NFL Suspends Saints Coach 1 Year Over 'Bounty' System
League comes down hard on Sean Payton
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2012 12:31 PM CDT
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – That Tebow trade to the Jets isn't the only big NFL news today. The league handed down an unprecedented one-year suspension to New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton because the team used a bounty system against opposing players, reports the Times-Picayune. In addition, former Saints defensive coach Gregg Williams is banned from the league indefinitely, GM Mickey Loomis got an eight-game suspension and a $500,000 fine, and an assistant coach drew a six-game suspension, notes the AP. The team also loses a few draft picks.

The league apparently came down so hard on Payton and Co. because it's trying to send the message that player safety is its top priority, especially as more and more players file lawsuits, writes James Varney of the T-P. As for the bounty system, plenty of teams have such systems in place to one degree or another, but the NFL says it has evidence that the Saints' version was especially egregious, even to the point of rewarding players who injured stars on other teams.