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Thursday, March 22, 2012
Podcast: Debating top five NFL scandals

By Mike Sando

Severe punishment handed down to the New Orleans Saints moved their bounty scandal into the No. 2 spot, past Spygate, on our recent list of top NFL scandals.

Some thought it should have outranked the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal, a subject Mike Golic and Doug Gottlieb debated Wednesday on Mike & Mike in the Morning .

There was too much happening too quickly -- Alex Smith re-signing, Jeff Fisher holding a news conference, etc. -- for me to join the discussion Wednesday. Thanks to those who reached out to offer their opinions on the matter.

"Mike Vick at the 1 spot? Drop that to 2," DrHawk12 wrote. "Yeah, cruelty to animals, but Saints performed cruelty to humans. It's that simple."

Not quite.

The Saints' bounty scandal will not deprive them of their best player, Drew Brees. While Vick's behavior was decried almost universally, the Saints' actions initially provoked debate among fans and players over whether the Saints had even done anything wrong. Some still see the NFL's punishment as hypocritical, over the top and unwarranted.

It also remains unknown how much the punishment will affect the Saints' on-field success.

Vick was convicted of a felony and went to prison in his prime. He had a $100 million contract and was the face of the franchise. His demise sent the Falcons spiraling into a 4-12 season.

I was initially inclined to rank Spygate over the bounty scandal on the merits, but the punishment against the Saints was so much stronger. As always there was room for debate.

"Yeah, filming someone is way worse than intentionally trying to injure someone or send them off in a cart," Ultrawolf123 cracked.

The chart below, from ESPN Stats & Information, shows which teams have lost draft choices as punishment since 1980.