NFL casts down the Saints

And you presented evidence which was pretty weak all things considered. If I remember correctly, they were 3rd in penalties over a period of a few years. That and two playoff games where they rough with a couple elderly NFL players does not really lead me to believe this was due to a relatively insignificant bounty. Did their penalty yards increase substantially as a result of bounty? Do they injure more people than the average team? Were they known for giving heap shots?

That’s a completely separate argument. If the NFL wants to drop the hammer because it’s bad for their PR machine, that’s fine. But pretending it’s because the Saints were out to injure people, or because you are sticking up for the players, is bullshit because the evidence doesn’t support it, and the players don’t really care.

Third in personal fouls during the years in which they were running the bounty scheme, yes.

:rolleyes: This is not complicated, however much you might want it to be: the Saints agreed to pay bonuses to the player who knocked Kurt Warner out of the game, and then they knocked Kurt Warner out of the game. He never played again. They did the same with Brett Favre, in the process causing an injury that required surgey.

See above.

Again, people took note of their play at the time as being unusual. That even included Favre. You would think he’d know when something unusual was happening.

How is it pretending to say the Saints were out to injury people when they were paying their players bonuses for injuring people?

At least this came down at a time where the Rams can recover and get something in place to replace Williams so that they are not being punished by association. The best the Saints are going to be able to do is elevate Spags to an interim HC position to try to maintain some continuity going into the preseason. I don’t thunk they have the time to get a new HC hired and in place before the Draft and minicamps open. This should put a big hurt on FA signing for the Saints, as well.

Have you lost your mind? They had a bounty system in place which had, as its stated purpose, to pay Saints players for injuring people. That’s not pretending.

I get that. Here is what I have a problem with. It’s perfectly fine for Williams to go, “Hey guys, let’s make sure with get pressure on Farve. I want this guy watching from the sidelines. Make sure we hit him as hard as we can. Etc, etc.” But, if he later rewards the guy with what amounts to roughly $50 for the average person, he is suspended indefinitely. The introduction of money is what the NFL seems to be objecting to, and I think that’s really stupid. There is already significant motivation to do everything the Saints are being accused of, and a pathetic monetary payment, especially one that comes from fines the players themselves have paid, is not going to be a significant motivator to break rules or violate your own moral conduct.

I said an INCREASE. What were the stats like before the program. What were they like before and after at the other places Williams coached? As I said before, I really don’t have a dog in this fight, but its really annoying listening to all this nonsense, and illogical arguments that an inherently brutal game played by millionaires is made more brutal, or less gentlemanly by an bounty system.

Which is why it’s perfectly understandable they would investigate. I don’t even really have a problem with the Saints being fined as they broke clearly delineated rules, but don’t try to sell me on the story that the trivial amounts of money motivate rich people to violate their own ethics.

Is there anyone involved in this entire investigation that contends they were told, or encouraged to deliberately injure players? Maybe I missed it, but most accounts I have read, do not make those statements.

It’s like if you paid parking attendants $1 for each car they can get towed based on numerous unpaid tickets. Do you really think they would start writing false tickets just so they can get paid? Would they work any harder to do their job? I doubt it.

Wow. When this story first came out I was actually shocked at how shocked people seemed to be over it, figuring this kind of thing was probably a matter of course in NFL locker rooms, just part of the culture of pro football.

So either the Saints situation was truly unique, or there are a bunch of other teams sweating bullets right now wondering if they’ll be the next to get caught. Which do you folks think it is?

I don’t think so, since you seem to be misunderstanding or ignoring the entire purpose of most of the bounties (and you seem unclear on where the money came from). The Saints were using money to encourage players to hurt opponents. The players actually got one amount of money for knocking players out of the game and more money if their opponents were hurt so badly they couldn’t walk off the field and had to be taken off on a motorized cart. Please explain to me how that is anything other than encouraging injuries. If the player is out of the game, he’s out of the game - a sprain can do that. The only difference is in how severely he might be injured and what type of injury he might have.

I get the sense you’re trying to make this into something it isn’t. Encouraging to do something wrong (going out of their way to hurt someone while playing) is wrong regardless of whether it gets the other person to do it - and in the case of the Saints, it looks like it did get them to try to injure other players.

The second one. Williams coached several other teams, and other players have admitted to doing this.

The article I read stated that teams can’t institute rewards for positive things either (e.g., interceptions).

Given that fact, a severe punishment for injury-based rewards is more than reasonable.

Also, the dude lied to cover it up! They pretty much HAVE to hammer hard for that. I could see the cover-up alone being justifiable reason for severe penalties.

I did a little digging around on Pro Football Reference. Alas, their stats on penalties are pretty skimpy, but I did find a defensive stat on “number of first downs given up via penalty”. What I found:

2007: 18 first downs given up via penalty
2007: 12
2008: 19
2009: 24
2010: 29
2011: 38

Average for the three years before the bounty program: 16.3
Average for the three years of the bounty program (09-11): 30.3

I didn’t do the math to see if the league averaged also increased, but that’s nearly a doubling. Granted, not all of the above penalties were due to personal fouls, and some personal fouls may not have yielded first downs (i.e,. the opponent had already gotten a first down on the play), but it does suggest that there was a change.

I think bounties are fairly common, as is the culture them allows them to arise. Note that Williams was accused of doing this in a few different places. Anyone else doubt that the NFL will penalize anyone in those places?

