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Tagliabue’s ruling suggests Saints were targeting Peyton Manning, too

Super Bowl XLIV Getty Images

The bounty case has only ever mentioned two quarterbacks whom the Saints faced on their early 2010 run to the Super Bowl:  former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.  Though common sense suggests that the team’s defensive attitude also applied to former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning — especially since former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had said that the team hoped to apply “remember me” hits to the New Orleans native — no evidence had pointed to a pointed effort to target Peyton.

The 22-page written ruling from former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue implies otherwise.  Though the name “Peyton Manning” appears nowhere in the document, Tagliabue’s characterization of PowerPoint slides that had not previously been disclosed suggests that information encouraging an effort to knock Manning out of Super Bowl XLIV was given to the Saints players after they had beaten Arizona and Minnesota.

Here’s the full quote from Tagliabue’s ruling, with emphasis added:

“The record includes PowerPoint slide presentations made by the Saints’ coaching staff to Saints’ players following the Saints’ victories in 2009 season playoff games against the Arizona Cardinals (with quarterback Kurt Warner) and the Minnesota Vikings (with quarterback Brett Favre).  Several of these presentations are very graphic and suggest that the aim of the Saints’ defense was to injure these quarterbacks.  For example, one slide set following the game against the Cardinals includes a photo of Kurt Warner lying on the ground with a caption: ‘SO WE WILL JUST DESTROY EACH QUARTERBACK LEAVING EACH TEAM WITHOUT A FIELD GENERAL! ONE DOWN TWO QB’S TO GO!’ . . . . Another slide set from after the NFC Championship game again includes photos of Kurt Warner lying on the field with a caption of ‘BOO F***ING HOO MISSION ACCOMPLISHED VS. WARNER AND FAVRE’; and the next slide includes photos of Brett Favre being helped off the field and of his bruised and bandaged ankle and leg, with a caption of ‘ONE MORE QB TO GO!!!!‘”

The “ONE MORE QB TO GO” was Peyton Manning.  And though the Saints never injured Peyton Manning via the application of legal or illegal hits, he surely was a target.  The slides to which Tagliabue refers prove it.

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54 Responses to “Tagliabue’s ruling suggests Saints were targeting Peyton Manning, too”
  1. brenenostler says: Dec 11, 2012 3:53 PM

    Sweet, I’m glad the evidence is coming out.

  2. insidej0b says: Dec 11, 2012 3:54 PM

    Of course he was a target. Every quarterback in every single game played in the history of forever is and was a target.

  3. radbob1 says: Dec 11, 2012 3:54 PM

    Trash talk in locker rooms is now grounds for suspension.

  4. bucrightoff says: Dec 11, 2012 3:59 PM

    Staggering they’re being allowed to walk. More important to avoid the possibility of losing than to serve justice I suppose.

  5. delrmi05 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:00 PM

    I’m more surprised at people’s general reaction towards Goodell over the course of these investigations than I am to these powerpoint slides. You don’t have to like him, but if you’re in a position of power how could you allow things like this to happen without some sort of repercussion?

    Maybe the NFL’s role was completely botched like a Romo field goal hold but you have to hold the right people accountable some how.

    Not only do targeted players suffer but the fans of New Orleans deserved better this year.

  6. pftcommenter says: Dec 11, 2012 4:02 PM

    oh man,,my take= implies saints could forfeit nfc playoff game’s and super bowl we’re just getting started here folks

  7. bigjdve says: Dec 11, 2012 4:04 PM

    Well Duh! At this point, how funny would it be if Vilma’s suit gets all that evidence out in the open and it really does make the Saints look bad?

    What I am starting to think is that they found evidence that Benson was in on it, and since they can’t nail one of their own for something like that, they hit him where they can.

    More and more it looks like the Saints are in the same boat as the Cowboys and Redskins. Certain owners want to punish other owners but they have to do it in certain ways so that they players can’t get them back for it.

    How messed up would that be? I mean if the players were as not guilty as they say they are, why isn’t Benson defending them?

    For all of the talk about how bad Goodell is, Benson hasn’t said much of anything in defense of his coaches or players. That is telling. What it tells us, I am not sure.

  8. cakemixa says: Dec 11, 2012 4:04 PM

    I don’t understand the point of this post.

