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Williams audio likely dooms Saints appeals

former-new-orleans-saints-defensive-coordinator-gregg-williams-allegedly-orchestrated-a-bounty Getty Images

The disturbing, graphic comments from former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, which were made before the team’s division-round playoff loss to the 49ers, necessarily will become part of the soundtrack of the history of the NFL.  But there are more immediate implications that need to be addressed.

For starters, the appeals to be presented to Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday suddenly have become much more difficult for the folks seeking to have penalties reduced.

On Wednesday, as final preparations were being made for the efforts to soften the punishments meted out to coach Sean Payton, G.M. Mickey Loomis, assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt, and the team, there were indications from sources on the fringes of the situation of a sense of quiet confidence regarding a possible gap between the NFL’s conclusions and the evidence to support them.

As of Thursday morning, the glass is far more than half empty.

The bombshell disclosure of Williams’ comments, as chronicled by Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports and as posted via raw audio on the Internet, will as a practical matter make it extremely unlikely that any of the sanctions will be reduced.  In fact, it wouldn’t be completely shocking if Commissioner Roger Goodell decides to suspend the appeal hearing so that he can decide whether this new evidence should result in further investigation aimed at enhancing the penalties.

The fact that Williams was specifically instructing players on the targeting of heads and knees prior to the most recent game played by the Saints becomes even more troubling in light of the fact that the Saints knew at that time that the NFL once again was investigating the situation.

“Saints owner Tom Benson notified Mr. Loomis in January 2012 prior to the team’s participation in the playoffs that the league’s investigation had been reopened,” the league’s March 21 announcement of discipline states.  “Mr. Benson reiterated his position that a bounty program was unacceptable and instructed Mr. Loomis to ensure that if a bounty program existed at the Saints it would stop immediately. By his own admission, Mr. Loomis responded to this direction by making only cursory inquiries of Coaches Payton and Williams. He never issued instructions to end the bounty program to either the coaching staff or the players.”

And so Loomis, Payton, and Williams knew that the league was looking for evidence of bounties by the time the Saints were playing the 49ers in the NFC semifinals.

“In January 2012, prior to the Saints’ first playoff game of the 2011 season, Coach Payton was advised by Mr. Loomis that the league office had reopened the investigation,” the league said.  “Coach Payton made a cursory inquiry but took no action to ensure that any bounty program was discontinued.”

It speaks to a higher level of arrogance and/or recklessness than previously realized.  Before the release of the audio, it wasn’t clear whether the deliberate effort to inflict and induce injury continued into the 2011 playoffs.  It now is.

Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention the curious connection between the release of the audio and the commencement of the appeal hearings.  With questions recently being raised about the league’s extreme power in situations like this, with Goodell making the decision and then having ultimate authority over the appeal, the subject has now been changed to the Longest Yard-style candor that Williams displayed at a time when Williams and the rest of the organization knew the league was paying attention, and at a time when a filmmaker was in the room recording the things that Williams was saying.

Did the league know about the audio or have any role in engineering the timing of its release?  It’s a fair question, but it will never be asked, not with the Williams audio drawing so much attention and scrutiny.

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127 Responses to “Williams audio likely dooms Saints appeals”
  1. mojosmagic says: Apr 5, 2012 9:19 AM

    Williams should be out of the league forever and Payton should join him.

  2. fvckyourmother says: Apr 5, 2012 9:20 AM

    Gregg Williams is awesome and is my hero. He makes John Kreese look like a freaking Nancy boy.

    And to all you p#ssy’s saying this is wrong, you are what is wrong with this country. You are clogging up the gene pool with estrogen. This is America dammit, the goal is to win. The goal is to win at any cost. You want to be a sissy “we gave it out best” loser move to Europe.

  3. realnflmaster says: Apr 5, 2012 9:20 AM

    The JETS don’t need incentives to hurt people. We’re an angry, dangerous football team on our own motivated by all the jealous haters. Look out 2012. Here come the JETS babe!

  4. dldove77 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:20 AM

    Goodell would be justified in increasing punishment for all parties after hearing this audio.

  5. nolahxc says: Apr 5, 2012 9:20 AM

    I walked into a coworkers office this morning telling him how I had a good feeling about the appeal. He literally just turned on the audio of that recording.

    If my final four bracket was any indicator, anytime I have a good feeling about something, I’m usually totally wrong.

  6. xxwhodatxx says: Apr 5, 2012 9:21 AM

    Williams is an idiot.

  7. Max says: Apr 5, 2012 9:23 AM

    Damn! Did not know his locker room comments were this literal! He is done for life.

    Telling players to go after people’s head and ACL’s is not toughness nor does it require skill! Its malicious!

  8. winningisabrees says: Apr 5, 2012 9:23 AM

    Slow news day huh, You guys are still beating this dead horse. This isnt news. This is regeratation at its finest.

  9. ham1 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:24 AM

    Dead man walking

  10. saklr1 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:25 AM

    Let’s see the Louisiana Senate respond to this one..

  11. eagleswin says: Apr 5, 2012 9:25 AM

    My first thought is how could the Saints not know this audio evidence was out there?

    My second thought was that this couldn’t be timed better if the league had planned. Whether they did or didn’t things just got uglier for the Saints. If this audio was to be considered as new evidence I think that the league would be well within it’s rights in extending the punishments.

    I wonder if there are any other landmines that the defendents forgot about. At this point it might’ve been better to forgo the appeal.

  12. joetoronto says: Apr 5, 2012 9:26 AM

    Ya, I can’t see the appeal going anywhere.

    I’d up the suspension.

  13. buhbay1c says: Apr 5, 2012 9:26 AM

    Off with their heads! Payton, Loomis, Vitt, and Williams that is.

