Gregg Williams & the New Orleans Saints: Hunted by Roger Goodell

Derek CrouseContributor IIIMarch 7, 2012

The Saints have to wonder what is next for the franchise.
The Saints have to wonder what is next for the franchise.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints have opened the floodgates for the NFL to crash on their bounty-hunting program that took place in the 2009-2011 seasons.

We should take a deep breath and think what this means for the coaches and players involved.

The league is considering what the punishment will be, whether that is fines, suspensions, and vacated draft picks. The way the bounty system was run is why it is such a big story.

With all the recent moves to prevent injuries from concussions to illegal hits, the Saints will be taking a hit legally from Roger Goodell. He has tried to eliminate major injuries since he became the commissioner.

The issue is all about player safety, so you know that the penalties will be hefty.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, currently the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, has already admitted to knowing about it, as well as participating in the scheme.

The pool’s funds could have totaled as much as $50,000 during the 2009 playoffs. Players were paid $1,500 for a "knockout" and $1,000 for a "cart-off," with payments raised during the postseason.

Many are looking back to the hits that Kurt Warner, Brett Farve, and Jay Cutler took, saying the catalyst was the bounty program.

Jonathan Vilma was reported to put a $10,000 bounty to “take out” Farve. Brett was quoted as saying, “Now the truth comes out. That’s good, but that’s football.” Kurt Warner took his last hit against the Saints, which left him motionless.

Will the backlash hurt the positive image of the Saints?
Will the backlash hurt the positive image of the Saints?Doug Benc/Getty Images

The Saints' bounty could have caused Warner’s early retirement.

Coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis are taking full responsibility for the serious violations that occurred.

Saints owner Tom Benson told Loomis to clean this mess up in the past, but he didn’t intervene. It would seem that any coach who thought the players’ actions were serious would have stopped them immediately.

Letting it go on for multiple seasons really doesn’t show the integrity that the Saints have tried to represent since they reopened the Superdome in New Orleans.

When a coach is passing out envelopes like Williams did, the controversy reached a whole new level.  

Many players around the league are on the side of the players involved. One thing that everybody really wants to know is who was the match that got the fire burning.

It’s one thing to have rumors about locker-room activities, but the details that are already being reported calls for a person to be locked in an interrogation room.

Once one domino falls, it escalates to other teams and players being targeted. You can count on other teams being under attack from the league, as more players and coaches have the whistle blown on them.

This can be a nightmare for the NFL. While some fans say, “It's part of the game,” you have to realize it’s like speeding. Speeding happens, but when you are reprimanded over and over but still keep speeding, you will be punished accordingly.