It sounds like a plot in a movie, but the recent “BountyGate” is indeed real in the NFL.
It came out Friday that the New Orleans Saints‘ defense paid players for taking out opposing players. The bounty system in place reportedly paid players $1,500 for knocking an opponent out of the game and $1,000 for having an opponent carted off the field. Those pay-outs increased during the playoffs.
Somewhere between 22-27 players were involved in the system that was implemented by then defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Williams now holds the same position with the St. Louis Rams. Shortly after news broke of the Saints bounty system, it was revealed that Williams did the same thing when he was with the Washington Redskins.
“It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it,” Williams said in a statement. “Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it.” – Gregg Williams (Denver Post)
Apparently the bounty system is not all that uncommon.
“This bounty-program happens all around the league…not surprising.” – Damien Woody (former NFL lineman and current ESPN analyst.
Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis knew of the system, but did nothing to stop it.
In a time when the league is trying to improve player safety by changing the rules of the game and giving fines for the slightest infraction, these revelations are a huge blow to the league.
I wonder who blew up the Saints’ spot?
This will likely put a giant asterisk on the Saints Super Bowl win.