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NFL has looked into other bounty allegations, found no evidence

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

Those who think the NFL was excessive in its punishments in the Saints’ bounty scandal often say that the Saints are being made scapegoats for practices that are commonplace in football. But the league office doesn’t see it that way.

In fact, league counsel Jeff Pash told Peter King of SI.com that the NFL has no evidence of other teams violating the rules against bounties.

“If we found evidence of the same clarity that we found in the New Orleans case, we would take action,” Pash said. “We have looked into some allegations. But as you know, allegations and accusations are not proof.”

Technically, the Saints aren’t the first team to violate the bounty rules: The 2007 Packers were found to be violating the rules when some players gave $500 to defensive linemen after holding Adrian Peterson under 100 yards in a win over the Vikings. But what makes the Saints’ case exceptional isn’t the mere existence of a technical violation of the pay-for-performance rules. What makes the Saints’ case exceptional is that the team flagrantly violated the rules for years, that there were specific opponents targeted for “knockouts” and “cart-offs,” and that when the league office approached the Saints, not only did team officials not put a stop to it, but they lied to league investigators and kept the bounties going.

It’s possible that some of those other allegations the NFL has looked into had some merit. But it’s hard to believe that any team had a bounty program that went as far as what Gregg Williams had with the Saints. And after seeing how hard the NFL came down on Williams and Sean Payton for lying, it’s even harder to believe that any other coach will lie to league investigators if the NFL continues looking at evidence of other bounty violations.

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35 Responses to “NFL has looked into other bounty allegations, found no evidence”
  1. franktherat96 says: Mar 26, 2012 9:19 AM

    bull****. whatever makes them feel better.

  2. nathanbetz91 says: Mar 26, 2012 9:19 AM

    Well since these investigations are becoming common, could we please take a look at the Pittsburgh steelers? Especially the 2010-2011 team? For those who don’t remember, the team with a,reverse bounty system, james Harrison paying Roger goodel for hurting people.

  3. jenniferxxx says: Mar 26, 2012 9:23 AM

    So I guess everybody else really isn’t doing it.

  4. sf944 says: Mar 26, 2012 9:23 AM

    What makes the Saints’ case EXCEPTIONAL is that the team flagrantly violated the rules for years, that there were specific opponents targeted for “knockouts” and “cart-offs,” and that when the league office approached the Saints, not only did team officials not put a stop to it, but they lied to league investigators and kept the bounties going.
    ————————————
    “Look, NINE former Redskins — including two on the record — told The Post earlier this month there was a pay-for-performance system when Williams coached in Washington from 2004-2007, one that included extra money for “kill shots.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/new-orleans-saints-deserved-punishment-for-bounty-system-but-roger-goodell-and-nfl-havent-gone-far-enough/2012/03/21/gIQAn2bgSS_story.html

  5. tribeallica says: Mar 26, 2012 9:23 AM

    I doubt they were looking too hard.

  6. rockstart42 says: Mar 26, 2012 9:24 AM

    500 to hold AP to under 100 yards is also VERY against the rule also. The rule basically is against any and all office pools. So they are guilty of violating the rule as well.

  7. clintonportisheadd says: Mar 26, 2012 9:25 AM

    Cue the whining from the Saints fans in 3…2…1….

  8. timbuttrum says: Mar 26, 2012 9:26 AM

    Since when does Czar Goodell need evidence for anything? He’s shown time and time again that he makes the rules up as he goes along.

  9. demoderbydoug says: Mar 26, 2012 9:28 AM

    Anyone that says Steelers don’t use bounties are either Steeler fans or never watched football before. Just look at the 2005 hit on Carson Palmer in the Wild Card game.

  10. sdisme says: Mar 26, 2012 9:28 AM

    Of course Al Harris took out Peterson’s knee in the above mentioned game in 2007.

  11. winningisabrees says: Mar 26, 2012 9:30 AM

    Dead Horse Beaten

  12. vikesfansteve says: Mar 26, 2012 9:30 AM

    To remind you in that game in 07, it was a week after AP set the record for 296 yds in a game and in the 3rd Qt Al Harris purposefully dove into Petersons knee. Lucky that wasn’t a career ender. Al Harris did it on purpose. Just like Dejon Gomes of the skins dove right into his knee.

  13. xxwhodatxx says: Mar 26, 2012 9:33 AM

    Figures, this is the same people who couldn’t find anything until someone ratted. So unless another rat comes forward I’m sure they’ll never find a thing.

  14. abr173rd says: Mar 26, 2012 10:15 AM

    Jesus , the reporting from you guys is out of control. I guess real Journalism is dead. Why don’t you go and do a REAL investigation into how common these bounty systems are. Goodell didn’t spend three years investigating any other NFL team. And lets not forget he’s employed by the owners…. Do you think half of the owners would put up with Goodell doing real investigations and handing down the same punishment everyone? Or the Black eye it would cause the league? This is a business I highly doubt there were any other investigations with the amount of time spent on the Saints.