  14. themonster49 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:27 AM

    /scene Roger Goodell wakes up just before 5am, thinks about what his decision is regarding the appeal and how difficult they will take it when he tells them, he realizes this will be frustrating and he is going to be stressed over this all day. He picks up the phone, makes one call, hangs up the phone. He then pours himself a scotch as its now 5am and it’s 5 O’clock somewhere, and says ‘well now that that’s taken care of.’

  15. nyyjetsknicks says: Apr 5, 2012 9:28 AM

    Boom roasted!

  16. tndiver says: Apr 5, 2012 9:28 AM

    I don’t think it is acceptable to go out and try to hurt someone, but it is hypocritical of the league/NFL network to also show old interviews of past players that talk about some of the dirty/illegal acts they did as well and talk about knocking out WR & QB’s. It makes those players heroes for their teams and seems to embrace those actions.

    The problem is that despite the money, the defense wants to annihilate the opposing team and if they get hurt in the process, it happens. It is part of the game. If a defensive player starts to play apprehensive or reserved, they will not be playing long and lose their starting position.

  17. SeenThisB4 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:29 AM

    I didn’t hear an offer of money in this, so technically, it’s not a bounty.

    And Williams’ direction to inflict injury doesn’t seem to have been carried out on the field, at least not by Saints players, so it seems that the direction to injure was ignored.

  18. knowerofallthings says: Apr 5, 2012 9:29 AM

    Hitting hard is one thing. Talking about going after a guy’s ACL or hitting a recent concussion victim in the head – that’s not sportsman, that’s sick. Payton knew it was going on and also did nothing.

  19. saintsfan1111 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:30 AM

    Williams is the culprit here. Not Sean or Mickey.

  20. jerrykill4pres says: Apr 5, 2012 9:31 AM

    I think if you have Sean Payton and Williams take the “Wonderlic test”, their combined score would make Mo Claiborne look like a freaking rocket scientist!

    Only a bunch of true morons would continue this once they know they are being investigated AGAIN for it, and allow someone to have a film made with Williams talking like this.

    There are ways to fire up your team, inspire them to hit hard, but play the game right. Make your team play hard, and be PROUD to be a part of that team. Gosh, now when it comes out that 99% of the organization is lying on the matter, who is going to be proud to be in a group of liars, and scum bags like that?

  21. sundayisthebestday says: Apr 5, 2012 9:31 AM

    LOL…they were openly discussing these things with a camera in the room? What a bunch of morons. They deserve everything they got.

  22. wtfru2 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:31 AM

    I would hope Peyton and Loomis will cancel the appeal themselves to end any more embarrassment.

  23. castleofcheese says: Apr 5, 2012 9:33 AM

    He looks kind of like Will Ferrell in that picture.

  24. thedudesnotin says: Apr 5, 2012 9:33 AM

    Not sure if it’s still on, but this sounds like a new episode idea for Jesse Venturas Conspiracy Theory!

  25. unlimitedcriticism says: Apr 5, 2012 9:33 AM

    Does the timing truly matter here? Even if it was intentionally timed such that Goodell was covering his own ass, it’s not as though this audio doesn’t completely and totally justify the harshness of the penalties he brought down on New Orleans. It’s not a cover up if it’s the truth.

  26. bigjdve says: Apr 5, 2012 9:33 AM

    Well I guess Williams won’t be back in a year. Payton might be lucky if he gets back either after that.

  27. effedinLA says: Apr 5, 2012 9:34 AM

    I will root against the Saints from now on.

  28. iamthorny says: Apr 5, 2012 9:34 AM

    Don’t tell Warren Sapp that Shockey wasn’t in the room…

    FYI…the full audio has a hilarious dig on Detroit’s secondary.

  29. randomguy9999 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:35 AM

    again:

    1- they had a system in place for the purpose of intentionally assaulting the opposing players rather than outplaying them on the field.

    2- that is specifically in violation of the rules of the game

    3- one of the benefits of these long term rule violations was a super bowl win

    last time I checked, there’s a word for intentionally violating the rules:

    cheating

    they deserve more punishment than they got….. a lot more.

  30. TraderMD says: Apr 5, 2012 9:35 AM

    Williams never works as a coach again at the NFL level.

  31. bangreggwilliams says: Apr 5, 2012 9:35 AM

    Thankfully for Williams, stripes are slimming. He is going to be the belle of the ball in prison.

    Enjoy it you cheating/lying/injuring scum.

    Oh, and Payton, you keep pressing the matter, you’ll be sharing a cell with your buddy Williams.

  32. oliverioxerxes says: Apr 5, 2012 9:35 AM

    Leak the evidence the day of the hearing; classic totalitarianism.

  33. blacksaint213 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:36 AM

    Man to crap with this bull. This was put out today because of the appeals. I am a Saints fan and do believe its wrong for what Williams was doing. Keep this in mind we had a terriable defense and hurt no one. Funny no one say Suh from the Detroit Lions should be banned for a year. His actions was clearly out to hurt people. Yet its funny how everyone want to bring the hammer down when a team is winning at this point. Please save the non sense that the Saints was not good in the past crap. Greg should be banned for good because of how it was said. This goes on in almost all locker rooms. I wish they pull the audio from games in the 80’s or 90’s not just the saints.

  34. pjhurley5 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:36 AM

    You hit this on the head, Mike. Fantastic article. I, personally, think additional punishment should be handed out…certainly including Gregg Williams being banned for life from coaching football at all levels.

    Unacceptable on so many levels.

  35. abninf says: Apr 5, 2012 9:36 AM

    Who Dat!

  36. gotampabay52 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:36 AM

    Double the fines they knew what they were doing oh and brees u had to be in the lockerroom when the speech was being made fine him for lying move the team to LA save the other cities new orleans dosen’t deserve a team

  37. steelernationsparksjealousy says: Apr 5, 2012 9:36 AM

    Lolz

  38. breadslicer says: Apr 5, 2012 9:37 AM

    Drew Brees demands an explanation.

  39. mp42245 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:37 AM

    Williams was going “rogue”. The audio should sink his efforts for reinstatement, but shouldn’t affect the hearings today.

