Originally posted on Speculative Sports  |  Last updated 3/5/12

Gregg Williams high-pressure defense was credited with helping the 2009 New Orleans Saints win Super Bowl XLIV

The truth has come out about the New Orleans Saints.

Propped up as the feel-good story of 2009 for rallying a community ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, NFL fans overlooked some very telling signs they were not eligible for sainthood.

In the NFC Championship game, their gameplan was to hit Brett Favre over and over again. It is likely this was the right strategy—a less worn-down Favre might have run for a few yards to set up a game-winning field goal by longtime teammate Ryan Longwell rather than force the interception.

But consider that they did not sack him once. Hitting a guy many times after he released the ball certainly does not conclusively show a team crossing the line, but in light of what came later it does make one wonder.

For instance, Darren Sharper’s comment before the 2010 Season Kickoff regarding Favre’s bad ankle: “X marks the spot!” This shows an intent to injure exists in the locker room—and from a former teammate, no less.

Then there was last season, when Drew Brees ran up the score on the division rival Atlanta Falcons to break the passing record in front of the home fans. Then he stayed in to set more records against the Carolina Panthers the next week with nothing at stake.

Now Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has admitted to placing bounties on opposing players. This reported to have been done when he was in Washington and Buffalo, too.

It is fine to offer rewards for big plays. It is even okay to offer rewards for hits on quarterbacks or receivers that are clean. But it sets a dangerous precedent to reward injurious hits.

Only a stiff punishment for this could be consistent with the NFL cracking down on helmet-to-helmet hits to reduce injuries.

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