The NFL came down hard on the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday for their bounty program. For their part in encouraging vicious hits Saints head coach was suspended a year (starting April 1), GM Mickey Loomis will miss eight games and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely. The team was also fined 500,000 dollars and docked a second and third round draft choice this year.
That’s frankly a huge penalty, one that could effectively sink the Saints if not addressed properly. There is some ambiguity as to when Loomis begins his suspension. Drew Brees is up for a contract and if Loomis cannot operate the team until midway through the season that futher complicates things. Either way the Saints are in trouble this upcoming season.
This whole saga began when the NFL started investigating claims that the Saints were paying out bounties for devastating hits during the 2009 season. A pot of as high as 50,000 dollars was collected and doled out for hits that knocked players out of games and fired up the defense.
Whether or not that’s just football or an over the line is debatable, but clearly based on the penalties handed down today, the NFL feels it was the latter.