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League thinks Payton’s book undercuts “rogue coach” defense

Sean_Payton_Suspension_I_Am_Not_OK Getty Images

From our pal Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times comes an interesting new nugget regarding the league’s handling of the appeal of the full-year suspension filed by Saints coach Sean Payton, as it relies on the idea that former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was a “rogue coach.”

Per Farmer, the NFL has reviewed a book written by Payton after the Super Bowl season, finding places “where he references control/attention to detail.”

There are plenty of other quotes from Payton suggesting that he knew, and apparently wasn’t concerned, about Williams’ methods.

“Listen, I paid close attention to what was said,” Payton said after Williams’ notorious “remember me” diatribe regarding Peyton Manning before Super Bowl XLIV.  “I think that I said this last week:  Given the nature of Super Bowl week, I think that one of the first things you try to do defensively is try to hurry the quarterback, pressure the quarterback or disrupt the timing of the quarterback.  I think it’s fairly common sense with defensive football.  In looking at it, I don’t really pay much attention to that.”

But Payton paid close enough attention to be concerned about Williams saying more things that could cause problems.  Prior to Media Day during the week preceding Super Bowl XLIV, Payton served Williams a jar of peanut butter, crackers, and a glass of sand “to keep his mouth shut” when talking to the press.  It was a funny joke, but at the core of the stunt posssibly was a not-so-subtle message.

Thus, while Williams may indeed have “gone rogue” from time to time during his three years with the Saints, there’s likely enough evidence to allow the league to conclude that Payton knew what was happening.  And the league easily could conclude that, by not intervening, Payton and the rest of the coaching staff essentially ratified the rogue, necessarily making him no longer a rogue.

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37 Responses to “League thinks Payton’s book undercuts “rogue coach” defense”
  1. h3min1230 says: Apr 9, 2012 10:59 AM

    Wish I could be the accessory to a crime and only get year long vacation as my punishment…

  2. prrebel says: Apr 9, 2012 11:06 AM

    A year long “vacation”? He is also losing over 5 million dollars.

    I am so sick of you holier than thou fans who criticize the Saints. Do they deserve it? Yes. What they did was wrong. If it was your team you would be standing behind them 100% just like Saints fans do. Get over your holier than thou attitude, because you’re not perfect either!!!!!

  3. pftrocks says: Apr 9, 2012 11:06 AM

    “Wish I could be the accessory to a crime and only get year long vacation as my punishment…”

    Great point h3min1230..how does Payton get a pass on this since there was evidence of emails from him stating to add in friends on bounty pools.
    Makes even less since that Vitt, a defensive asst gets only 6 games. Who are these guys sleeping with?

  4. wipackman1265 says: Apr 9, 2012 11:10 AM

    Unpaid ??

    Are Saints fans still protesting ?

    They would have gotten a year I think if it wouldnt have disabled the franchise

    Theses DUDES deserve BAD things !!

  5. mornelithe says: Apr 9, 2012 11:12 AM

    @ h3min1230: Yeah, you’re forgetting that he also loses his salary for that year, which is what….$6 million? Best way to punish the wealthy make ‘em poor.

  6. infectorman says: Apr 9, 2012 11:13 AM

    As a Had Coach, if you’re not
    aware of your staff’s methods, tendencies, strengths and weaknesses, then you’re not really a HC. You’re a figure-head, or in Payton’s case, Offensive Coordinator.
    It was Payton’s job to be accountable for all those who reported to him. In my book, he is equally responsible for the mess.

    In the real world, the CEO must sign the Sarbanes Oxley statement to give his word that the financials are accurate.
    After Enron, Worldcom and the Barney Frank led collapse of the RE Market, SOX is now a real bane to the existence of CEO’s nationwide.

    The NFL, being a multiBILLION $ industry is as “Real World” as it gets.

  7. skittlesareyum says: Apr 9, 2012 11:14 AM

    Wish I could be the accessory to a crime and only get year long vacation as my punishment…

    To be fair it’s not exactly a vacation because he’s not getting paid.

    /not a Saints or Payton fan

  8. wisconsinvikingsfan says: Apr 9, 2012 11:20 AM

    Payton needs to be banned from the NFL for life along with his buddy Gdub. (Greg Williams) Payton knew about the bounties all along, had the power to stop it and didn’t. Two sorry scumbags as far as I am concerned.

