments for players involved are still to come. Hargrove still hasn’t seen the the hammer come down yet for taking out Favre in the playoff game.

  10. HeinieHunter says:

    Yet to hear….Penalties on individual players. I expect them to be harsh also and going back to 2009.

  11. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    Yeah this is wrong on a lot of levels. It’s also a way to backdoor compensation to players without hitting salary cap issues. I dont know what kind of cash incentives were offered because I haven’t read up, but it would be interesting to see how this would have impacted cap space for the saints.

  12. HeinieHunter says:

    Saints fans are probably suffering “Pearl Harbor Syndrome” our of nowhere their team and season is sunk and burning.

  13. RDPoulsbo says:

    Here’s the summary of the suspensions and findings. It’s pretty detailed on all of the violations. It’s pretty lengthy:

  14. psoundpowerhouse says:

    I can see it now. Saints get the #1 overall pick in next years draft.
    Trade with the Seahawks. Seattle gives the Saints three years worth of future draft picks and the Saints beat the system.
    If that happens I’m done with football
    I think I’m gonna be sick!

  15. “And hopefully, will discourage Hawthorne from signing with them after all this turmoil.”

    That, and Gregg Williams’ indefinite suspension, which will take him away from revamping the Rams D for at least a year. So, a couple side benefits for the Hawks out of this.

    And I agree w/the sentiment on here, it was a good time and place to make an example of them, football is plenty violent enough w/out these kind of things. No fan I know enjoys seeing guys carted off holding their knees.

  16. psoundpowerhouse says:

    Death Penalty for the Saints.
    Goodell should have taken their #1 pick in next years draft.
    So the Saints couldn’t flip this into their favor!

  17. I am a youth football coach. The idea of bounties and encouraging players to injure other players demonstrates a complete lack of sportsmanship. It makes me sick to think of it.

    If I ever worked with another coach who did this I would petition our league to expell him for life. There is no excuse for this behaviour.

  18. NYHawkFan says:

    Anyone who would defend coaches or players for encouraging one another to injure opposing players–and end careers in some cases–has no leg to stand on in my opinion (no pun intended). You’re right, Goodall is trying (and should) make an example of those who break the rules. What else is he suppose to do, look the other way and just forget it? They have all signed a contract, which usually includes a personal conduct clause. The Saints coaches and staff shamed the city and the NFL for what they did. Thus, they got what they deserved.

  19. JazBadAzz says:

    CHawkFanIn9erLand- the amount was chump change for them…maybe $1500-$5000. Vilma was noted to offer up to 10k at one point.

    The cover up was worst than the crime in this case!

  20. psoundpowerhouse says:

    Goodell better amend the sentence.
    let the Saints have next years 2nd rnd pick.
    Take their 1st rounder instead
    I can’t believe no ones talked about it.
    Look what the Rams did with their pick this year!

  21. ChrisHolmes says:

    Wow. That’s amazing.

    But I find myself in total agreement with it. I actually love Sean Payton and wanted him to be Seattle’s head coach when he was the hot assistant. I like the guy. But the bounties are wrong, and the cover-up and denials made it worse. The penalties seems justified. Hopefully, with this kind of punishment, this will never happen again.

    Good for Goodell. Had to be a hard thing to do. Glad he had the balls to do it.

  22. wabubba67 says:

    Is this (waiting for the punishments to come down on individual players) the main reason the Seahawks, or any other team, has not yet negotiated with Hargrove/Wilkerson?

  23. wabubba67 says:

    ChrisHolmes–Never doubt the size of Goodell’s balls…remember the scene from The Big Lebowski when John Turturo’s character “Jesus” and his partner were polishing their bowling balls? Seems pretty accurate for the comish.

  24. Couldn’t vote, but I think it is way to harsh, remember what Farve tweeted, and he got hurt from them. Not saying it’s right, but hey, it’s football. Did the Saints lead the league in personal fouls? I don’t think so. If it’s clean, then it’s clean. I don’t remember anyone saying or speculating that the Saints were playing dirty before all this came out.

  25. NYHawkFan says:

    Off topic– Today’s on-line version of the New York Post has reported that Paul Allen has donated $300 million to brain research.

