Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports posted an article today that all but guarantees that:
- Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will never coach in the NFL again, and
- Sean Payton could very well join him
Silver's article features the eye witness account of a documentary filmmaker, Sean Pamphilon, in the New Orleans Saints lockerroom prior to their divisional round playoff match-up with the San Francisco 49ers. Pamphilon saw and recorded Williams instructing his players to concuss Alex Smith, Frank Gore, and Kendall Hunter. Williams also encouraged them to snap the ACL of wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
Pamphilon has posted the audio of Williams' pregame speech on YouTube (Warning: Lots o' curse words).
Williams has been suspended indefinitely by Commissioner Roger Goodell. Some had expressed hope that Goodell would reinstate him next year. I don't see that happening now. Not after this audio was leaked. Not after everyone has heard him ordering his players to "kill" Alex Smith's head.
The bigger question now surrounds Sean Payton. This speech was made after the league had warned the Saints to stop the bounty system. It was after his owner, the seemingly incompetent Tom Benson, ordered him to end the program. Payton was suspended by Goodell for the 2012 season. He is currently appealing that suspension.
If Goodell was unaware of this audio prior to imposing the suspension on Payton, then it is possible the Saints head coach could join Gregg Williams in early retirement fro the NFL.
I know this is a hot button issue, especially for Colts fans. After the recent comments from former Redskins corner Carlos Rogers, confirming what many suspected (Williams ran a bounty program in DC when he coached for the Redskins), it doesn't take much to connect that Williams likely put a bounty on Peyton Manning in 2006. The Colts played the Redskins that year, and a hit delivered by Phillip Daniels is widely believed to be the root and source of Peyton's recent neck problems.
Also, Williams' Saints defeated the Colts in Super Bowl XLVI. A victory that is, in many ways, tainted after all the facts regarding the bounty story have come to light.
It goes without saying that Williams' actions are revolting. Equally deplorable are Payton's and G.M. Mickey Loomis' inaction. At some point, the spotlight needs to fall on owner Tom Benson. All this was going on, and he had no idea? Sorry, I don't buy it. The moment is coming where Benson must fire Payton and Loomis in order to save face. Otherwise, the truth regarding Benson's own involvement in the bounty scandal might come out.