  9. henderski says: Apr 9, 2012 11:21 AM

    Isn’t the punishment in Payton’s case more about the attempted cover up? This seems like the classic, you had a chance to tell the truth and set things straight, but you didn’t and then you lied about it.

  10. primetime0552 says: Apr 9, 2012 11:23 AM

    year long ‘vacation’ and a loss of like 8 million dollars from not being paid. what crimes were committed? I didn’t know rough/late/dirty hits on the field were illegal. why arent players arrested weekly?

  11. thejuddstir says: Apr 9, 2012 11:26 AM

    Don’t play the fans for fools Goodell, we can all connect the dots…….Payton knew what he was doing when he hired Williams. Payton should get the same penalty as Williams.

  12. cwmorga says: Apr 9, 2012 11:28 AM

    @h3min1230 says: Apr 9, 2012 10:59 AM

    Wish I could be the accessory to a crime and only get year long vacation as my punishment…
    ———————-

    A tackle would be considered assault outside of the context of a football game. It would be difficult to prosecute what happens in a game unless you could prove the intent was to injure a player. Regardless of Gregg Williams’ locker room banter, that would be difficult to prove.

    For those wishing criminal charges would be brought on football teams, you should start with a much more egregious assault by Ndamukong Suh against Green Bay last Thanksgiving (not to mention some things he did in the preseason).

  13. sdisme says: Apr 9, 2012 11:36 AM

    If Payton is saying he didn’t know about bounties in 2009, this article makes sense.

    If he is saying, he thought they put a stop to any bounty program after 2009 and didn’t know anything again until 2012 then everything in the article makes no sense.

  14. fusion3450 says: Apr 9, 2012 11:39 AM

    i can’t believe how many non saints fans are ALWAYS commenting on saints stories on here. i never even read stories on other teams. much less comment on them. the media and especially this site are going to put up something everyday to keep you tools hitting their site. seriously dude. its been over a month. we get your points. you hate the saints. you want the worst things for them. whatever. get over it. see ya in the dome in september. and a big fat WHO DAT to all the haters.

  15. mjay424 says: Apr 9, 2012 11:44 AM

    Greg Williams’ grief is just starting.

    Promise you there are enterprising reporters right now ready to do a major story on everything about his personality, actions, psychology, etc., trying to determine what made him like he is.

    As for Sean Payton, one-time golden child, I doubt he knew everything that was going on in defensive meetings so he should be allowed to coach again. Williams, um…not so much. Hitting to hit, I suppose, is one thing. Tackling strongly, surely, sounds better to me. Hitting to maim, that’s criminal, even in sports. Or it should be.

    Payton is a very good coach. He’ll emerge from this, put on a good face, and be driven to succeed.

  16. jason1980 says: Apr 9, 2012 11:48 AM

    You see, that’s the problem with the league reviewing it’s own suspensions, and fines. They have already drawn their conclusion, therefore anything different is out of the question. To most normal peoples, this is the craziest policies ever. I don’t think there’s a business in the United States that operates like the NFL, insane. You can’t be expected to review your own policies and decisions, with impartiality, that is a road to NOWHERE. Most posters think it’s all fine and dandy right now, because of their hatred for this winning franchise, but when their team is under the gun, attitudes will certainly be a lot different.

  17. nebster21 says: Apr 9, 2012 11:53 AM

    OK so does that mean that every head coach that restricts what his assistant head coaches say means that they are covering things up. WOW ALOT of coaches are covering things up. One of the main culprits would be Bill Belicheck. and my next guess would be who ever thejuddstir roots for in next in line.

  18. daysend564 says: Apr 9, 2012 12:04 PM

    Oh darn, he loses his $5M salary for the year. Now he only has $30M in the bank. There is no way this should be considered a vacation, especially since he’ll only come back and make another $5M+ next season.

    Apologist Stains fans.

  19. saintswillprevail says: Apr 9, 2012 12:11 PM

    I am a Saints fan and can say if Payton didn’t know anything about it, wouldn’t Williams have said that by now? That he was acting alone?

  20. zn0rseman says: Apr 9, 2012 12:12 PM

    Personally, I feel the Saints got off extraordinarily easy.

