The NFL has completed an investigation into whether the New Orleans Saints maintained a bounty system that paid players cash bonuses for injuring members of the opposing team. The finding? Saints busted. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that between 22 and 27 Saints defensive players participated in the bounty program between 2009 and 2011. Schefter says former New Orleans DC Gregg Williams administered the program with “the knowledge of other defensive coaches” (but not head coach Sean Payton?). Newsday columnist Bob Glauber says the bounty program paid $1000 for a “cart-off” and $1500 for a “knock-out,” with those values increasing during the playoffs.
These accusations will come as no surprise to Viking fans who watched the Saints batter Brett Favre during the NFC Title Game after the 2009 season. And in fact, according to Glauber, the whole bounty investigation was launched as a result of the Saints’ obviously dirty tactics against Favre and Cardinals QB Kurt Warner. The Saints’ targeting of Favre’s ankle led to an injury that not only affected Favre’s mobility in that game, possibly preventing him from scrambling on the infamous across-the-body INT, but also bothered the QB all the way into the ill-fated 2010 season.
It will likely come as no consolation to Viking fans still seething with rage over that game, but the Saints will definitely be subject to severe disciplinary action as a result of this finding. That action could include fines, suspensions and forfeiture of draft choices according to Schefter. I’m normally against Roger Goodell’s hanging judge approach but in this case I hope he really goes all out. Who dat? Should be “Who dirty?”