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Latest bounty report exposes another flaw in bounty evidence

Jeff Backus, Riley Reiff AP

On Wednesday, Sean Pamphilon handed another bounty baton to Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports, and Silver in turn reported that a pair of Saints defenders received payment for “whacks” in the wild-card playoff win over the Lions.  What wasn’t reported could be a bigger problem for the league’s stubborn insistence that the Saints used a bounty system.

As Silver explains it, the NFL believes that cash paid to safety Roman Harper and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar constitutes more evidence of a pay-for-injury system.  An unnamed Saints source tells Silver that “whack” was simply the term former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams used for a good, clean hit.

Linebacker Jonathan Vilma elaborated on Twitter, in response to Silver’s report.  “A whack is a legal low tackle,” Vilma said.

But the primary purpose of this insomnia-driven post is to shine a light on something that apparently wasn’t recorded by Pamphilon the night before the Saints faced the 49ers in the divisional round.  When Williams was handing out envelopes full of cash from the prior weekend’s game, no one got paid for a “cart-off,” which loosely has been interpreted as a hit that inflicts an injury that causes an offensive player to leave the game, regardless of whether a cart was involved.

But in the win over the Lions, Detroit tackle Jeff Backus suffered a torn biceps, and he left the game.

“A guy made an inside move and I went to hook him with my arm and my bicep popped,” Backus said at the time.

Thus, under the NFL’s narrative regarding the three-year bounty program, the guy who made the inside move should have received before the 49ers game payment for inflicting an injury on Backus that knocked him out of the game.  But Pamphilon’s tape doesn’t reflect any payment to whoever was responsible for the Backus absence.

One explanation would be that, with the NFL once again investigating the Saints, Williams ditched the “cart-off” prizes.  Then again, handing out cash for “whacks” and strongly hinting (at a minimum) that more cash would be available whoever knocked quarterback Alex Smith out of the next game, all while a microphone was capturing everything Williams said, suggests that Williams didn’t succumb to an uncharacteristic burst of discretion.

The logic is fairly simple.  If the Saints were paying players who injured opponents, whoever injured Backus should have been paid.  If, as it appears, whoever injured Backus wasn’t paid, it’s possible that players were paid for something other than inflicting injuries.

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39 Responses to “Latest bounty report exposes another flaw in bounty evidence”
  1. superdanlp says: Jun 7, 2012 1:36 AM

    You’re really grasping at straws here now. An offensive lineman popped his bicep while trying to keep a defensive lineman from getting to the quarterback. You really don’t see the difference between that and diving for a quarterbacks knee, or leading with your helmet? Come on, man.

  2. mdd913 says: Jun 7, 2012 1:38 AM

    Goodell’s case falling apart a little more every day….Brees signing tomorrow morning….new linebackers look amazing in OTA’s…..guess it’s time for all those Saints haters to go pound sand once again.

  3. jgat12 says: Jun 7, 2012 1:56 AM

    So because he didn’t hand the joker who took out Backus an envelope of cash at the same time he was illegally handing out money to other players, that is somehow evidence against there being bounties? Mind you this was after the league had already checked into them a couple of times about a possible bounty system and the pay for performance nonsense that took place in 2009 and 2010. Gee, I wonder if they were just a little more discreet about paying for “cart-offs” after initially being asked of its existence?…

  4. scoregasmic says: Jun 7, 2012 1:59 AM

    They probably didn’t get paid because they were trying to keep Backus in the game, he’s terrible

  5. caliangel08 says: Jun 7, 2012 1:59 AM

    Goodell was desperate for something , this makes no sense at all …..

  6. 805_9er says: Jun 7, 2012 1:59 AM

    Just the fact that anyone was paid any kind of incentive whether they accepted the payment or not is all the evidence the NFL needs. It isn’t legal.