  40. prrbrr says: Apr 5, 2012 9:38 AM

    Kill the head…Sean Payton, life long ban! Strip the lying saints of a number of 1st round picks.

  41. bedmanokc says: Apr 5, 2012 9:38 AM

    That should shut up everyone who said ” Greg Williams is taking his punishment, like a man”. Now we know exactly WHY he has not said anything except that he accepts the punishment.

    Now Saints fans should shut their traps.

  42. scrapingthefloorioforstorios says: Apr 5, 2012 9:39 AM

    but everyone says these things it’s just the saints that got caught….

  43. larryfinfan says: Apr 5, 2012 9:40 AM

    And this could be fuel for the NFLPA to insist that the bounty program was instigated by the staff and that the players were “following instructions” by the staff… This could be used as a defense to reduce or eliminate player fines/suspensions as well. Nice work, Mr. Smith…don’t fix and stop the problem, just mitigate your troops as if they had nothing to do with it…

    Really, if the players use this type of defense and get away with less or no punishment, what’s to stop them from doing this on their own (without knowledge of the staff) ?? There’s no incentive if they don’t also get punished for recklessly trying to maim and injury versus playing the game hard and fair…

  44. eaglebobby says: Apr 5, 2012 9:40 AM

    So, WHERE ARE all of these Saints fans and lawmakers at? Is it apparent to you NOW that they knew what they were doing? I hope the commish throws the book at them now.

  45. mellish225 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:41 AM

    Head shots, chin shots, ACL shots, shots to the head in the pile after the play’s dead – debate over. Williams will never coach again, and the entire Saints staff and team, to have participated in and encouraged that insanity, well deserves the punishments and shame they’ve had heaped on them. Beyond disgusting. And Sean Payton paid $250K out of his own salary to bring that grim reaper into their house? How desperate to win was that guy??

  46. senorwinces says: Apr 5, 2012 9:41 AM

    Seems that you are back to trying to portray the Saints as evil incarnate, as an anomaly. I find it amazing that you ignore that Silver’s article references the fact that the Giants, last year’s Superbowl champs, have ADMITTED to targetting Kyle Williams’s history of concussions. Indeed, their doing so likely affected the outcome of the NFC Championship game. Also, Carlos Rogers has admitted that the 49ers were trying to knock Eli out of that game. When the Giants and 49ers coaches delivered their speeches to their players, do you think they were any less brutal sounding than what Gregg Williams said? People just don’t want to know how the sausage is made.

  47. bigwinintx says: Apr 5, 2012 9:41 AM

    You can play within the lines of the game without killing somebody.
    There are ways to separate the receiver and the ball without killing him, and or injuring yourself.

    This ain’t rocket science folks, injuries happen when you hurl bodies at other bodies, which is why the wear gear, but going after a guy’s ACL is low and irresponsible. You want to cripple a guy because he wants to win too?

    And by the way; How can Brees say he didn’t know about the hit for cash angle when Williams CLEARLY said this in an OPEN LOCKER ROOM???

  48. cjw1197 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:41 AM

    Williams can go to HE double hockey sticks as far as I’m concerned.

  49. 6ball says: Apr 5, 2012 9:42 AM

    .

    This is getting confusing. Is the winner the team with most points on the board, or most ambulances on the field.

    .

  50. stoney18 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:42 AM

    “Bounty Gate” goes waaay beyond “Spygate.” So that should indicate the level of penalty(ies) to be expected. Can’t imagine the Commish will do anything but put into effect the current punishments immediately after these characters finish whatever it is they think they have to say. There is no excuse for this to begin with, but to continue this behavior after being told to stop … reprehensible!! I’m surprised Loomis got off as light as he did. Payton a year and Williams indefinitely … is all good! Be interesting if there are any individual suits brought forth after the dust settles here. I’m definitely behind Goodell on this one.

  51. preventoffense says: Apr 5, 2012 9:42 AM

    Wow, This guy should never work in the league again. Apologies really don’t matter. Wow, just wow.

    I didn’t think much until he started with targeting an ACL, targeting a player that had a previous concussion, and talk of putting Smith on the bench. Talking about the head could be a metaphor, but then he lost it. Wow.

  52. souldogdave says: Apr 5, 2012 9:42 AM

    He should be banned for life.

  53. j0esixpack says: Apr 5, 2012 9:42 AM

    Since I expect Williams is now looking at a lifetime ban maybe the Department of Defense might hire him as a motivational speaker in their highly touted Bounty Program targeting known terrorists?

    Could be a win win for all involved.

  54. nepo784 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:42 AM

    Scumbags

  55. gacoltfan says: Apr 5, 2012 9:43 AM

    That should take care of Saints fans whining about how unfair they are being treated.

  56. captatl says: Apr 5, 2012 9:44 AM

    Just another nail. Wait for the FBI to come out with the Ornstein (Paytons Agent) investigation. Coincedence is that this video came out today. Is it also a coincedence that priot to Ornsteins release that the Saints went 6-4 ATS , but after release 7-1? As far os over the total, 5-5 prior release and 6-2 post release. Is it coincedence that Brees remained in games with the starters long after the outcome was determined, or was it until the over was covered? Pretty convienent to “be chasing a record”. When this shoe drops, and it will, things wont be as rosie as it is today. Going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

  57. dcalisto1 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:44 AM

    I recall Darren Sharper was quoted after the ’09 NFC Championship referring to Favre…”kill the head and the body will die”…wonder who he got that from?? Too much reference on this board about just playing good hard football. Bottom line here is that Williams instituted a program that rewarded injuring players by any means!!. This goes beyond the scope of a CLEAN hit. Think about that first before all you Saints fans come to that defense.

  58. sadskinsfan89 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:45 AM

    What do u think gets said in meetings? Do people realize the violence of this game? What do u think they play hopscotch and bake cookies before games? I know I would be pumped and ready to play after hearing that.