  15. easyeddie says: Mar 26, 2012 10:20 AM

    Steelers and Saints fans seem to be the primary conspiracy theorists on this topic.

  16. godofwine330 says: Mar 26, 2012 10:26 AM

    Or maybe it is that other players on other teams believe a little bit more in Omerta even after they leave their teams. I believe that there may not be many teams using a bounty as in “Buddy Ryan’s Eagles vs Luis Zendejas”, but many may be using the big play money pot. Unfortunately for those players that is going to have to stop. No more tax free income.

  17. sudz28 says: Mar 26, 2012 10:37 AM

    @demoderbydoug

    Right, because nothing screams “evidence of a massive coverup” like a single hit by a single player (that wasn’t even flagged if I remember correctly but I could be wrong) over 7 years ago.

    Way to make a case!

    Heck, even the Bengals players were saying after the game that it wasn’t a dirty or bad hit, that Kimo “doesn’t play that way”. And they should know since he was their teammate from 1994-1999.

  18. jonny42671 says: Mar 26, 2012 10:57 AM

    Packers and Saints are constantly crying and the NFL has been giving them calls for years. Just look at the Packers vs Giants Championship game. How embarrassing as a Packer fan, not only did the Giants destroy you, the Refs did everything they could to keep you in the game. We all seen what the Refs did for the Saints against the Vikings. 2 cheating teams!!!

  19. 6ball says: Mar 26, 2012 10:58 AM

    .

    As usual the Patriots get away scott free. I read something online that said Belichick actually “administered ” the Saints bounty program while filming all closed practices for all 32 teams.

    It was on the internet, so it must be true. Right ?

    .

  20. conormacleod says: Mar 26, 2012 11:00 AM

    But…but…but…it’s not fair! Other people were violating the rules too! I know it because…well, I just know it! Lol. Shut up Saints fans. You got caught with your hand in the cookie jar. Take your punishment. If you don’t like it, sue Williams and Payton. You cheated and got a Lambardy Trophy. Be happy.

  21. gb4mn0 says: Mar 26, 2012 11:04 AM

    vikesfansteve says:
    Mar 26, 2012 9:30 AM
    To remind you in that game in 07, it was a week after AP set the record for 296 yds in a game and in the 3rd Qt Al Harris purposefully dove into Petersons knee. Lucky that wasn’t a career ender. Al Harris did it on purpose. Just like Dejon Gomes of the skins dove right into his knee.

    ——————————————-

    We’re beginning to understand why MN is called the land of 10,000 lakes. The water has to go somewhere with all you cry baby whiners.

  22. bray72 says: Mar 26, 2012 11:05 AM

    @
    demoderbydoug says:
    Mar 26, 2012 9:28 AM

    Anyone that says Steelers don’t use bounties are either Steeler fans or never watched football before. Just look at the 2005 hit on Carson Palmer in the Wild Card game.

    _________________________________

    Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I bet you have not actually watched that play again. Otherwise you would notice the disgust and anguish on Kemo’s face when he realized Palmer was hurt. And Kemo was a standup player who played for the Bengals and had many friends there.

    His reaction was opposite of the Raven’s jubilation and celebration when Ray broke Mendenhall’s shoulder.

    Please make sure maybe your dislike of the Steeler success does not get in the way of rational thinking.

    And did you see any celebrating when Hines laid out a few with borderline, but hard hits? I don’t think so. Those incidents do NOT support your Steeler bounty comment.

  23. eyeh8goodell says: Mar 26, 2012 11:16 AM

    How convenient for the NFL. No rational person who’s watched football for more than at least 2-3 decades believes what the NFL is pushing, but whatever. Those of us that have been watching for even longer just shake our heads and roll our eyes at the NFL’s obvious dishonesty.

  24. sf944 says: Mar 26, 2012 11:16 AM

    “I specifically considered whether to impose a suspension on Coach Belichick, I have determined not to do so, largely because I believe that the discipline I am imposing of a maximum fine and forfeiture of a first-round draft choice…is in fact more significant and long-lasting, and therefore more effective, than a suspension.”

  25. thraiderskin says: Mar 26, 2012 11:16 AM

    I think they are looking for hard evidence… Even witness testimony isn’t enough, the NFL probably was looking for e-mails records, actual signs of money transfers. I’m not saying that it didn’t happen at William’s other stops or isn’t prevalent in the other teams. There are some major differences here, first being the fact the Saints got caught lieing to the NFL after the first investigation. Second, there was a detailed system that was orchestrated by a major coach on the team. Third, the system was so prevalent, not only was the HC aware, he was being offered money from outside sources for it. Finally, even after surviving the first investigation, the Saints continued on with the program like they were untouchable (probably the biggest thing that irked the commish). It wasn’t about the action, It was the arrogance/stupidity, you decide which.