    The coaches admitted the wrong doing. And they aren’t arguing about it…

  7. 805_9er says: Jun 7, 2012 2:03 AM

    The fact of the matter is that the Aints defense is too lame to actually knock anyone out of a game. That’s why GW had to get them all jacked up, their talent level is so low…

  8. nyfcat says: Jun 7, 2012 2:09 AM

    Regardless of whether or not ANYTHING Pamphilon says exposes a truth, I can’t help but feel sorry for Steve Gleason.

  9. truthfactory says: Jun 7, 2012 2:25 AM

    Goodell warned them 3 TIMES OVER THE LAST 3 YEARS!!!!

    And as recnt as last season they were still running the program and making payments after 3 WARNINGS!!!

    HELLOOOOOOOO!!! STOP PAYING ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR ANYTHING IF YOU’VE BEEN WARNED 3 TIMES AND YOU WOULDN’T BE IN THIS MESS!!!

    This isn’t a court of law. There is more than enough evidence (especially after 3 warnings) that something was going on.

    *The Williams audio tape

    *Hargrove running off the field in 2009 Vikings game yelling “pay me my money” after he thought he knocked Favre out of the game

    *A ledger showing various payments

    *Pamphilbon witnessing payments being made

    *Players convieniently never claim they never “offered” money, instead they claim they never paid, or intended to pay (careful wording to avoid claiming they didn’t offer money cause that would be a lie).

    *An apology from Williams and Payton

    *Statements from players acknowledging the program (obviously later claiming they were misquoted when report comes out)

    *An email where someone was chipping in another $5K in one of the games

    In order for you to believe that Goodell just made up all of this, you’d have to assume that every single one of those points never happend. However, even if one of them are true, then there was bounty system!!! More than enough arrows are pointing to something going on, they are guilty. Just because they didn’t have any “Cart Offs”, that just means they didn’t succeed. Attempted murder will still get you a lot of time behind bars, even if you don’t pull it off.

    (Also stunning that a Saints source claims that “whacks” are “legal” hits. In related news, the mafia clarifies that they are in fact garbage men…)

  10. skolvikes1 says: Jun 7, 2012 2:26 AM

    Florio’s playing the “devil’s advocate” role. I like it.

  11. mwindle1973 says: Jun 7, 2012 2:33 AM

    This is not very convincing. The Olineman popped his bicep in an attempt to block. Why would a bounty have been paid?

  12. saintsfan26 says: Jun 7, 2012 3:06 AM

    I think Florio’s point here is that Goodell punished the Saints so severely because he believed the Saints were intentionally trying to hurt others. But Goodell’s proof that Saints were actually intentionally trying to injure others, is laughable at best. Therefore the punishments dont fit the crime. Goodell says we were doing one thing, but the evidence shows we were doing something different.

  13. ilovefoolsball says: Jun 7, 2012 3:07 AM

    Oh Roger oh Roger.
    I can’t wait to see you on “outside the lines” 5 years from now to explain how it all went wrong.

  14. hauts81 says: Jun 7, 2012 3:14 AM

    This might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on this site. The Saints player who “injured” Backus probably didn’t even know what happened.

    “Yeah dude, my bad ass moves are gonna pop your biceps!”

  15. funktron2x says: Jun 7, 2012 3:27 AM

    This makes no sense Florio. Why would they reward a player for an accidental injury? There was no whack play, just a clean move that resulted in Backus making a desperate move that got him hurt. Think about it. In a room full of competitors, that injury isn’t worth a payout. That one gets laughed down because it wasn’t puposeful.

  16. discosucs2005 says: Jun 7, 2012 4:33 AM

    Regardless of what any of us think we all know only one person’s opinion matters…Stalin.

    Or Goodell, I always get those two confused.

  17. crabboil says: Jun 7, 2012 4:37 AM

    If the lineman was the only one that left the game, what were the two $200 payments for, if not big legal plays?

  18. sdisme says: Jun 7, 2012 6:17 AM

    For the group of you wondering, if there were payments for cart-offs, why didn’t someone receive a payment for Backus? The answer is because that is exactly what was claimed by the ledger in the 2009 games.

