Turns out those accusations actually have some merit.
Apparently, former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams placed a bounty on injuring opponents while he was with the team.
According to Schefter, the NFL's investigation began in 2010 when allegations were made that the Saints were targeting quarterbacks such as Brett Favre and Kurt Warner. The Saints reportedly face fines, suspensions and forfeiture of draft choices.
After the news broke on Friday, Saints owner Tom Benson released a statement, per the Times-Picayune:
"I have been made aware of the NFL's findings relative to the "Bounty Rule" and how it relates to our club. I have offered and the NFL has received our full cooperation in their investigation. While the findings may be troubling, we look forward to putting this behind us and winning more championships in the future for our fans."
Williams himself would eventually speak on the matter, apologizing for his actions and taking full responsibility.
Via Pro Football Talk:
I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the ‘pay for performance’ program while I was with the Saints. It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.
It just so happens that right after Williams was busted on Friday, the Washington Post reported that the Washington Redskins also had a bounty on injuring opponents while Williams was with the team from 2004 to 2007.
Williams was with the Saints from 2009 to 2011. In December 2011, Tennessee Titans receiver Nate Washington accused Saints safety Roman Harper of being a dirty player after Harper prevented Damian Williams from scoring by pulling his face mask.
Washington said, via TitanInsider, "Honestly, he's a dirty player. We watched film on him, he's dirty. And I don't appreciate it, I'm going to step out in public and say it: He's dirty."
A week later, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who was coming off a high ankle sprain that caused him to miss three weeks, said Saints cornerback Jabari Greer twisted his ankle while he was at the bottom of the pile in Week 15.
Are you surprised by this news?
Peterson said, via the Times-Picayune:
I came into the game kind of expecting that coming back from a high ankle sprain. Guys are going to try to take their shots when we're on the pile and try to twist it up and things like that.
I felt like it kind of got overboard. I got up and kind of got in his face. Thank God I was able to keep my composure.
There's being dirty and then there's being dirty. All signs point to the latter for the Saints.
Follow me on Twitter. We can talk about dirty NFL teams.