    They implimented an illegal and outright dispicable bounty program designed to cause career ending injuries to other players. They took and distributed money from a convicted racketeer tied to sports gambling, who they allowed on their sidelines and in their locker room. They gave this guy a Super Bowl ring! (Who knows if that guy had an impact on the horribly one-sided officiating in the Saints favor during the playoffs.) That’s cheating on a level that makes SpyGate look like a joke! Then they lied to the league repeatedly for years while under investigation, and continued to cheat brazenly.

    I’m appaled at how light their punishment is. Payton should face the same ban that Williams did. There is no way that he not only knew, but approved of what Williams was doing. The same is also likely true for owner Tom Benson and assistant head coach, Joe Vitt.

    Frankly, the organization as a whole got off extremely light. Two 2nd round picks??? That’s less than the Patriots got for a far smaller infraction. You’re talking about a team (the Saints) who literally STOLE a Super Bowl, and got away with it. Where is the punishment? Where is the justice? Ask any Vikings fan if they’d give up two 2nd round picks for a Lombardi Trophy, and I can tell you what 100% of the answers will be.

    $0.02,

    –Z

  21. jaxdolfan says: Apr 9, 2012 12:14 PM

    And Bellichick knew nothing about that guy taping the Rams walkthrough.

  22. saintswillprevail says: Apr 9, 2012 12:27 PM

    Being a Saints fan, I believe that the punishment was appropriate. I don’t think that there is a Saints fan out there that can honestly say that they weren’t appalled by that tape of Gregg Williams. This whole scandal has been devastating to me and I am not going to defend any of their actions. There will be a time at which point we can move on from this but the criticism is well deserved. This doesn’t mean that I still don’t live and breath the Saints, because I do. I have been a fan for 30 years and nothing will ever change that.

  23. xxwhodatxx says: Apr 9, 2012 12:33 PM

    When I read these comments It makes me feel good to know that my Saints are doing their job. The constant hate they get is a direct result of them whooping that ass in games. Take a team like the Browns they don’t whoop anyone so they don’t get the hate. And don’t act like its just cause the bounty mess. So I can’t wait for this season, see ya on the field keep hating.

  24. alecitrullo10 says: Apr 9, 2012 12:34 PM

    not a saints fan by any stretch….however…you ppl are acting like they are the only team that has done this….the only team that targets pre-existing injuries….get over it…i dont care what other players say….if they know about someones injury they target it…plain and simple…where is the investigation on the giants after Jaquon Williams stated they targeted kyle williams head because of his concussion history? greg williams speech that was releases was disgusting yes…and sean payton should be held accountable too yes…but dont think that just cuz the saints got caught they are the only ones doing this stuff…please how naive can you ppl be…bountys are always gonna be a part of the game…ppl are ALWAYS going to target pre-existing injuries with the goal of taking someone out of the game…this is a violent sport, and the only way you’re going to get rid of this stuff, is to change to flag football which would be ridiculous….the guys are getting punished and thats all you can ask for….maybe if Mara wasn’t a butt buddy of Goodell, they Giants might be investigated too…

  25. CKL says: Apr 9, 2012 12:38 PM

    @jaxdolfan,
    Of course BB didn’t know, HIS TEAM NEVER TAPED A WALKTHROUGH…ye gods. Things like this still being talked about as if they are fact when they aren’t facts = why irresponsible journalists need to be fired and/or sued.
    ———————————————
    nebster21 says:
    Apr 9, 2012 11:53 AM
    OK so does that mean that every head coach that restricts what his assistant head coaches say means that they are covering things up. WOW ALOT of coaches are covering things up. One of the main culprits would be Bill Belicheck. and my next guess would be who ever thejuddstir roots for in next in line.
    _________________________________
    No it doesn’t mean they are necessarily covering things up. It just means they don’t like when their mouthy assistants talk for a variety of reasons, one of which is competitive advantage. The main reason for having the HC as the one voice is so that the message is always the same. I would however be surprised if there wasn’t a reason every HC wanted to cover something or another up, and it’s not always nefarious. Could be that two guys on his staff hate each other, could be that a guy on his staff did something he didn’t like but he’s not going to narc on him, who knows? Do managers at publicly owned companies tell the truth about every single thing their other managers do? It’s normal. But in SP’s case they are trying to prove that he did have knowledge and he’s denying he had that knowledge (rogue coach defense, etc). So it’s germane.