    Apparently in 2009 the ledger showed a cart off in the Giants game. The only player helped off was Kareem McKenzie. He had a groin pull.

    In the Carolina game (showed 3 payments for cart offs) the only player helped off the field was Thomas Davis who tore his ACL backpedaling (non contact).

    It’s difficult to keep up with the discrepancies on all the “evidence” that has been leaked, but make no mistake all of the evidence thus far has huge holes.

    And as truthfactory pointed out in his above post there is quite a bit of proof that the Saints had a pay for performance system in place. But all the evidence that points to a pay for injure program…for example the “email” where someone was chipping in $5000, well that evidence proved to be a joke sent from a man in prison to the Saints PR guy (not coach), joking with Gregg Williams because the NFL was “all over him” about bounties.

    And just as the NFL has twisted this story to make it much worse than it is let’s look again at truthfactory’s post where he talks about Hargrove running off the field saying pay me the money after he thought he knocked Farve out of the game. Here is the actual quote from Peter King (the person who released that evidence):

    ‘Hargrove excitedly slapped hands with teammates, saying, “Favre is out of the game! Favre is done! Favre is done!”‘

    And it a separate paragraph it states:

    ‘An on-field microphone directed toward the sideline caught an unidentified defender saying, “Pay me my money!”‘

  19. lionscornbread90 says: Jun 7, 2012 7:03 AM

    Is it just me or did anyone notice that Backus looks like Zack Galifianakis in that pic…LMAO

  20. neauxgeaux44 says: Jun 7, 2012 7:05 AM

    I never realized all the Saints haters are cashiers at Walmart….see idiot, jealous comments above….

  21. euphoni says: Jun 7, 2012 7:29 AM

    This is just further evidence that there was absolutely zero truth and merit to the NFL’s pay for INJURE allegations directed towards the Saints.

    Pay for performance vs. pay for injure (bounty) is COMPLETELY different

    Can the Saints org. file some sort of defamation lawsuit against Goodell for this smear campaign?

  22. cwwgk says: Jun 7, 2012 7:47 AM

    PFT is bound and determined to turn this into their “Watergate.” If they can only expose Goodell for the over zealous dictator they feel he is, PFT will claim its Pulitzer. Not sure if Florio fashions himself Woodward or Bernstein.

    What I do find interesting is the lack of focus on Goodell’s fiduciary duty. His duty in this process is not to the media nor the fans. The media and public’s self-righteous, indignant demand for “proof” completely ignores this governing principle. The NFL is a private business entity.

    In addition, Goodell’s actions are directed by what is required of him under the CBA. I would expect during Florio’s time as a practicing lawyer, to best advocate for his client he only produced evidence as required by the Court; not because any outside observers wanted, or demanded, to see it.

  23. jpsoldier24 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:05 AM

    To idiot 805 .9er DO U REALIZE HOW DUMB YOUR RESPONSE SOUNDS?? Could u please show me where any coach admitted to anything?? Greg Williams statement was written by the NFL THAT statement is not his words Hargrove statement was misscharaterized and the coaches have no choice but to keep their mouth shut they don’t have a union like the players they have to do exactly what the NFL tells them to do if they wanna coach i’n 2013 once again show me where someone admitted to anything?? In fact show me some proof or evidence ?? Oh I’m sorry their is NONE CAN u tell me the names of the players who were carted off or knocked out?? Oh i can tell u that ZERO lol i can’t wait till San Fran comes to the dome this upcoming season will see how much ur talkin after that game i know u can’t stand us but i understand it sucks being song good by the end of the week Drew Bree’s will be signed to a multi year deal !!!! Who is the hers QB?? Alex Smith lol

  24. solomon151 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:10 AM

    saintsfan26 says:
    Jun 7, 2012 3:06 AM
    I think Florio’s point here is that Goodell punished the Saints so severely because he believed the Saints were intentionally trying to hurt others. But Goodell’s proof that Saints were actually intentionally trying to injure others, is laughable at best. Therefore the punishments dont fit the crime. Goodell says we were doing one thing, but the evidence shows we were doing something different.
    ————————————————–
    Greg Williams said he ran a bounty system. Sean Payton Said they ran a bounty system. What are some of you missing?!?!?! They said they did it!!!!!!

