There had been allegations since 2009 from several teams in the NFL that the New Orleans Saints defense played “dirty” but many of the allegations were ignored as the Saints defensive players dubbed themselves “opportunistic”.
During the 2009 season, they led the league in defensive turnovers with 26 interceptions and 15 fumbles.
When the Saints dropped their last three games of the 2009 season, many believed that they had lost their intensity heading into the post season.
The Saints put these rumors to rest by delivering punishing blows to quarterbacks Kurt Warner in the NFC Divisional play-off game, and quarterback Brett Favre in the NFC Championship game.
Since that time, accusations have mounted that Saints defensive players play “dirty”, and the most recent allegation by the Tennessee Titans of a whistle being blown from the Saints bench may have received more credibility.
The NFL investigation also notes that Saints head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis were aware of the program and made no attempt to stop it.
Loomis did not stop the program even when team owner Tom Benson was made aware and gave directions for the program to be terminated.
Tom Benson released a statement on the team website
I have been made aware of the NFL’s findings relative to the “Bounty Rule” and how it relates to our club. I have offered and the NFL has received our full cooperation in their investigation. While the findings may be troubling, we look forward to putting this behind us and winning more championships in the future for our fans.
What does this mean for Saints fans?
It is time to come back to reality. The last couple of years many Saints fans have been riding the high of the franchise winning its first Super bowl.
Head coach Sean Payton has quickly been regarded as one of the best coaches in the league, and Saints quarterback Drew Brees is the most well-liked guy in the NFL.
Our team was going places and could do no wrong. Now we have to accept that our team and our coaching staff crossed the line and has failed us.