Gotta love how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed the Bounty-gate situation down in New Orleans. Just a few weeks after the story broke that the league had investigated the bounty system, that was in place for 3 years, Goodell put the hammer down. Goodell sent a VERY loud message to all teams and players that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. Goodell's year long suspension, without pay, will cost Saints head coach Sean Payton 7 and a half million dollars. Goodell seemed especially upset that Payton was not truthful to NFL investigators when asked about his knowledge of the bounty program run by Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams. I suspect this contributed to the severity of the penalty against Payton. Williams, who is now an Assistant Coach with the Rams, has been suspended for at least this season and his case will be reviewed next spring. In addition to the suspensions the team has been stripped of a pair of 2nd round draft picks--1 this year and one next year. In the salary capped NFL taking away top draft picks can be devastating. On most teams 2nd round picks are counted on to be contributing players in their rookie seasons.
Goodell also made another very smart move in consulting with the NFL Players Association about possible player suspensions. Getting the players union on board will prevent a lot of opposition among the rank and file. I suspect the Saints will be without some key players to start the 2012 season. Suspensions are expected in the next couple of weeks. Don't be surprised if All Pro Linebacker Jonathan Vilma gets the longest player suspension. He reportedly was the ringleader behind the scheme that paid for hits that knocked opposing players out of games. Stay tuned.