  25. ksm31311 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:13 AM

    Yes. Of course. I see your point…

    There is no evidence and all of the Saints are innocent which is why the team – on their own Web site – stated the following:

    “To our fans, the NFL and the rest of our league, we offer our sincere apology and take full responsibility for these serious violations.

    It has always been the goal of the New Orleans Saints to create a model franchise and to impact our league in a positive manner.

    There is no place for bounties in our league and we reiterate our pledge that this will never happen again.”

  26. PFTiswhatitis says: Jun 7, 2012 8:23 AM

    REACH!

    I now see why you didn’t make it as a lawyer Mike. You are trying to make up evidence to support your case. Unfortunately it is YOUR evidence that is flawed. Instead of picking sides, why not remain unbiased (like a good journalist is expected) and simply expose the facts as they are? That’s what us readers really want.

  27. infectorman says: Jun 7, 2012 8:30 AM

    mwindle1973 says: Jun 7, 2012 2:33 AM

    This is not very convincing. The Olineman popped his bicep in an attempt to block. Why would a bounty have been paid?

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Exactly.

    Under the premise of a bounty system, the members of the Saints D would actually have to do something to “earn” their reward.
    Since, this injury was a basically circumstantial to a play that had basically nothing to do with a Saint defender’s actions, it would not warrant any type of payment from Williams money pool.

    Why doesn’t Florio see this? Mike, you need some sleep or a couple hits off of the reality pipe, because you aren’t making any sense…

  28. tv426 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:30 AM

    The only injuries inflicted by the Saints the entire time were accidental injuries. During the 3 yrs Williams was there, there was only ONE actual in-game cart-off – when the 49ers broke Reggie Bush’s leg. Reggie was a Saint, I’ll remind you. So fine the 49ers and suspend the coaches for years!

    Further, if the Saints were in fact trying to actually hurt people, there would be strong evidence of that in the form of lots of illegal and late hit penalties. But guess what – they were no where near the league leaders in either category. Not even close!!

    And the article yesterday was absurd. Offering $200 to a millionaire for a good hit is the same as a helmet sticker given to a college player. So are helmet stickers “bounties”? Suspend all the coaches that do that and kick the players out of school!

    This entire thing is the NFL trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

  29. usmeagle13 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:47 AM

    solomon151 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:10 AM

    Greg Williams said he ran a bounty system. Sean Payton Said they ran a bounty system. What are some of you missing?!?!?! They said they did it!!!!!!
    ————————————————–

    Yes they did run a bounty system. The problem is that now when most people hear “bounty” they immediately think of trying to injure… when that is not entirely true.

    Being payed out side of built in contract bounties (escalators) is illegal. But the only reason why the league, fans and the media have gotten so wound up about this story is injuries.

    And a story like this is used to show that the system did more than just pay for injuries. The only thing is that it is still against the rules… unless you put it in your contract. Then it’s ok.

    I’m not a Saints fan, I think that the players need to shut up, obviously the league has some evidence. But at the same time I think players paying players for good plays is fine, it really is just a helmet sticker or a QB taking his OL out for dinner.

  30. ksm31311 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:48 AM

    tv426 says:
    Jun 7, 2012 8:30 AM

    This entire thing is the NFL trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

    ——————-

    If that is the case, then why have the Saints, Loomis, Payton and Williams all apologized for their actions?

    Why aren’t they following Vilma into litigation?

  31. etjla says: Jun 7, 2012 9:01 AM

    No one has still said how this bounty system gave the Saints an unfair advantage in any game they played. What is the difference between this and giving a player a cash incentive in their contact on how many sacks or yards they made during the season. In fact the $200 bounties are chump change to what the players make in salaries. And dont’t tell me its because theu went around the salary cap. Like a few thousand dollars total really matters. They get more than that in free meals the team provides.

