Big news from the commish's office today, as Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for a full season for his role in Gregg Williams' bounty program. Williams, who is currently the Rams defensive coordinator, has been suspended indefinitely. The Saints general manager and assistant coach were also suspended for 8 and 6 games, respectively. The Saints organization was fined $500,000 and will lose 2nd round draft picks this year and next year.
I think this is the type of punishment the league had to dole out. They need to show they are serious about preventing injuries, so when you've got a program that has admitted to paying players to try to injure opponents, you've got to punish everyone involved. The payments are also a direct violation of league rules regarding salary bonuses.
Player punishments have yet to be decided by the league.
Wow, have to say I am a little surprised about the severity...but it had to be be done! The NFL has to stop this now!!!
I think we fans are tired of seeing many of the best players in the NFL knocked out for the rest of the season by a questionable hard hit. Every star player is just one knee injury away from ending his career on every play.
Payton & Williams were suspended for having an injury bonus but most, if not all teams, reward players for hard hits.
Also, the term "clean hit" is often used for legal but vicious hits which leave a player just as injured. Week after week players go down after "clean hits."
I hope this will lead to some changes which will allow QBs, RBs and WRs to regularly play for the entire season.
I think this opened a lot of eyes to how things really work in the NFL. The 2009 NFC Championship Game against the Vikings was probably the most damning piece of evidence. The bounty system was clearly in place during that game, and time after time Saints players were hitting Favre late, even on handoffs. By the second quarter, Favre was running backwards 10 yards after handing the ball off just to get away from any cheap late hits. That game has been reviewed extensively by the league, and I'm willing to bet we'll see a lot more flags for late hits on quarterbacks next season, especially when they are hit on running plays. Refs will probably be told not to assume a defender thought the QB still had the ball, as it seems that was the thinking in the past.
This is certainly not the last we'll hear about the bounty system. I predict the player punishments (along with the loss of their coach) will be severe enough to have an impact on the Saints playoff hopes next season.
Bottom line this is what happens when egos run amok . Payton numero uno and Williams right behind him. .. there is something to be said about humility before honor.
This is football not a sock hop.
Certainly there should not be a bounty paid for a premeditated hit with the intent to injure. No doubt.
I heard Bill Polian (former GM of the Indianapolis Colts) talking about the situation and he said (I'm paraphrasing) that for the past four years the league has communicated twice a year about the bounty prohibition. It has been made crystal clear what the rules are. Posters are sent to each team to be affixed to locker room walls. So this not something that just came up.
Also I heard that Payton was asked by league officials about the bounty program and knowingly lied (according to evidence gathered by the league).
Am I the only one who thinks Sean Payton may never coach the Saints again?
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