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Best Article I Have Read So Far On Saints Punishment Sums Up What We Have Known For A While


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http://www.cbssports...right-on-target

This is a lesson about unfiltered arrogance and what happens when men and organizations lose themselves after first finding themselves.

The New Orleans Saints have gone from the toast of a nation to just toast. It has been a long, strange trip from post-Katrina national heroes to one of the more historic disgraces in recent NFL history. And the Saints' fall from grace can be traced back to one man: Sean Payton.

Payton being suspended for the season is the strongest message NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could have sent, and it's well-deserved.

"The NFL's extensive investigation established the existence of an active bounty program on the Saints during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons in violation of league rules, a deliberate effort to conceal the program's existence from league investigators," said the NFL in a statement, "and a clear determination to maintain the program despite express direction from Saints ownership that it stop as well as ongoing inquiries from the league office."

"We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game," Goodell said. "We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised."

"A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious. When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game."

A variety of league sources say the phasering of the Saints franchise by Goodell is as much about Payton and the Saints as it is about Goodell attempting to change the NFL's brutal culture, and they're correct. Payton has long been on the league's radar, and not in a good way.

Goodell wants to wisely change the NFL's ways from the old days of headhunting and bounties to a modern sport that is more civilized and less dangerous. To do this, Goodell knows he can't just attack players. He has to also control the coaches and teams that encourage this behavior.

As a result of Goodell's actions -- the right actions -- this type of extremeness will die a glorious death, at least for the near future. Not only will bounties never happen again, but Payton and the Saints will serve as a great cautionary tale for every other coach and team that believes they are above the rules.

The player discipline will come soon. One person with knowledge of the situation said Goodell has asked union head DeMaurice Smith for his advice on how to proceed in that direction.

To the NFL, and to almost everyone else in football not within the state of Louisiana, Payton has been the most arrogant man in the sport for the past several years. The league warned him about his association with felonious skunk Michael Ornstein, who has twice been convicted of fraud. Payton mostly ignored them. Later, the NFL determined Ornstein actually placed a bounty bet.

When a lawsuit by the team's former head of security, an ex-FBI agent, alleged there was a cover-up of Vicodin abuse, Payton's name eventually surfaced as part of the legal action. Payton denied any wrongdoing, and the league rolled its eyes.

There were many other issues. To the NFL, the Saints were getting out of control, and to the NFL, Payton has been the reason.

In this new Goodell world, everyone is accountable. Not just players. Not just arrogant coaches like Payton. Owners are, too. Everyone, including entire franchises.

Illegally videotape franchises? Lose picks and cash. Fail to protect players, and even, encourage them in Bountygate? Get hammered as well.

Payton has been able to act with impunity and great arrogance because of the market he's in. The city of New Orleans -- one of the greatest on the planet -- has suffered greatly with a long line of losers going back decades that caused fans to both cover their heads with paper bags and stick their faces in them to hyperventilate.

Fans don't care if Payton berates reporters with loads of foul language or bans them from covering practice (which is against NFL rules) or has Vicodin issues or is sued by the former head of security. They don't care if Payton was a bully. He won. He brought them a Super Bowl. That's all that matters to fans.

The problem is, all along, in a somewhat isolated media market, Payton was becoming out of control. I knew Payton when he worked in New York. He was a nerd. The power in New Orleans changed him into something different, and that difference, in my opinion, is what allowed the culture of Bountygate to grow.

Every team in the league should use the Payton and the Saints as an instructional video on how not to handle success. Any team that doesn't learn from this disaster, well, it's on you. Goodell will be watching.

And good for him.

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Not so much in the light of this scandal, but earllier in the year and at the start of the season, people have posted "I don't care HOW we win, I just want to win". I think the Saints are a shining example of why it DOES matter how you win, and if the option is to win by cheating, or to get knocked out in the playoffs with a decent crop of players and coaches, then as painful as it might be, I'd stick with the latter every time.

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Here are some good ones from an article on Slate http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2012/03/saints_bounty_scandal_sean_payton_brought_his_year_long_suspension_on_himself_.html

My best guess is that the Saints’ 2010 Super Bowl victory led the staff to close ranks and to continue stuffing cash in envelopes. A confession in the aftermath of such a triumphant moment would’ve devastated the franchise and the team’s fans. At the same time, the Super Bowl win led the Saints’ brass to the erroneous conclusion that the bounties had worked—that the team’s positive turnover ratio in the 2009-10 season was the result of a highly motivated, “nasty” defense. If the cash payments made New Orleans’ defense better, the effect wore off quickly. In 2011, the blitz-happy Saints finished third-to-last in the NFL in passing yards allowed and 28th in interceptions. That’s the ultimate irony: The team concocted an elaborate super-structure of malfeasance that led to its defense being terrible.