  32. skippynj says: Jun 7, 2012 9:13 AM

    Sweet Jesus I don’t care any more. I just want this off-season over so I’ll stop seeing non-stories about football players hitting each other illegally. When the Saints accept the Lombardi-gras trophy from Goodell (and his enormous security detail if he’s smart) next Feb. in the Dome, we’ll say thank you to the commish for galvanizing this team and their fan base and scream TWO DAT! TWO DAT! and then take the trophy to Sean Payton’s house for the party!

  33. raidafan7 says: Jun 7, 2012 9:18 AM

    $200???? According to the report Roman Harper received $200 for the “Whack” hit. Harper makes 3 Million a year. If you equate that to the real world, people who make about 60K a year that would equal a payment of $3.50. Would you really want to hurt someone for $3.50. Is this entire thing the same as you golfing with 3 friend, you approach a par 3 and say closest to the pin 5 dollars apiece?

  34. rgi22 says: Jun 7, 2012 10:03 AM

    Didn’t Williams already admit to and apologize for the whole bounty thing? Should be case closed right there

  35. johnnytubetop says: Jun 7, 2012 10:07 AM

    Per the NFL Rulebook: “Hand(s) or arm(s) that encircle a defender—i.e., hook an opponent—are to be considered illegal and officials are to call a foul for holding.”
    ———
    So Backus admitted that he tore a bicep while trying to make an illegal move. How is that the defender’s fault?

  36. sdisme says: Jun 7, 2012 10:13 AM

    ksm31311 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:48 AM

    If that is the case, then why have the Saints, Loomis, Payton and Williams all apologized for their actions?

    Why aren’t they following Vilma into litigation?

    ____________________________________

    It has been written many many times, but a pay for performance program is a violation of the bounty rule in the NFL. Even a QB buying their offensive line a watch DURING the season is a violation of the bounty rule.

    The Saints did break the bounty rule. And Gregg Williams even took it to a new level with his strong language.

    The problem is the players have been accused of targeting other players with intent to injure. They have been accused of specifically targeting players to mame. Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton were mentioned. What we are finding more and more with each piece of leaked evidence is this is not at all the case. Now we are seeing a shift in the media to justify the lack of evidence. Now a big hit (whack) is becoming evidence. Jim Schwartz admitted to pay for big hits. Rex Ryan wrote about dotting players.

    As for why the coaches did follow Vilma into litigation. They did appeal, but after that no court would have jurisdiction. Coaches do not have the same protection as the players. Their choice is to play ball or quit. Besides Sean Payton was suspended for “if he didn’t know he should have” or lack of institutional control. You can’t exactly sue the commissioner for saying that he didn’t know about the bounty program.

  37. tv426 says: Jun 7, 2012 10:43 AM

    ksm31311 says: Jun 7, 2012 8:48 AM

    tv426 says:
    Jun 7, 2012 8:30 AM

    This entire thing is the NFL trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

    ——————-

    If that is the case, then why have the Saints, Loomis, Payton and Williams all apologized for their actions?

    Why aren’t they following Vilma into litigation?
    ___________________
    Well said sdisme
    I’ll also add – what choice did they have? Goodell could have banned them for life for doing anything other than what they did.

    Again, mountain out of a mole hill.

  38. whatschappingmyass says: Jun 7, 2012 1:12 PM

    I’d like to “expose a flaw” in your spelling of the word “Evidence”!

  39. restoretheroar1 says: Jun 10, 2012 3:31 PM

    Saints broke bounty rule they were warned 3 times not do it but they kept on doing it so they paid the price. More that comes out More Goodell is right & Saints Vilma look bad plus there is audio NFC Championship Game 2010 pay me my money that Vilma put $10K for knockout of Brett there’s facts & proof. Saints are gulity and I don’t care what Vilma the liar says and his lawsuit is baseless & not legit NFL is right Saints are wrong.

    Saints fans are idiots & morons for supporting dirty players like Harper & Vilma they have no proof or facts in case.

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