On Friday afternoon, the NFL released 200 pages of evidence backing its case for a Saints bounty program. It was blasted by the accused players as flimsy and lacking a smoking gun, and possibly because of that, they didn't share the evidence with the media. But they did share it with the NFLPA, who made the decision today to release the entire contents to the public.
We've embedded the entire thing below, along with the NFLPA's "annotation," which attempts to clarify some of the content as well as re-state their main defense—that the Saints maintained a pay-for-performance pool, morally and legally separate from payouts for bounties.
The vast majority of the evidence consists of six Powerpoint slideshows shown to the New Orleans defense before games in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, and such is filled with recycled motivational quotes and repeated insistences on hydration. Safely ignore that stuff (and note that 95 percent of the "evidence" released has nothing to do with bounty systems. And the two final items are articles published after the punishments were handed down, and have no place here.) But here's some of the interesting stuff, like an email sent to Gregg Williams from Mike Ornstein, the felon and hanger-on who has been accused of funding bounties.
Ornstein has responded to other emails, leaked last month, by claiming they were in jest.
One slide, taken from Williams's pregame presentation before the 2011 playoff matchup against the Seahawks, rather prominently features a photo of Dog The Bounty Hunter, and urges players "Now its time to do our job...collect bounty$$$!" The slide immediately preceding this was simply a photo of rolled-up dollar bills.
The NFLPA's annotation of that slide reads,
GW used the above slide as a tool to teach by using popular culture to draw players in. It gave players a point of reference that they were familiar with. Unfortunately, "Dog the Bounty Hunter" was a poorly chosen and ironic example to use but life plays havoc on us at times.
There are handwritten tallies and accountings of payouts, like this one from the 2010 playoff game in which Brett Favre was briefly knocked out of the game when Bobby McCray rolled up on his legs:
In this instance, it appears the "QB Out" pool was contributed to by Jonathan Vilma, Mike Ornstein, assistant coach Joe Vitt, and someone named Grant (possibly DE Charles Grant?).
Here's a similar tally sheet for a game against the Giants in 2009, in which Roman Harper earned $1,000 for a "cart-off." (The text in red represents money owed by players to the pool for mistakes. ME=Mental Errors, according to the NFLPA's annotation.)
One of Williams' most memorable phrases was "kill the head," uttered in a pregame speech before the playoff game against the 49ers this past January. But he's been using the term for a while, as noted in this chart tallying up the "Kill the Head" totals for the 2010 season.
(The NFLPA's annotation contains a tortured explanation that "kill the head" doesn't literally mean kill the head, but is instead "a tackling technique that resulted in a higher percentage of short yardage stops.")
Every week's slideshow contained information on the opposing quarterback, and his tendencies. For motivation, there were also photos of the QB bruised and beaten. A "this is what you should do to him" sort of thing. So before their November 8, 2009, game against Carolina, the Saints defense was treated to a brief glance at Jake Delhomme's bare ass.