  9. thejohnsmith1122 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:04 PM

    Oh wow…this alone doesn’t show any evidence against certain players or support they have a pay to injure program, but it sure sounds like the intent was to go out there and injure someone.

  10. daknight93 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:05 PM

    Just ridiculous…just because a coach says these targeted actions doesn’t equate to actions on the field by the player

  11. seahawks55 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:05 PM

    So wait. Is Gregg Williams suggesting that when their starting QB goes out that team’s chances of winning drop significantly? I’m pretty sure the inherent focus of a defense is to hit the other team as hard as possible. Nothing to see here.

  12. mrlaloosh says: Dec 11, 2012 4:05 PM

    I’m just guessing but, doesn’t EVERY team try to knock out the others quarterback. It increases your chances of WINNING considerably.

  13. jonny42671 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:06 PM

    Wow……how can the Saints and their fans think this is right ? Very sad !!

  14. flipola says: Dec 11, 2012 4:08 PM

    I don’t doubt they tried to take out anybody and everybody.

    There’s a lot on the line. Win at all cost. But sweet Jesus, where’s the sportsmanship?

  15. jbl429 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:08 PM

    Classy. Yet some idiots will still defend the Saints here.

  16. raidafan7 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:09 PM

    Really? I guess every QB has a target on his back. I guess it is every defenders job to hit the guy with the ball as hard as he can in an attempt to dislodge it. I guess every defender out there has a “Bounty”. I guess Vilma and the rest were just doing what every team does. I guess the NFL just needed a scapegoat….. I guess Roger just made an example out of the Saints.

  17. paulitik74 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:09 PM

    I don’t care about player suspensions or fines. The Saints Lombardi should be confiscated.

    You should win championships based on pride and hard work, not through under the table envelopes based on trying to end careers, or knock people out of the game. Shameful.

  18. gochargersgo says: Dec 11, 2012 4:10 PM

    Lets hear all those saints fans back on here about how they did nothing wrong and victory is theres. Disgusting. Just because the players’ suspensions wouldnt have held up in a court room doesnt mean you arent all scumbags.

  19. vikesfansteve says: Dec 11, 2012 4:10 PM

    Duh, the league probably regrets now having the refs hand them the victory in OT over the Vikings with 3 bad calls in a row. Not to mention not calling the penalty on the high/low hit that practically tore off Favre’s foot.

  20. tdk24 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:11 PM

    A defense that doesn’t target the opposing Quarterback is a defense that doesn’t see the playoffs.

  21. pkrlvr says: Dec 11, 2012 4:11 PM

    FU Drew Brees and anyone else who thinks this is ok. Unreal! The team actually made up powerpoint slides and yet DB has the balls to go on twitter and act as if they were exonerated and didn’t do anything wrong?! Maybe one day some POS dc like Williams will have a picture of his broken body on a slide and then Brees will wipe that smug smile off his face.

    Their sb win will forever be tainted….rightfully so.

  22. emoser says: Dec 11, 2012 4:13 PM

    Laying hard hits is one thing. Gleefully celebrating injuries and specifically planning to injure more players is another.

    It sounds like the Saints were basically a bunch of Suh-like personalities, running around taking joy in causing injuries.

  23. kane337 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:13 PM

    What a dirty bunch. They deserve a losing season.

  24. jjarvis says: Dec 11, 2012 4:17 PM

    Wow. I’m not sure how this should or shouldn’t apply to Vilma et al., but I’ve been following this story for a while, and this is the most damning evidence I’ve read about the bounties, generally. What else has been withheld to make the league look better I wonder? Forget the money for a moment. What’s clear from these presentation quotes is that the intent was to injure. That should be the most egregious and shameful aspect I think. It’s worse than Suh or Haynesworth or these other guys that in the heat of the moment get out of control. This is premeditated encouraged injury-creation. Bad stuff.

  25. dcviking says: Dec 11, 2012 4:18 PM

    Injure the other team’s QB — that’s our goal.

    Clearly all members of the Saints defense during this time frame should be exempted from ever filing suit against the NFL as it pertains to safety or dangerous play…after all, they all accepted this mantra as their creedo for that the playoffs that year.

    It clearly illustrates they had no regard for player safety, and thus no regard for their long term well-being so being accorded to them.