  26. dexterismyhero says: Apr 9, 2012 12:46 PM

    @xxwhodatxx says:Apr 9, 2012 12:33 PM

    When I read these comments It makes me feel good to know that my Saints are doing their job. The constant hate they get is a direct result of them whooping that ass in games. Take a team like the Browns they don’t whoop anyone so they don’t get the hate. And don’t act like its just cause the bounty mess. So I can’t wait for this season, see ya on the field keep hating.
    =================================
    Sounds like a Steeler fan saying Ben did nothing wrong then calling everyone haters. Get some new schtick Geez. You won 1 SB and act like your team is the best ever. Then make a comment about the Browns who have multiple Championships and a pretty fantastic leagcy in the NFL. Nice try though…

  27. jpb12 says: Apr 9, 2012 12:47 PM

    Kinda like owning a pit bull.

    You like it when people are afraid. You keep telling everyone that they don’t bite. They’re on a leash. You’re in control.

    But you like the way everyone backs away from you.

    Intimidating.

  28. nineroutsider says: Apr 9, 2012 12:52 PM

    I didn’t realize that this bounty story was such a mainstream story. I guess I need to start paying attention to mainstream news.

    Saw my mom on Easter and she knows how big of a 9er fan I am and all she wanted to talk about was Gregg Williams and his awful plans for the 9ers that she heard on CNN. I was blown away that she knew about the story to the level that she did. She wants Payton gone too. This is what the NFL is up against. My mom doesn’t watch football and she is outraged. She’s 70. There are lots more exactly like her. Payton doesn’t have a chance, there is nothing he can say to reduce his sentence. Whether you agree or not, he’s lucky it’s only a year. The league wants to appeal to everyone, not just die-hards and the UFC types.

  29. SOBEIT says: Apr 9, 2012 1:00 PM

    The Saints, Payton, Williams, and the players are not being punished because of the bounty program. The league knew about the bounty program in 2009/2010. The league looked into it and could not find enough evidence to drop the hammer, but had enough to call Payton and Williams to meet with Goodell and tell them if anything is going on to stop. Not only did they not stop, they lied to the face of Goodell and continued the practice brazenly…enough so that the league had a whole bunch of new evidence not available the first time around.

    They are being punished with the full wrath of Goodell because they lied to his face and made him look bad “in front of the lawyers” for players suing the league for not protecting them from concussions and other injuries that have debilitated their daily life since retiring from football. If they had stopped in 2009/2010, nothing would be happening now. But the league has to protect itself from all the lawsuits and the Saints have made it easier for the lawyers to claim the league knew all along and did not do enough to protect players. Goodell is a lawyer…remember that first.

    The league is being hypocritical here as well…they are framing this event as a bounty program…but the truth is that it is about lying to Goodell and the lawsuits.

    But who cares, the Saints fans will think it is the rest of the fans and the league piling on. Your team was the SB champion and key reason why they were not punished to some little extent back 3 years ago.

  30. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: Apr 9, 2012 1:27 PM

    @Saintswillprevail…..
    Apr 9, 2012, 11:27 AM CDT
    Being a Saints fan, I believe that the punishment was appropriate. I don’t think that there is a Saints fan out there that can honestly say that they weren’t appalled by that tape of Gregg Williams. This whole scandal has been devastating to me and I am not going to defend any of their actions. There will be a time at which point we can move on from this but the criticism is well deserved. This doesn’t mean that I still don’t live and breath the Saints, because I do. I have been a fan for 30 years and nothing will ever change that.
    —————————————————–
    Sir or Madame, you are a fraud!!
    A Saints fan for thirty years won’t just say
    “I’m a Saints fan for 30 years.”
    Just like an Alabama fan won’t just say
    “I’m a bama!” … They would say something like, “roll tide”
    I true Saints fan would said, “I’m a Saints for 30 years so, WHO DAT, WE DAT!!
    If you’re a Saints fan then he’s the beloved players in franchise history? If you’re a fan for thirty years then you know the answer this a comma.
    If you really are a fan, then my apologies for calling you out and once you answer this question I will apologize properly,
    So don’t take too long to answer other wise I’ll think you’re looking up the answer.