When the bounties get toted up, then, it’s likely to be Sean Payton who loses the most. The head coach, universally thought of as a play-calling genius, has gotten much of the credit for the team’s turnaround over the last five years. If the Saints keep on winning without him on the sidelines, he’ll suffer yet another blow to his reputation. In the end, Payton will have been exposed as arrogant, irrational, and—worst of all—inessential.

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As bad as this is going to sound....they still got a lombardi out of it and it can't be taken away so it couldn't have been all bad.

I want to know that feeling of having my team be champions, sure the saints are effed in the A now but if they could go back and do it over i bet most of them would do it all over again to get that Lombardi. To have that feling of pure elation that you are the best and have destroyed all that opposed you. I bet they wouldnt give that up for the world, and I cant honestly say i would think less of them for that. Also doesn't hurt that they the saints so it's harder to think any more less of them.

Regardless of anything they were willing to do what it took to get that lombardi and the nfl is letting them keep it. So anyone who thinks this won't happen again/ continue to happen is fooling themselves.

We might get caught or we might win it all. I believe most would take those odds and go for the win. Especially in such a results based high pressure profession.

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The articles posted may be right. But at the end of day, the Saints still have their super bowl title, and aren't getting that taken away. And to me, that's wrong. If you were to anonymously survey 100 guys who have been head coaches that have never won a super bowl, and asked them "Would you go above the rules if it meant you earned a super bowl ring but sacrifice a season suspension, would you do it?" I'd be interested how many of them would say yes knowing that their answer is anonymous. Payton may be suspended for the season, but at the end of the day and for the rest of his life, he still succeeded in his cheating plans because he gets to wear that ring.

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The articles posted may be right. But at the end of day, the Saints still have their super bowl title, and aren't getting that taken away. And to me, that's wrong. If you were to anonymously survey 100 guys who have been head coaches that have never won a super bowl, and asked them "Would you go above the rules if it meant you earned a super bowl ring but sacrifice a season suspension, would you do it?" I'd be interested how many of them would say yes knowing that their answer is anonymous. Payton may be suspended for the season, but at the end of the day and for the rest of his life, he still succeeded in his cheating plans because he gets to wear that ring.

Wow, we must've been typing the same thoughts at the same time.....creepy.

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I doubt any head coach is going to allow this sort of thing in the future - even if it means the superbowl. They stand to lose millions of dollars and they face a real possibility of losing their jobs... forever. Being the object of scorn and ridicule... forever.

If he knew what he stood to lose, do you really think Payton would do it all again? I don't. Payton isn't a fan.

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I read this and a few more already. It gets right to the heart of why they deserve what they got. I absolutely love honest, truthful coverage.

The biggest problem is having to wade through the sea of writers who have no balls and refuse to get to the truth of the matter because they have been castrated with political correctness and worried that someone might not like what they wrote!!

If people write to please others, what the hells the point? This is dead on and I can really appreciate the hard core facts.

That jackazz payton got even less than what he deserves. Too bad that moron Benson wont have what it takes to do the right thing... Instead of sending a message himself, he is in full support of paytons corruption... idiots...

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Awesome read, you could always see that smug, arrogant look and slight smirk on his face in games and it made me sick. Especially when they ran the score up to get Brees the record. **** Payton.

Yeah, that passing record game was the worst officiated piece of crap I've ever seen. Honestly, it bordered on WWF in how pre-determined the outcome was gonna be. At least in the Katrina bowl, they came out and kicked our butt. That MNF game was a joke. We had NO chance to win that game. Every call went against us and every time we got the slightest momentum it was squashed by the refs. It was very clear the networks had an agenda, and that directly drove the officiating.

Saints are getting what they DESERVE by gawd.

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Yeah, that passing record game was the worst officiated piece of crap I've ever seen. Honestly, it bordered on WWF in how pre-determined the outcome was gonna be. At least in the Katrina bowl, they came out and kicked our butt. That MNF game was a joke. We had NO chance to win that game. Every call went against us and every time we got the slightest momentum it was squashed by the refs. It was very clear the networks had an agenda, and that directly drove the officiating.

Saints are getting what they DESERVE by gawd.

Hey Since68, I dont know which games you were watching, but i respectfully disagree... The saints just whipped our *** and we could do nothing to stop it. Azz whoopings like this are just another reason we have new coordinators... We also need to add more talent of course as well.

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Hey Since68, I dont know which games you were watching, but i respectfully disagree... The saints just whipped our *** and we could do nothing to stop it. Azz whoopings like this are just another reason we have new coordinators... We also need to add more talent of course as well.

You know, the one where the hold in the end zone was called off because he was shedding the block.....That game

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