  59. eaglesw00t says: Apr 5, 2012 9:45 AM

    What a bunch of scumbags.

  60. purplehayseuss says: Apr 5, 2012 9:46 AM

    And Drew Brees was not in that room? He had No Idea that this was going on? He doesn’t attend the pre game speeches? Is the head of the snake NOT connected to the test of the Saints snake?

    Perhaps not for too much longer.

  61. jacobslatter says: Apr 5, 2012 9:46 AM

    Gregg Williams = sociopath.

  62. cliffordc05 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:47 AM

    I was immediately struck by the timing of the release. It serves to reinforce the perception that the Saints simply didn’t give a damn what the league wanted. I believe this is the primary motivating factor behind the league’s punishment mete out to the Saints.

  63. jamesnieman says: Apr 5, 2012 9:48 AM

    Cant wait until the government gets involved and he goes to jail. It one thing to say go hit this guy and make sure he remembers it and to tell a guy to go take out his knee or to hit him in the head while in a pile. He deserves to go to jail there’s no differense than this or if I hired someone to go bash someone I dont like in the knee caps, I would go to jail so should he.

  64. mlenenski says: Apr 5, 2012 9:56 AM

    If you have never played defense for a successful defensive coach, aside from a few specific references, this is what it sounds like.

  65. richardmb52 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:58 AM

    It’s gonna take a devine intervention to help the Saints now

  66. macbull says: Apr 5, 2012 9:58 AM

    What ironic timing for the leaking of this audio.

    I would guess someone from Goodell’s office leaked this info in an attempt to backup the severe punishment Goodell is about to hand out.

    To some, this kind of talk about hitting the opponent might seem alarming…and I have no doubt, someone with Goodell’s lack of experience playing the game, finds this audio shocking.

    But football is a violent sport at it’s core and I don’t care how much money Goodell fines players and coaches and how many games or seasons he suspends coaches and players for actions such as this…football will remain as a violent sport, played by tough players who would rather hand out punishing hits than receive them.

    Those who violated league rules in Bountygate will be punished and I have no problem with that.

    But Goodell appears to have an agenda of taking the aggressive hitting out of the game of American Football.

    That can’t be done without ruining the game that is “America’s most popular game”.

    The fans and owners need to decide if they want “Goodell two hand touch”football…
    …OR…”American tackle” football?

    jmho…mac

  67. beastup22 says: Apr 5, 2012 9:59 AM

    New rule, if you have never been in a locker room at any level, stop talking about what happens inside them. My pop Warner, high school, and college coaches all spoke the same. I mean really that was a damn good speech I feel like strapping up the pads right now.

  68. bucrightoff says: Apr 5, 2012 10:01 AM

    They should have the punishments stiffened just for appealing when they were “sorry and apologetic” in the first place. I’m sure Sean must be popping Vicodin like its going out of style at this point

  69. snoopyjoecool says: Apr 5, 2012 10:01 AM

    Aside from the profanity and the implied (if that was really true) payout for hitting Smith on the chin, it was pretty much the same thing my football coach would say in high school. The difference being of course NFL players have the talent to actually do these things.

    Its tough to know if the players took him literally or understood the implied meaning which was play so fierce they become afraid of you.

  70. crabboil says: Apr 5, 2012 10:02 AM

    In the full article, the film maker admits that all of the talk in the locker room didn’t translate to action on the field. He said that the NFCCG was violent, but no more so than any of the other games he had watched from the sidelines.

    He also said Payton wasn’t in the room…

  71. bhindenemylines says: Apr 5, 2012 10:04 AM

    From Mr. Bill Engval to Mr. Gregg Williams:

    Here’s you sign.

  72. snookau says: Apr 5, 2012 10:04 AM

    Can’t wait to see how the whiny Saints fans spin this one….

  73. jason1980 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:07 AM

    Perfect timing Goddell! League office leaks info for maximum affect. Wow….just wow…….

  74. caveman1000 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:19 AM

    I thought hits to the head were against the rules? I thought targetting knees was against the rules? He implored them to break the rules meant to protect players. How can there be any reduction in penalties? And there would be NO WAY to hide these methods from the head coach either. So both get what they deserve.

    You can instruct your players to hit the hell out of the guy. You can’t tell them to hit him in the head every chance you get, or try to destroy an ACL. If any knee injuries or concussions came out of that game, we wouldn’t be talking about suspensions, we’d be talking about legal action.

  75. brohamma says: Apr 5, 2012 10:21 AM

    Disturbing is a very tame way to frame that audio.

    Seriously.. I don’t even know what to type. Language and motivation are fine, but players being told to specifically target areas and intentionally hurt other players is sickening.

    The really sad part of this is that players have no choice but to do this or face being “black-balled” by teams throughout the league.

    Perma-ban for Williams to include no access to any NFL sporting sites and Payton goes for an extra couple on top of his one.

  76. tmtz2112 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:23 AM

    @ fvckyourmother dude shut the hell up, a real man does not need to take cheap shots to come out victorious, why don’t you move to Afghanistan where you can be a mans man since America is so full of soft people, and of Gregg Williams is your hero, Damn your sad

  77. bedmanokc says: Apr 5, 2012 10:24 AM

    I know this much. as well. The guy who had this audio, will never have access to an NFL locker again.

    He may never get inside the locker room of a Pop Warner team, again.

  78. rmc1995 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:29 AM

    Stop being so sensitive. First of all, anyone who has played defense understands the dark place you have to go when you step between the lines. Secondly, if the NFL didn’t force teams to disclose injuries to every person in the world there wouldn’t be that understanding to go after a glaring weakness. Thirdly, it is perfectly legal to hit running backs in the head and receivers in the knee. If they are worried about getting hit legally in an injured area then they should try men’s softball. Fourthly, it is up to the refs to control the game. The Saints got away with this all season because they were rarely flagged for doing things in the pile. Williams understands the league refs always get the retaliation. So use someones head to get up and upset them enough to retaliate.