  26. goodellsadouche says: Dec 11, 2012 4:25 PM

    Maybe those 5 turnovers cost y’all the game.

  27. hor2012 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:26 PM

    bigjdve
    or there’s no evidence and that’s why the league doesn’t want it to come out.

  28. hor2012 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:30 PM

    vikesfansteve
    Your team lost. Just like it did against Miami, Oak, KC, and Pitt in the superbowl. And, just like you lost in the NFC championship games when you couldn’t close the deal against Atlanta or NY Giants, and not to forget the Cowboys when Roger and Drew Pearson beat you. You turned the ball over five times that sunday that’s why you lost, so get over it.

  29. daknight93 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:32 PM

    Its just aggressive lockerroom talk..relax folks this is not serious cause all 31 teams talk same way stop being so sensitive this is football and not soccer

  30. bgrab1 says: Dec 11, 2012 4:36 PM

    By the way Morons it is every defensive coordinators plan in the league to get to the QB and rattle him. It is football for Gods sakes. There is no eveidence of any foul play of the league would have proved it and upheld the suspensions. Its time for the court to get involved in this mess because I have had it with the unfounded mud slinging at the Saints. Judge B it is your turn to make a ruling.

  31. dukemarc says: Dec 11, 2012 4:39 PM

    I wonder how Breesus would feel if his ugly mug showed up in a PowerPoint presentation like that?

    I’d bet he’d want an explanation.

  32. chattanola says: Dec 11, 2012 4:43 PM

    There are certain themes common to pre-game pep talks across the league. It’s part of the defense’s role to rattle, harass, intimidate and sack the opposing QB. Every QB is targeted every game.

    If a coach’s pregame speech to the D contains “kill the quarterback”, does anyone take that in a literal sense? No. Words and images are used to jack up the men because football is a violent and physical game.

    Why assume that this was language used only by the Saints? Going after the weapons of the opposing team is part of the tradition and history of football.

  33. bearnmind says: Dec 11, 2012 4:45 PM

    Maybe everyone should read the WHOLE decision instead of making comments based on one paragraph. Context matters people. Amazingly, the decision also says Payton didn’t participate in a bounty program but was suspended for not doing a better job of stopping Williams after finding out about it. But somehow that’s been translated into Payton admitted to a Bounty program. So yes, context matters.

  34. bearnmind says: Dec 11, 2012 4:47 PM

    If you want to see a bounty program in action, look no further than the Lion’s Suh who deliberately tries to injure players on national TV and then tell me how much Goodell cares about player safety. Glass houses…

  35. hor2012 says: Dec 11, 2012 5:00 PM

    gochargersgo

    We did nothing wrong. Oh, by the way I hope you get good seats when you’re watching you team in LA

  36. tommysaint1 says: Dec 11, 2012 5:00 PM

    Sorry to all the NFL players. Text book tackling and locker room talks are all banned.

    No one tried to injure anyone. the only QBs that were injured were both 40 years old and probably shouldn’t be playing with a bunch of 20 year old guys.

    this is classic Gwill and his motivation tactics.

    come on NFL, you loss but you can come back with better than locker room trash talk right?

  37. ravensgrl says: Dec 11, 2012 5:04 PM

    I see the evidence pointing to wanting to hurt the QBs, but where the evidence that offering $$ occurred???

  38. cvieira18 says: Dec 11, 2012 5:21 PM

    Sean Payton’s favorite phrase = Do your Job!!!

    How ironic that he turned a blind eye. Wouldn’t that be the total opposite of do your job?

  39. FinFan68 says: Dec 11, 2012 5:25 PM

    Isn’t it odd that the same evidence existed for bounties on Favre, Warner and Manning but the only one never mentioned was Manning. He’s also the only one still in the league and still paying dues to the union that is supporting the players involved. What would happen if Manning decided to sue? That could be devastating to the NFLPA and ultimately the league.

  40. antalicus says: Dec 11, 2012 5:28 PM

    Wow, that much evidence and those fools tried to deny it?

  41. dcmaxx says: Dec 11, 2012 5:44 PM

    Some of you are really sissies. The Saints didn’t lay a hand on Peyton Manning and hit Kurt Warner fair and square. As far as the high-low there shouldn’t be one Viking fan still crying about that since their hometown boys just did the same thing last week to Cutler not to mention the blindside hit Allen left on the OL that put him on IR a couple of weeks ago. Some of you need to get over yourselves.

