ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter has reported via his Twitter account that former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams ran a bounty program.
“NFL security determined between 22 and 27 defensive players on the Saints, as well as at least one asst. coach, maintained a bounty program.”
This is huge news, and according to Schefter the Saints will be held liable, and could face fines, suspensions and forfeiture of draft choices.
“Investigation reviewed 18.000 documents totaling more than 50,000 pages. Commissioner Goodell will determine the discipline.”
Apparently the investigation began two years ago, when the Saints were alleged to have targeted QBs Brett Favre and Kurt Warner.
Here is an excerpt from Schefter’s article on ESPN.com.
The investigation by the league’s security department determined that an 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.
Another excerpt from the article explains how the bounty was funded, and what the players were rewarded for.
According to the investigation, 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.
The most infamous of bounties came from Philadelphia Eagles coach Buddy Ryan, who allegedly awarded players $100-200 in exchange for hits on Dallas Cowboys kicker Luis Zendejas.
The situation made for an intense rematch two weeks later, when Eagles fans pelted everyone in site with beer, snowballs, etc.
Bounties are a dangerous game, and hopefully this doesn’t go on more often than we know of. There are enough injuries in this violent game as it is.