  31. Deb says: Apr 9, 2012 1:51 PM

    prrebel says:

    A year long “vacation”? He is also losing over 5 million dollars.

    I am so sick of you holier than thou fans who criticize the Saints. Do they deserve it? Yes. What they did was wrong. If it was your team you would be standing behind them 100% just like Saints fans do. Get over your holier than thou attitude, because you’re not perfect either!!!!!
    =================================
    I expect you to stand behind your team with everything you’ve got. And bounties in some form have been around forever, so every team is going to be guilty of that on some level. But your coaches crossed a line by taking money from an outside felon, cheating the salary cap, ignoring direct orders from Mr. Benson and the league, letting themselves be filmed trying to rev up players to go for the head at a time when they knew the league was under fire on head injuries, and in Payton’s case, making a joke out of his suspension. I was a fan of Payton’s, but that “Free Sean Payton” business with Jimmy Buffett and talk of him working for Fox during a suspension ended it for me. His players won’t get that kind of opportunity and could wind up with IRS problems and criminal charges.

    So yes, support your team. But don’t expect everyone else to take it easy on your coaches.

  32. saintswillprevail says: Apr 9, 2012 2:25 PM

    Sir or Madame, you are a fraud!!
    A Saints fan for thirty years won’t just say
    “I’m a Saints fan for 30 years.”
    Just like an Alabama fan won’t just say
    “I’m a bama!” … They would say something like, “roll tide”
    I true Saints fan would said, “I’m a Saints for 30 years so, WHO DAT, WE DAT!!
    If you’re a Saints fan then he’s the beloved players in franchise history? If you’re a fan for thirty years then you know the answer this a comma.
    If you really are a fan, then my apologies for calling you out and once you answer this question I will apologize properly,
    So don’t take too long to answer other wise I’ll think you’re looking up the answer.
    ===================================

    I really could care less if you believe me or not but I became a fan during the 1980 season when they beat the Jets for their first win. I am a season ticket holder that lives in Tampa and attends every game. I am not a Falcons fan disguised as a Saints fan. The player that you are looking for is Archie. Good day sir and …..WHO DAT!!!

  33. golonger says: Apr 9, 2012 3:47 PM

    Deb,there you go again…..

    “His players won’t get that kind of opportunity and could wind up with IRS problems and criminal charges.”

    1)There is no proof what money actually exchanged hands…..how is the IRS going to get involved?

    2) What criminal charges could possibly be brought up against them?…..oh,yes.my job is to knock the guys head off but….because of some bounty, now it is a criminal offense???LOL It is still within the confinds of the game, doesnt matter if there was money behind it or not. If they had a bounty on one of them OFF the field, maybe…..on the filed…sorry,not happening!

    Gee, are you going to start charging baseball pitchers as criminals too when they brush-back the batter????ridiculous

  34. Deb says: Apr 9, 2012 6:20 PM

    @golonger …

    Hundreds of people, including PFT’s writers, are on this site saying essentially the same thing I am and you’re not telling them they have no right to comment on the sport, etc. I’m flattered by your obsession with my comments, but it’s wearing thin.

    Mike has covered the possible problems the players could incur from the IRS and criminal authorities–and I did say “could” in my comment. If you have an issue with that, take it up with him.

  35. golonger says: Apr 9, 2012 9:58 PM

    Deb – hundreds of people saying something makes it true?????????????……let me tell you something….hundreds of sportswriters every day write things that arent true……doesnt MAKE THEM TRUE.

    But sorry, they are NOT saying the same thing……your perception is not reality. Someone can COVER things all they like, doesnt make it possible or so. Please tell me you arent this STUPID!

    If it is wearing thin…..buzz off and go to a different site.

  36. golonger says: Apr 9, 2012 10:06 PM

    and Deb……I just listened to Florio’s expose on potential criminal charges…….he didnt echo what YOU said, he echoed more of what I have been saying……there is no chance ANY criminal charges happen…sorry……….do you even listen???? (or read)

  37. thecrazyasianinseccountry says: Apr 10, 2012 3:38 AM

    @saintswillprevail…
    I stand corrected and do sincerely apologize for my unfounded accusation.
    Once again “I am sorry, with that said, Who Dat, We Dat!”

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