News broke today that the National Football League conducted an investigation on the New Orleans Saints and found them guilty of using a “bounty program” for the past three years. Since 2009, the year the Saints won the Superbowl, between 22-27 defensive players were involved with this bounty program.
The investigation stated that players received $1,500 for a game ending injury to an opposing player and $1,000 to get an opposing player carted off the field. The bounty program reached its’ peak in 2009 when the pool totaled over $50,000. Also, the rewards were doubled and sometimes even tripled during the playoffs. The pool was administered by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams with the knowledge of head coach, Sean Payton.
The NFL also said that Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered a $10,000 reward to any defensive player that knocked out Brett Farve in the 2009 NFC Championship game. And rewards were similar to knock out Kurt Warner in a previous game that season.
Chicago Bears wide receiver, Earl Bennett was knocked out of the Bears match up versus the Saints in Week 2 last season. Bennett told ESPNChicago.com Friday that “The game of football is a contact sport, so if they’re gunning for me, I’m going to be gunning for them.”
So how should the NFL punish the Saints? Here is my opinion.
I think that the NFL should fine Williams at least $500,000 and head coach Sean Payton anywhere between $750,00 to $1,000,000. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for the spy gate scandal. But this case is much more serious since it involves players health. Also, any players, coaches, or front office members that are found to be a participation or had knowledge in the program should be fined between $100,000-$200,000.
Next, the Saints should lose first round draft picks for the next two years. The Patriots lost a first round pick so I think the Saints should lose two first round draft picks or one first round draft pick as well as a second and/or third round pick.
Head coach Sean Payton should be suspended for at least the first two games of next season and Gregg Williams should be suspended for at least half of the season. Any players who were involved should also receive a suspension of some sort.
Finally, Goodell should really make a statement to the whole league by denying the Saints of making playoffs for the 2012 season. Yes it sounds very harsh but think about the situation. Coaches paid players to injure the opponent and players accepted money and intentionally tried to knock players out. Isn’t that a crime?