The NFL has to cover their ass, and try to make a inherently brutal game palatable to a mass audience. Nothing will really change as a result, so get used to seeing crippled former players because that will not end just because the Saints stopped “paying people to do it”. I also think it’s fairly instructive to look at how the player’s themselves are responding. The vast majority are not too bothered by it. For every tweet like this:

There are a bunch like these:

A little more research on Pro Football Reference to see if the Saints’ increase was indicative of a general upward trend in the league. The first number below is the Saints, by year, and the second number is the per-team average for the league

Defensive First Downs Given Up Via Penalty

Year NO NFL
2006 18 24
2007 12 21
2008 19 20
2009 24 23
2010 29 23
2011 38 27

So, not only did the Saints give up more first downs via penalty once the bounty system began, but the team went from being less penalized than average, to substantially more penalized than average (particularly in 2010 and 2011).

You seem to be accepting as a predicate that the bounties worked to actually change behavior, and that players would change their behavior in a way that is typically looked down upon. Yes, people respond to incentives, but that doesn’t mean people are incentivized to take action any time there is anything to be gained. I don’t think the bounty program outlined in the allegations is a sufficient inducement to break the rules or play dirty. Period.

The money came from money the team fined the players for breaking team rules, and money contributed by players themselves.

Every NFL team encourages injuries. That why the tell them to tackle the way they do; not like Rugby players. Players are already paid to injure players; it’s called their salary. You seem to be hung up on this distinction that that causing injuries is not a listed duty of their job, but that is incredibly naive. I can quote player after player saying they want to hurt people on the field. That is their outlook absent a bounty.

We wouldn’t even be having this discussion if money were not involved. This is not about safety or the vulgarity of payments for results. Doesn’t it seem ridiculous that you could have likely done everything they did without an exchange of money, and nobody would have been punished? It’s like how you can’t explicitly pay for sex, but you can spend money on the person in the pursuit to get it. It’s just a rule to make people feel better, not to actually change behavior.

I don’t think they were encouraging people to go out of their way to hurt others in ways they don’t already do. I don’t think there was any encouragement to play dirty.

Can you acknowledge that kenobi_65 is addressing you as well and with some actual numbers for you to try to shoot down?

Can I get a few minutes to do so before you jump down my throat?

Good work, and certainly worth investigating, but 1st down via penalty doesn’t tell you much in and of itself. Is there a breakdown of what kinds of penalties they were?

You’re right, it’s not a perfect indicator, but, as far as I can tell, it’s the only stat on defensive penalties which Pro Football Reference has in their summaries. Ideally, I’d like to be able to see what the personal foul numbers looked like by year. It might be on NFL.com. Will keep digging.

Right, it might’ve all been a coincidence. Yes, they were called for a lot of penalties; yes, they were a more penalized team with the bounties in place; yes, they targeted specific players and caused significant injuries to some of those targeted players; yes, the payments canceled out some or all of the fines the NFL uses to discourage these kinds of plays; yes, the players were paid more if they caused a more severe injury. But that hardly proves anything.

I would rather talk about what actually happened than waste time speculating about the ethics of people I don’t know and know little about on a personal level. What I do know is that the Saints defense rewarded players for injuring people, and the way they did it makes it clear we’re talking about going beyond what happens in the game, which makes it uncalled for. If guys get hurt playing, that sucks, but it happens. If a team is going out of its way to encourage hurting other players beyond what is necessary to make plays so they can get a competitive advantage, it’s another issue, and that matters to me more than the dollars.

I think it was obvious a couple of threads ago that nothing would convince you. Apparently the only thing that could’ve proved the bounties were related to any dirty play or injury would’ve been Jonathan Vilma cutting a check to Bobby McCray on the sidelines and writing “Re: Brett Favre Bounty” in the memo field. Since the Saints were smart enough to pay cash and do it behind closed doors, there is simply no proof that the Saints’ bounty pool was in any way related to the high number of personal fouls, the increase in penalties, or the fact that they seriously injured Kurt Warner and Brett Favre after explicitly targeting them.

Update: found team defensive penalties by year on NFL.com (though, nothing on type of penalty, but more on that in a moment). Here’s what the Saints look like, on number of penalties, and yards penalized, on defense, over the past six seasons (three seasons before the bounty program, then the three seasons of the bounty program):

2006: 89 penalties, 674 yards
2007: 89 penalties, 685 yards
2008: 84 penalties, 637 yards
2009: 86 penalties, 717 yards
2010: 88 penalties, 701 yards
2011: 109 penalties, 912 yards

So, other than 2011 (a year in which I suspect penalties may have been up league-wide, due to increased vigilance on defensive hits), the bounty program didn’t lead to any increase in penalties against the Saints. However, the yards penalized did go up somewhat (possibly reflecting an increase in 15-yard personal fouls). Looking at the “yards per penalty” by year for the Saints:

2006: 7.6 yards per penalty
2007: 7.7
2008: 7.6
2009: 8.3
2010: 8.0
2011: 8.4

I have no idea if that’s a statistically significant increase, but it does look interesting.

The players on Twitter complaining more about snitches than the organized attempts to seriously injure other players is unconscionable. The “snitch” was probably an offensive player sick of a league-wide defensive mindset of not just hitting hard and hurting, but headhunting, cheap shots, and the desire to inflict bone brain and ligament damage, not just lu/ps and bruises.

Does suspending the Saints’ GM for 8 games actually do anything? There aren’t typically many moves being made during the season, what does a GM even do during the first half of a season?

Yeah, I don’t think anyone is giving the players’ comments any weight at all. Well, most everyone that is.

I saw Drew Brees’s twitter quoted:

Uh. Mr. Brees, you don’t have to look far. Read ANY article or message board and you’ll be up to speed.

Edit:
Actually, I take that back. The Jail comment is actually a pretty good one. He’s totally right. Paying someone to cause injury IS a crime. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but I agree.