  26. mmmpierogi says: Mar 26, 2012 11:20 AM

    demoderbydoug says: Mar 26, 2012 9:28 AM

    Anyone that says Steelers don’t use bounties are either Steeler fans or never watched football before. Just look at the 2005 hit on Carson Palmer in the Wild Card game.

    ***********************************************************************

    I’ve seen the video a million times; I watched the game in 2005, and have watched the play on youtube since. Bengals’ (then Browns) OG Eric Steinbach deflected/threw Steelers’ von Oelhoffen into Palmer’s leg; von Oelhoffen finishes the play by grabbing Palmer’s leg and bringing him down (and it’s clear that von Oelhoffen could have been a lot more aggressive in in hitting Palmer than he actually was). If anyone was to blame on that, it was Steinbach for being either lazy, sloppy, or simply not paying attention.

    Follow your own advice and actually watch football before you simply repeat things that other people on the Internet say because you want to believe them – it really doesn’t take that much effort to think for yourself.

  27. gb4mn0 says: Mar 26, 2012 11:26 AM

    jonny42671 says:
    Mar 26, 2012 10:57 AM
    Packers and Saints are constantly crying and the NFL has been giving them calls for years. Just look at the Packers vs Giants Championship game. How embarrassing as a Packer fan, not only did the Giants destroy you, the Refs did everything they could to keep you in the game. We all seen what the Refs did for the Saints against the Vikings. 2 cheating teams!!!

    ———————————————

    You think we’re embarrassed only because you want to believe that. Our team just collected their 4th Lombardi the season before. We are the smallest market team and that year had the 3rd lowest payroll in the league.

    Your piteous team on the other hand has gone 9-23 in the previous 2 seasons and have the 3rd highest payroll. Now that’s embarrassing on several levels. And even more embarrassing is your team’s management is trying to rebuild by using the same tactics of the Packers and TT. Now that should be extremely embarrassing. That’s like a tacit admission that we are smarter than you. Everyone knows we are.

  28. patpatriot7 says: Mar 26, 2012 11:33 AM

    The Patriots SHOULD get off “Scott free” on this one. Our defense are terrible tacklers and, when they do, only Patrick Chung is labeled a hard hitter. Check all the film you want!

  29. prrebel says: Mar 26, 2012 11:40 AM

    I guess all the players that have come forward and say it’s been happening for years are liars too!!

  30. SeenThisB4 says: Mar 26, 2012 11:51 AM

    What the NFL needs is a snitch in every team headquarters.

    When the NFL investigated the “allegations” in 2010 of a Saints bounty system, they came away with ZIP. This time, they had a snitch that brought them the evidence on a silver platter.

    So, to say they are “looking” into other allegations is a deception on their part.

    They couldn’t care less about player safety and health; if they were, they wouldn’t be pushing for an 18 game schedule. Hypocrites.

  31. cgalaxy says: Mar 26, 2012 12:01 PM

    Correction to the title of this article: Pash said they didn’t find evidence “of the same clarity” that they saw in the New Orleans case, not that they found no evidence. The content of the article conflicts with the article’s title. C’mon, guys!

  32. kungfubillysims says: Mar 26, 2012 12:53 PM

    so why do you delete every comment i make on this post? What have i done or said that violates your rules? if you want people to read your site maybe you should stop deleting people’s posts for absolutely no reason.

  33. mn62980 says: Mar 26, 2012 1:26 PM

    Just like they “looked into” the Saints bounty program in 2010. 3 years later they find something, yet now we’re supposed to believe they conducted a thorough search of 31 other teams in 2 weeks. Gimme a break. They Saints deserve their punishment for being stupid, but I refuse to believe that they were the only ones actually doing this.

  34. jackntorres says: Mar 26, 2012 2:49 PM

    kungfubillysims says: Mar 26, 2012 12:53 PM

    so why do you delete every comment i make on this post? What have i done or said that violates your rules? if you want people to read your site maybe you should stop deleting people’s posts for absolutely no reason.
    —–

    I think the word you are looking for is astroturfing. And they are extremely culpable.

  35. dd393 says: Mar 26, 2012 8:23 PM

    jonny42671 says: Mar 26, 2012 10:57 AM

    Packers and Saints are constantly crying and the NFL has been giving them calls for years. Just look at the Packers vs Giants Championship game. How embarrassing as a Packer fan, not only did the Giants destroy you, the Refs did everything they could to keep you in the game. We all seen what the Refs did for the Saints against the Vikings. 2 cheating teams!!!

    ———————————————–

    Yeah, the refs were flown in via black helicopters flown by pilots wearing light blue helmets.

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