  26. nidhighe says:

    When the commissioner warns you to stop doing something, don’t keep doing it. That’s why he threw the book at them.


  27. OK this is brutal – I think it is a little over the top but I don’t know all the details.

    I still think NE should have gotten something much closer to this with the filming (cheating) scandal – first round pick AND Bellicheat having to sit out games.

    I wish the NCAA would do that to repeat offending coaches! They leave go to another school and no penalties

  28. I think the suspensions were perfect. The only thing I’d change is that I would have let them keep their 2nd round picks, but instead make them give up their next #1 pick (which will be in 2013 since they had already traded this one away).

    I don’t have anything against the Saints, but the punishment seemed to fit the crime.

    Where I have a GIGANTIC beef with Goodell is that it’s a bunch of crap that Cole can end the season of Okung and not even get slapped in the wrist. That’s nothing. Heck, he’d get fined more if he wore his jersey the wrong way. To me, that is unacceptable. The punishment NEEDS to fit the crime. Yes. The Saints suspensions were justified, but did any of those bounties end up ending someones season? The Cole situation is BS at its very best.

  29. On one hand, I understand and can appreciate the discipline. I don’t think most fans enjoy seeing someone get seriously injured–me included.

    But on the other hand, some of you are acting like it’s a criminal act to use force in the game of football. People are trying to hurt other people–on every snap, in every game. Good and aggressive defenders get payed millions of dollars to try to hurt someone, whether it’s a pay-for-injury situation or not.

    I understand that the Commish is trying to make an example out of NO. But I also have a hard time believing that this wasn’t going on in many franchises, in one way or another. Fans like to see big, punishing hits. And as long as that’s the case, players and teams will continue to do it whether someone is paying them directly or indirectly for the service.

  30. ESPN’s “Jacked Up”, enough said.

  31. nidhighe says:

    There’s a difference between fans liking big hits, and a bounty program. And had the team stopped that program after Goodell warned them about it, they wouldn’t be in this situation.


  32. RDPoulsbo says:

    TruBlu: It’s one thing to have a big LEGAL hit. It’s quite another thing to have bounties to injure players. It doesn’t matter what Favre said or not, the reality is Hargrove did in fact end his season. It’s also been said by many players from different teams that over the past 4 or 5 years, New Orleans had a reputation of being a dirty team. Go back and read the findings. It’s long and it’s bad. Sando had a chart on his blog when this first came out that put the Saints in the top 5 in “dirty” penalties like unsportsmanlike conducts.

    As for “Jacked Up” they’ve stopped that a while ago, besides they made it a point to only show legal hits.

  33. NYHawkFan says:

    Cornett— Have you ever played football? I did for seven years. I feel sorry for anyone that believes the goal in football is to hurt people. Only sadists think that way. It’s a game, it’s about competition, it’s about camaraderie, it’s about winning. And no true football fan, player or otherwise, hopes that someone gets hurt, maimed, or crippled. I hope you feel the same.

  34. NYHawkFan says:

    My comment wasn’t intended to be a personal attack. It was aimed at your statement: “People are trying to hurt other people–on every snap, in every game. Good and aggressive defenders get payed millions of dollars to try to hurt someone.” Cheers.

  35. ryanryan says:

    well said NYfan

    we all know that the players association is actively fighting for benefits for players after their careers and is supposed to be looking out for the players’ interest. i wonder what kind of power they have to punish their own? i mean come on now – these players that bought into the bounty system and relished the idea are prime examples of former players’ arguments that they are being rode hard and hung up wet.

    sad really

  36. @ NY: Assuming you meant “Cornutt”…I didn’t take it as a personal attack, I just take it as a poor argument. Playing or not playing football has nothing to do with my position. I’ve been watching football for 25 years and have a pretty good sense of what happens during a game. If you think my lack of playing football lessens my credibility in judging this situation, I can’t really control that. But there are plenty of folks who havn’t played football that know the game pretty well.

    I think you’re kidding yourself if you think that at the pro level, there isn’t at least one person on both sides of the ball trying to hurt someone else. I’m not talking about breaking someones neck. But it is a violent game, where violence is rewarded. I stand by my original perspective, but have no problem with your disagreement either.