    It’s the game of football. It is not a game of kings, or gentlemen, or a pastime, or the beautiful game. It is a game of brutality and pretending it is anything else is for lawyers and over protective mothers.

  79. billsfan1 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:32 AM

    Slow news day huh, You guys are still beating this dead horse. This isnt news. This is regeratation at its finest

    actually douchemonkey, this is the first ive heard of the audo, so it is NEW news.. just saying.. oh and i love how Louisiana senate is going to push for this to be reduced….. this coming from a state who just had cops given 3 year sentences for murdering people afte Katrina….

    welcome back Aints… as in aint gonna have a team no more

  80. cwmorga says: Apr 5, 2012 10:32 AM

    @prrbrr says: Apr 5, 2012 9:38 AM

    Kill the head…Sean Payton, life long ban! Strip the lying saints of a number of 1st round picks.
    ————————

    It was written into Gregg Williams’ contract that he had complete autonomy over the defense.

  81. dvdman123 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:32 AM

    I believe the Niner’s must have gotten the same speech from their defensive coordinator because they nearly killed Pierre Thomas with that so called “legal” hit in the 1st quarter of the playoff game. Come on now, this is getting ridiculous. To think that Williams was the ONLY defensive coordinator to make a speech like that before any big game to “motivate” his players is naive. There is is NO evidence anywhere that ANY Saints player try to intention hurt ANY Niner’s player during that game. On the otherhand I think Mike Silver needs to see what the Niner’s were doing to the Saints during the game. Just ask Pierre Thomas.

  82. xpensivewinos says: Apr 5, 2012 10:33 AM

    Gonna be interesting to see how the Saints field a defense next season when every guy is suspended.

    …….and I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t wait to see what those morons at the NFLPA do about this.

    I’m sure this is all Goodell’s fault too, right????

  83. whosslantingwhat says: Apr 5, 2012 10:34 AM

    Yeah, great evidence. Let’s suspend DeAngelo Hall for life for wanting to go after Romo’s ribs and remove Deacon Jones, Ronnie Lott, Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor, etc. for hurting players. If the players committed no offenses that were fined by the NFL or penalized by officiating, then the evidence is against Williams, not the players or the head coach, GM. This is football, if Williams was advocating this then he is responsible, and Payton should be punished for running the ship. But if you have never played the game at any level, shut up. I played defense (safety and LB) I hit opponents as hard as I could everytime. That’s what defenses do. Get over it.

  84. erod22 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:37 AM

    The same speech occurred in 25+ locker rooms around the league last year.

  85. sudz28 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:40 AM

    Williams: Banned. For. Life.

    Period.

  86. glac1 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:40 AM

    they got off way to light. The entire franchise should be held accountable… or dissolved.

  87. drew05 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:40 AM

    A couple things…

    1. Those of you saying “all good defensive speeches are like this”…give it up. “Go after his ACL?!” “Hit him in the head!?”…Um…nope, you are wrong.

    2. The timing of this “leak”…You know Goodell leaked it…You want to appeal? Today? Well…look at the court of public opinion now!

    3. Williams should be/will be banned for life…all Saints payers that knew this type of “coaching” (lol) was going on, and didn’t report it (the whole team?)…should be suspended. Payton should have his oenalty increased through the appeals proccess.

    4. As an Eagle fan (I should leave my fandom out, it’ll save me some troll grief) I can’t help but wonder…If Bill-a-cheat would have chosen to appeal the “spy-gate” accusations…would similar damaging evidence have been leaked then as well? Or did he decline to appeal….thus allowing Goodell to burn all the evidence?

    Go Eagles!

  88. paulitik74 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:41 AM

    How does Drew Brees feel about this? Isn’t he the guy that doesn’t want to be franchised in case he gets hurt? There is no way he didn’t know about this. What a freaking hypocrite. He should lose his position in the NFLPA, as far as I’m concerned, he is as responsible as Loomis and Payton. Brees was one of the biggest names in the CBA negotiations.

    The fact that he has received little to no heat in this is ridiculous. He should be considered for suspension as well.

  89. lombardihero says: Apr 5, 2012 10:41 AM

    bedmanokc says:
    Apr 5, 2012 10:24 AM
    I know this much. as well. The guy who had this audio, will never have access to an NFL locker again.
    He may never get inside the locker room of a Pop Warner team, again.

    And I can tell you this Goodell will make sure that more reporters will have access to NFL Locker Rooms…..

    Teams that have nothing to hide do not care…..

  90. cesquire says: Apr 5, 2012 10:53 AM

    He said “I got the first one” and rubbed his fingers together to indicate that he’d be paying the first bounty. I wonder who was going to pay the second and third bounties?

  91. zerohandicapper says: Apr 5, 2012 10:55 AM

    Die hard 49’ers fan here. I had no problem with the speech up until I heard ACL. This guy will never coach in the league again and I am quite certain Payton will be following him out the door for good. I do not feel that another player wants to end another career, however they do want to play hard. This speech is nothing that I have not heard before, however when you bring up specific ligaments, you are a piece of sh*t. Whoever the whistle blower was, will go down as a great human being like Jose Canseco. Canseco needs to be praised for stopping the crap that was going on in baseball.

  92. SOBEIT says: Apr 5, 2012 10:55 AM

    Paytons lawyers: Mr. Goodell, thank you for meeting us today. We would like to formally request a reduction in the penalties for Coach Sean Payton and here are our reasons why.

    Mr Goodell: Please wait and have a seat. Let me play something for you before you make your case.

    Williams Audio: “go after their head, go after their ACL…”

    Payton’s Lawyers: Thank you for your time, have a nice day! We can show ourselves out…

  93. rajbais says: Apr 5, 2012 10:56 AM

    Hey! With Tebowmania and excessive praise for Peyton Manning I think we need more coaches like Gregg Williams!!!!!!

