Bounty Scandal hits Saints

It was a strange year for New Orleans. An early playoff exit to Seattle started 2012 off on the wrong foot. Evidence that Saints coaches and players operated a "bounty" system, offering payouts for hits that injured offensive players, led to huge suspensions for numerous current and former Saints, including year long bans for head coach Sean Payton, Jonathan Vilma and an indefinite ban for former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Many called  the penalties unfair and criticisms of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's transparency forced Goodell to appoint NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue as an independent arbitrator.  Tagliabue subsequently overturned all player suspensions. The ordeal has left many curious as to the status of Saints head coach Sean Payton, who has not coached since the 2011 playoffs, and raised questions about the manner in which penalties are imposed.
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( Chris Graythen / Getty Images )

It was a strange year for New Orleans. An early playoff exit to Seattle started 2012 off on the wrong foot. Evidence that Saints coaches and players operated a "bounty" system, offering payouts for hits that injured offensive players, led to huge suspensions for numerous current and former Saints, including year long bans for head coach Sean Payton, Jonathan Vilma and an indefinite ban for former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Many called the penalties unfair and criticisms of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's transparency forced Goodell to appoint NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue as an independent arbitrator. Tagliabue subsequently overturned all player suspensions. The ordeal has left many curious as to the status of Saints head coach Sean Payton, who has not coached since the 2011 playoffs, and raised questions about the manner in which penalties are imposed.

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