The punishments dispensed by the NFL seem harsh. Head Coach Sean Payton has been suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season. Saints' GM Mickey Loomis has been suspended for 8 games. Asisstant Joe Vitt has been suspended for 6 games. Former Saints' Defensive Coordinator (now working for the Rams) Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely. The Saints will forfeit their 2nd round picks in 2012 and 2013 (they do not have a 1st round pick this year). They've also been fined $500,000.
That seems intense. And I'm sure some will compare this to the NFL's lack of suspensions after SpyGate.
However, guys like Williams didn't cooperate with the investigation into this. And he's even admitted to attempting to obstruct it.
Furthermore, the Saints violated salary cap rules with these bounties. You can't do that. It's explicitly against the rules. There's no gray area, no need to send memos to remind the coaches. You can't give someone an under the table bonus for an interception. This isn't college football.
Finally, I think these bounties had more impact on games played on the field than tapes of opposing signal-callers that were viewed after the game was played. Call me crazy.
The punishments seem harsh. But do you think any team will allow such a bounty program to exist after today? Do you think any Head Coach will just shrug and move on with his business? This punishment is about deterring teams from doing this in the future. And I think in that respect, it will be very effective.
Big hits are part of the game. They're supposed to send messages. Goodell and the NFL sent a very loud, very clear message today.