    We should not be crying about the payment for the intention!!!! We should cry about the execution of the action!!!!

    Kurt Warner was chasing for an interception in the 2009 playoffs and got hit along the chase. Was that intentional on the Saints’ part???

    Plus, Brett Favre never left the game in the 2009 NFC Title Game!!!

    As far as we are concerned, there were not great enough of executions to fit the intentions!!!! Are payments coinciding with intent wrong??? Yes, but it’s not as if the actions were fully executed!!!!

  94. deacroman says: Apr 5, 2012 10:58 AM

    Lets see here, the Patriots get their video tapes destroyed but the Saints have audio evidence leaked to the public. I smell a rat. Goodell is as biased as that Fox news show his wife use to anchor. Deacon Jones, Ray Nitschke,Joe Green,
    Jack Tatum,Dick Butkus,Conrad Dobler…..these guys could never play their game under Roger “Goody” Goodell.

  95. cwmorga says: Apr 5, 2012 11:00 AM

    billsfan1 says: Apr 5, 2012 10:32 AM

    welcome back Aints… as in aint gonna have a team no more
    —————————–

    Buffalo ain’t had a team since Kelly retired. Thanks for your input though.

  96. whatnojets says: Apr 5, 2012 11:00 AM

    If I were Drew Brees, I would demand a trade or retire!

  97. delmonte55 says: Apr 5, 2012 11:01 AM

    Leaking the audio now…how convenient. The Media cares about one thing….the Media. They don’t care how it affects anyone as long as they can get a story.

  98. cjh77 says: Apr 5, 2012 11:02 AM

    How can Benson not fire Loomis and Payton? Those guys blatantly ignored orders from their boss, while having the knowledge that their actions were under scrutiny due to an investigation. And while they may have contributed to building a strong football team, their arrogance has hurt the franchise for years to come (suspensions, loss of draft picks, etc).

  99. nodindenver says: Apr 5, 2012 11:09 AM

    Drew Brees is now Shocked and Teebowing!

  100. hallofshmoe says: Apr 5, 2012 11:10 AM

    You know what’s wrong with this world? It’s people trying to justify something that’s completely wrong by playing the “I’m less guilty than you” card or “Football is a dangerous game and you play to win at all costs” card. Now, granted, this is very unfortunate for the Saints and their fans, but lies, bounties, downright maliciousness in the game of football should never be justified by any fan, player or coach. I’ve never liked the Saints, but I appreciate Payton and Williams taking full responsibility for their actions. I understand why Payton is appealing (probably a lost cause), but it’s about time Saints’ fans moved on with their lives and stopped trying to justify what’s wrong. You still have an awesome team and will be good next year with or without Payton.

  101. iamwhodat says: Apr 5, 2012 11:12 AM

    Lol! Wow some of you people have no clue the inner workings of a locker room, especially football. This was the night before the game against the 9ers, Payton wasn’t in the room it was a defensive meeting. “take out the head” translation Frank Gore is the key to the 9ers offense, “make the head go sideways” don’t let him be a north to south runner, make him run east to west. ” hit #10 hard” number 10 is the PR Williams, who ironically became the target of some Giants players. ” Take out the left ACL of Crabtre” Crabtre was on the injury report for having a injured knee that week, hit him hard. Even though I played Safety at aDivision II school, we had some of those same intense meetings from our coaches right before a game. Now we don’t if they were actual bounties against the 9ers,I highly doubt it. The NFL already informed Tom Benson that they were reopening the investigation of the bounty system the week before. I really think this was just a very intense before a playoff game speech, but you know what some of you people just won’t understand.

  102. sportmentary says: Apr 5, 2012 11:13 AM

    To all those deranged Aints fans that defended the Cracker Kacks and asked for real evidenc…LOL. Your guys might get more penalties. Ha ha ha. your team is a joke, made up of cheats and liars….wait a minute, they play in No Orleans!

  103. bullcharger says: Apr 5, 2012 11:14 AM

    fvckyourmother says:Apr 5, 2012 9:20 AM

    Gregg Williams is awesome and is my hero. He makes John Kreese look like a freaking Nancy boy.

    And to all you p#ssy’s saying this is wrong, you are what is wrong with this country. You are clogging up the gene pool with estrogen. This is America dammit, the goal is to win. The goal is to win at any cost. You want to be a sissy “we gave it out best” loser move to Europe.

    ————–

    You idiot. When your are sending your son on the field and the opposing coach is trying to tear his ACL I’m sure you will be really happy. Just shut up. It’s a full contact sport, not a war. The players still have to be standing to be able to play the game next week.

  104. darthsaint says: Apr 5, 2012 11:15 AM

    How on earth did this just happen to come out today? It couldn’t have been leaked by the NFL? Could it? =)

    My god, just uphold the suspensions and move on. This whole trial in the media is beyond ridiculous. THANK GOD real hearings where your actual freedom is dependent…aren’t handled in any similar fashion. The lynch mob mentality would have every person sent to the gallows.

    Open your eyes fans. Did Williams do “bad” things…of course. How this audio is anything new I am not sure. If he was instructing people to hurt players…well isn’t this what he was already punished for? Somehow hearing him say it…makes it worse than what your imagination heard? Dude definitely stepped across a line I don’t think you should…no doubt about it.

    Although this point will completely fall on deaf ears in this forum. Obviously the players didn’t exactly listen to everything he was saying. It wasn’t like the Saints “carted off” players at any different ration than every other Sunday football game. Warner was 110% clean hit, came back the next series and is quoted as saying it was a good hit when interviewed. Favre was beat up before even starting the Saints game. Did he get worked in that game…damn straight. But even as Favre said in his interview, “that’s football”.

    Get off the high horses boys. It just hurts more when you fall. Look at the Carlos Rogers piece from today…he sums things up in a nutshell.

  105. umrguy42 says: Apr 5, 2012 11:20 AM

    “He looks kind of like Will Ferrell in that picture.”