  42. bathroomben7 says: Dec 11, 2012 5:46 PM

    Absolutely disgusting. What a disgrace to the NFL, football, and the fans that have supported the Saints. The entire team should have been suspended for a year.

  43. thejuddstir says: Dec 11, 2012 5:49 PM

    Tags may have overturned the suspensions (and who really cares now, none of the players are playing or contributing to their teams) but he also said they were guilty. Lessening the suspension has nothing to do with the guilt factor.

  44. nolajoe says: Dec 11, 2012 5:51 PM

    How many other teams do the same thing? This could be common practice to fire up a defense. It’s clearly an exaggeration to make a point. This really proves nothing at all about the Saints until there is evidence to show that no other team uses this type of motivational technique.

  45. booker1974 says: Dec 11, 2012 6:05 PM

    So the Saints were trying to put licks on the opposing quarterbacks they faced in the playoffs? Get out of here!!

    Seriously, people need to actually read Tagliabue’s full report, and Williams has never made any attempt to hide his desire to get after opposing quarterbacks. Tough talk happens in locker rooms across the league, the Saints were not unique in this regard. The key thing, to which Tagliabue commented, is that the on field play was not over the line or indicative of anything out of the ordinary. Locker room bravado did not equal dirty play on the field.

  46. mrpowers88 says: Dec 11, 2012 6:06 PM

    How bad would this have been if the Saints actually had players that were good enough to actually carry out their intentions?

    The only reason Peyton didn’t get hit was because he’s already programmed to get the ball out so he doesn’t get hit within the confines of the play- therefore, he wouldn’t get hit after the play, which is when the Saints did their damage.

    The only difference between the Saints defense that season and the defense in any other season is that Darren Sharper was a ballhawk in the secondary forcing turnovers. Outside of that, they just weren’t that good.

  47. corvusrex96 says: Dec 11, 2012 6:15 PM

    “You mean to tell me that the Saints were trying take me out of the game during the SB loss ??” Cue the Peyton Manning face

  48. goldrush36 says: Dec 11, 2012 6:17 PM

    Just imagine the outrage if it were Brady. They would be pushing for criminal charges and life sentences.. LOL okay in all seriousness though I think the player suspensions may have been a bit severe but everything else was fair. Now on the other hand we have NO player punishment and to me that is much worse than too much punishment and I’m not buying the do whatever coach says BS. Plenty of people have integrity to make their own decisions. Obviously Darnell Dockett disobeyed an order to intentionally let the jets score. He may be mouthy at times but he plays clean and obviously has some sense to not always follow blindly. Its just unfortunate he lacked the sense to not spit in ones face when disagreeing with that order but hell as much as I hate him, I give him props

  49. kylexitron says: Dec 11, 2012 6:51 PM

    The saints were trying to tackle the QB they played in the superbowl? What horrible human beings!

    Get over it already.

  50. dcmaxx says: Dec 11, 2012 6:53 PM

    So, I guess all of you that are outraged by the Saints wouldn’t mind an investigation going back the last 3 years of your organization’s behind the scenes deals, locker room talk, coach’s pre game speeches, etc? I’m sure all of your teams are made up of choir boys.

  51. justafanofitall says: Dec 11, 2012 7:08 PM

    So the question: Who received money for hurting these two QB’s? They should be suspended…any words from Vilma on this one. Should be able to check Saints bank accounts during the time in question.

  52. promickey says: Dec 11, 2012 7:22 PM

    So the Tagliabue ruling confirms that the testimony provided by Gregg Williams is not credible.

  53. tatvin says: Dec 11, 2012 7:47 PM

    Karma is how the Saints totally SUCK this year

  54. cowboycjn says: Dec 12, 2012 8:35 AM

    Power point slides??? thats like writing anything you want on paper. How does that saying go, “Paper don’t refuse ink”. I build power point slides everyday teaching in college for class – you enter and type whatever you want on the slide, that doesn’t mean it happen. So whats the point he wrote a bunch of captions on slides- and that’s all they have for evidence????
    So if I took a picture of Godell and placed it on a slide then typed a caption that this man is wanted in all 50 states for a terrible crime – now thats proof – better get real here.

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