Wednesday, March 21, 2012
NFL confirms bounties on Favre, Rodgers
By Kevin Seifert
In the course of its investigation into the New Orleans Saints' bounty program, the NFL found four specific instances of an opposing quarterback getting targeted. Two of them played for NFC North teams at the time: Brett Favre for the 2009 Minnesota Vikings and Aaron Rodgers for the 2011 Green Bay Packers.
The others were the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton in 2011 and the Arizona Cardinals in 2009.
Below are the relevant portions of the NFL's findings.
On Favre: "Multiple sources have confirmed that several players pledged funds toward bounties on specific opposing players, with defensive captain Jonathan Vilma offering $10,000 to any player who knocked Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship Game in 2010."
We first discussed the possibility of a bounty on Rodgers earlier this month, and the league confirmed that Saints coach Sean Payton received an email from a "close associate" that implied a contribution to a Rodgers bounty:
"Further, prior to the Saints’ opening game in 2011, Coach Payton received an email from a close associate that stated in part, “PS Greg Williams put me down for $5000 on Rogers (sic).” When shown the email during the course of the investigation, Coach Payton stated that it referred to a “bounty” on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers."
The associate has been reported to be longtime marketing agent Mike Ornstein.
As we discussed at the time, with help from Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rodgers was neither knocked out nor injured in the game. But the effectiveness of a bounty program shouldn't be relevant to how serious it is.
We haven't heard from a ton of players yet on this issue, but Packers guard T.J. Lang did tweet: "Saints got what they deserved!"