    @ Danielle: The bounty program led to big hits. The NFL makes money off big hits because fans like big hits. I recognize that they aren’t the same thing. What I was trying to convey was that there is a pretty blurred line between violence in the NFL and violence in the NFL because of bounty programs. And some contradictions. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

  37. With the NFL facing lawsuits over concussions…this will be just the beginning of the story!

  38. NYHawkFan says:

    Sorry, I meant Cornutt. What you said is true, you don’t have to had played football to enjoy the game. And I’m sure there are plenty of folks who know more about the game than me, without ever having played the game. But you got sidetracked from the discussion. No one was talking about who has greater knowledge of the game. We were talking about sports injuries. I assure you that if you had your knee blown out like I did playing football, it would change your perspective regarding players who try to hurt people. The guy who hit me heard my ligaments pop, so he knew what he’d done. But when I got up, he came up to me and apologized, so it obviously wasn’t intentional. So, yes, I would say that it lends credibility to my view because I’ve been on the receiving end. Holding a remote won’t put you on crutches. As to different players intentions, I’m not clairvoyant, so I can’t say. But it’s obvious from the Saints debacle that some idiots try to cause injury. In my view, they aren’t true football players, they’re thugs.

  39. The first guy caught always gets punished the hardest. Not fair, but not unexpected. The NFL owners love love love their investment in their QBs. No one is allowed to touch them.

    So now we have the Rams with no DC. he he he.

    Let’s see if we can get Jim Harbaugh suspended for something. ;-)

  40. IMO Cornutt is sadly mistaken. All players do not line up thinking they want to hurt someone on the play. Maybe a couple of deranged people but they are in every profession. A player wants to cover his assignment and make a play for loss or very little gain. Most athletes realize that if they don’t go full speed or try to injure someone they are most likely to get injured themselves. Cornutt may be for a player or two, but he categorized and IMO it’s just not true. Go Hawks!

  41. As a defender, it’s your job to blow plays up. You can’t half ass it. So, when you try to make a big play or a hard hit, chances are someone will get hurt, even if it’s clean, so whether anyone wants to beleive it or not, players are getting paid to hurt other players, staight up. I mean, should everyone try to start doing soft hits and arm tackles from now on, that doesn’t even make sense.

  42. @NY: Frankly, I don’t see how you getting hurt is in any way relevant to this descussion–unless perhaps you played at the NFL level. there are NFL players that would apologize after hurting another player and there are many more that wouldn’t.

    Aside from that rant, your post was pretty sensible.

    “But it’s obvious from the Saints debacle that some idiots try to cause injury. In my view, they aren’t true football players, they’re thugs.”

    The NFL has thugs. Have you noticed? That was my point in the first place. Anywho, if we agree to disagree that’s fine. Won’t be the first or last time in my life. ;)

    @JusJamn: If you’re going to form an argument, please do so without putting words in my mouth. I never said “all players.” And no, not all players are just covering their assignments, some (a fair few) are out there trying to punish other players.

  43. NYHawkFan says:

    Cornutt: How kind of you to call the parts of my post that you agree with “gracious” and call the parts you disagree with a “rant.” Hmmmm, interesting to say the least. I simply told an experience. I was not even close to speaking in a “violent, loud, or vehement manner.” (American Heritage Dictionary) The point I believe you missed is that my perspective on violence in the game of football is molded by experience, whereas your’s is molded by watching TV. Hardly the same. And your point about what level football I played at makes no sense. Would I really need to play at the NFL level for my football injury to be relevant? Is the surgery and six-month rehab I went through, and the arthritis I now suffer from in my left knee, somehow different from that of someone who played professionally? At any rate, as you said, let’s just agree to disagree and get back to talking Seahawk football. Cheers.

  44. I never said gracious. And you completely missed the entire point of my post in describing your injury–that’s whay I called it a rant.

    American Heritage Dictionary? You’re so far off topic it’s laughable. Literally.

    I’m done beating my head against a wall on this.

  45. NYHawkFan says:

    Cornutt: Our little disagreement is one of the things that makes reading this board interesting, so don’t worry about it. Glad you were able to get a laugh, and no extra charge for the English lesson. :-)

  46. Looks like the days of the aints are here again!!!

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