    Actually, I’ve thought he looks like William Peterson (Grissom from “CSI”)…

  106. bullcharger says: Apr 5, 2012 11:22 AM

    rmc1995 says:Apr 5, 2012 10:29 AM

    Stop being so sensitive. First of all, anyone who has played defense understands the dark place you have to go when you step between the lines. Secondly, if the NFL didn’t force teams to disclose injuries to every person in the world there wouldn’t be that understanding to go after a glaring weakness. Thirdly, it is perfectly legal to hit running backs in the head and receivers in the knee. If they are worried about getting hit legally in an injured area then they should try men’s softball. Fourthly, it is up to the refs to control the game. The Saints got away with this all season because they were rarely flagged for doing things in the pile. Williams understands the league refs always get the retaliation. So use someones head to get up and upset them enough to retaliate.

    It’s the game of football. It is not a game of kings, or gentlemen, or a pastime, or the beautiful game. It is a game of brutality and pretending it is anything else is for lawyers and over protective mothers.

    ——————

    Another idiot. You get suspended for just throwing a punch in the NFL and it’s always been like that. It’s never been the point to injure guys. There’s no room in the game for targeting a guy’s ACL and purposely ending his livelyhood. Defensive players are always talking about crack-back blocks taking out their knees and ending their career. No one wants that to be part of the game.

  107. 69finfan says: Apr 5, 2012 11:24 AM

    fvckyourmother

    The problem with this country and this world is that there are morons like you that inhabit it that think “win at all costs” is acceptable. Years ago one of if not the greatest coach of all time, Vince Lombardi stated contrary to what is popularly misquoted, “Winning isn’t everything striving to win is”. What is next, sharpshooters taking out key players from opposing teams? Did Don Shula ever do anything like this, how about Bill Walsh, Tom Landry, Chuck Noll? The answer is a resounding NO!

  108. nickynick04 says: Apr 5, 2012 11:24 AM

    My position is this.
    The Saints are now on my black list.
    I will never pull for them again.
    I am a GB Packer fan , but took a shine to the whole Katrina / Saints situation….NO MORE..

    From this day forward…so it be said,,,so it be written…I am anti NO Saints…..SCUMBAGS !
    Going out to injure a players head or acl…..
    there is no room for this in sports….this is not war..it is a sport

  109. grninerfan says: Apr 5, 2012 11:25 AM

    I never had a grudge against the Saints but when coach Williams says hit him on the pile hit the head that is over the line. Whether or not other teams have done it or not it is wrong and he should be banned. Coach Payton is the bosss and should get the 1 year ban for not controlling this douchbag better.

  110. gadgetdawg says: Apr 5, 2012 11:26 AM

    And this could be fuel for the NFLPA to insist that the bounty program was instigated by the staff and that the players were “following instructions” by the staff…
    ———————————-

    I am pretty sure that defense ended legally and morally in the ’40s. . .

  111. larryfinfan says: Apr 5, 2012 11:29 AM

    Macbull…this isn’t about taking violence out of the game, this is about paying guys beyond the salary cap to purposefully injure other players. I’m as fond of a solid hit as anyone is, but within the rules. You can’t look back to the league 15 yrs ago and compare what is going on now. The rules have changed to protect the players. What is going to be the real question is whether or not De Smith and the NFLPA truly want to protect their players (by telling the players that they were wrong and should accept the punishment handed down) or whether they want to supply lip service and try to weasel a few players out of some of the punishment. I still think this release came from Smith’s office…he wants to make it look like Loomis, Payton, Williams and Vitt were the culprits and not any of the players involved…no matter what, if my boss asked me to purposefully injure a man or woman to get ahead or a sale or whatever, I’m not doing that…but these guys did…as well as the staff did…

  112. shoeflypie says: Apr 5, 2012 11:31 AM

    realnflmaster says: Look Out. Here come the Jets babe.

    I’m betting her figure will resemble that of an offensive lineman. Jets, HAH!

  113. cwmorga says: Apr 5, 2012 11:35 AM

    @whatnojets says: Apr 5, 2012 11:00 AM

    If I were Drew Brees, I would demand a trade or retire!
    ——————–

    Oh please!

  114. captatl says: Apr 5, 2012 11:36 AM

    What does this say about Sean Paytons “attention to detail” as he outlines as one of his traits for success? He paid GW 250K out of his own pocket to come to NOLA. Surely, he was detailed enough to interview former position coaches and players in regards to Williams. Payton knew 110% what Williams was doing, so did Loomis. Williams is guilty of orchastrating the scheme, and Payton and Loomis just as guilty or even more guilty for allowing it. By defaul they SUPPORTED it. As for Outsiders pitching in to fund it….. Ornstien is Paytons agent. Payton cliams to never had read the email….from his AGENT. Just another lie from a habitual liar.

  115. shoeflypie says: Apr 5, 2012 11:41 AM

    Fvckyourmoher says: You want to be a sissy “we gave it ou(r) best” loser move to Europe.

    Fact is, my father GAVE his best in Europe, and is buried in a military cemetery there. He died so jerks and foulmouths like you can spew your trash. People pointing out what’s wrong with Williams’ approach isn’t what’s wrong with America. It’s low-lifes like you.

  116. cags777 says: Apr 5, 2012 12:23 PM

    So are Saints fans going to call this guy “a snitch”? How about Gleason for that matter?

  117. cup0pizza says: Apr 5, 2012 1:00 PM

    Times like these it isn’t so bad being a Dallas fan. No one can accuse anyone on the Cowboys defense of hitting hard enough to cause injury. Heck, they cant even tackle, so no bounty/headhunting program existed in Dallas.

  118. bucfansouthtampa says: Apr 5, 2012 1:03 PM

    Well played Mr Goodell. Well played….

  119. mmmpierogi says: Apr 5, 2012 1:06 PM

    fvckyourmother says: Apr 5, 2012 9:20 AM

    Gregg Williams is awesome and is my hero. He makes John Kreese look like a freaking Nancy boy.

    And to all you p#ssy’s saying this is wrong, you are what is wrong with this country. You are clogging up the gene pool with estrogen. This is America dammit, the goal is to win. The goal is to win at any cost. You want to be a sissy “we gave it out best” loser move to Europe.

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

    Do you walk around in your normal day-to-day life saying garbage like this? You do realize that you resemble a sound byte of Kenny Powers from Eastbound & Down, right?

    And yes, what was done WAS wrong, on multiple levels, but you contradict yourself on one fundamental point. As you note, the primary goal in a competitive situation like a football game might, arguably, be to win. However, that is not the same goal as going out to intentionally hurt or injure people (or providing incentives to go injure people). Those are two separate concepts, two different goals. I like watching football – I don’t like watching guys get carried out on stretchers after lying motionless on the ground for 15 minutes.

  120. stanklepoot says: Apr 5, 2012 1:13 PM

    winningisabrees says: Apr 5, 2012 9:23 AM

    Slow news day huh, You guys are still beating this dead horse. This isnt news. This is regeratation at its finest.
    ________________________________
    I hate to be the edit jerk, but first of all it’s regurgitation. More importantly, if you don’t think this is news, you’ve got your head firmly planted in the sand. This is taped evidence of Williams specifically ordering his players to injure other players, as well as instructing them in the best way to do so. Throw in his offer to be the first to pay a guy for doing so, and every accusation made my the league is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Forget the 50,000 pages of evidence, this one recording is all the league needs. Finally, when you consider when this was taken, it demonstrates the institutional arrogance and stupidity that was running rampant it seems in the Saints organization. Think about it, Williams allowed himself to be taped shortly before the playoff game against the 49ers, which is about two weeks after being informed that the investigation had been reopened. Did he think the league office reopened a case they failed to prove before on a whim? Didn’t he stop to think they might have some new evidence, and if not, didn’t he think that allowing himself to be taped in such a way might come back to bit him in the rear? This recording is news alright. It’s just not news you like. There is a difference.

  121. rsmca says: Apr 5, 2012 1:41 PM

    Williams, Peyton et al are very fortunate. If a significant injury had occurred to one of the 49ers named called out on this tape they’d be answering to the SF District Attorneys office … not Goodell.

  122. mogogo1 says: Apr 5, 2012 1:43 PM

    Huge blow to Payton’s efforts to try and put distance between himself and the bounties. It was such an open secret, Williams was comfortable referencing them in front of guys making documentaries…yet Payton wasn’t fully in the know? Even though his agent/friend was funding them? And he’s still claiming he never lied to the NFL? That dog won’t hunt, Sean.

    Initially, I figured Payton would skate through this relatively unscathed outside the year’s lost income. But it gets uglier all the time. This is going to stick to him.

  123. erictheclown says: Apr 5, 2012 1:51 PM

    Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it.

    Taints and fans showing true colors!
    Priceless

  124. psousa1 says: Apr 5, 2012 2:40 PM

    Apr 5, 2012 9:20 AM

    Gregg Williams is awesome and is my hero. He makes John Kreese look like a freaking Nancy boy.

    Never played the game on any level did you…….

  125. sloppydogg says: Apr 5, 2012 3:03 PM

    Seem like old boy Greg took matters into his own hand, so was told to stop and never stop reckless now you have your scapegoat let Sean and Micky go free.

  126. bpsmx001 says: Apr 5, 2012 8:04 PM

    1. I love how everyone is bashing the Saints as though this is the first time a football coach has told his players to go out and intentionally injure someone!

    2. Has anyone thought that just because someone gives an order to do something doesn’t mean it’s going to be followed. Williams’ speech and everything else I’ve heard is all circumstantial. Show me the illegal hits and then we’ll talk.

    3. Personally, I believe that the Saints are a victim of their own success. Especially, when the majority of America wouldn’t mind if the Patriots, Packers, and Colts or most likely now Denver with Payton Manning rotated winning the Super Bowl every year! Truth be told the NFL and the football press had a virtual heart attack when the Aints won the Super Bowl. While the nation pretended to love the team they secretly hoped for the Saints demise. In the back of everyone’s mind they hated that the lowly saints finally put it all together to win it all. They said to themselves how could this ass backwards team from an ass backwards city beat our nations football heroes?! The NFL wanted to change the overtime rules right after the Saints beat their precious Brett Farve! The Sainta were pushed around for 43 years, finally decided to push back, and now everyone is upset. Where are the string of injuries caused by the vicious saints d?! Where is the physical evidence of intended harm?! If some plans to kill you, even if they don’t succeed, there is at least physical evidence of the intent being carried out! Where is it?! Where is the research based data that links the Saints to increased injuries or the footage of Saints performing illegal hits on their opponents?! What the NFL and the press have shown so far is circumstantial at best. Can anybody on this forum honestly say that you followed order your boss gave you to the letter?! I thought not. Payton Manning makes a very good living NOT following every play and order his coaches give him! Why is everyone assuming that because Williams said something, it was automatically carried out like the players on the saint are a bunch of robot that do exactly what their master said to do?! There has been no REAL evidence of the accusations, just evidence of intent and as any ADULT knows intentions aren’t good enough, you have to follow through!!!

  127. tagg41 says: Apr 6, 2012 8:23 AM

    i agree….Sean should just get on with his punishment…..Then we will still come out with our HIGH POWER OFFENSE & PUT UP 40 POINTS A GAME AGAIN. you cant chop one head off a two headed snake. DREW BREES is the real coach. NO PAYTON, NO LOOMIS, GOD-DELL HATING & SAINTS WIN HOME DOME SUPERBOWL! ANYWAY! so all you Saints hater, who thought God-dell was going to help your sorry ass team,by handicapping the Saints,your out of luck. THE SAINTS ARE COMING!

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