There are always two sides to every story. We’ve heard the NFL’s side, the reaction, and the overreaction to it. And since the Saints won’t be trotting out their side of the story anytime soon, it’s up to others to find it. Enter the Wall Street Journal, who stepped up to the plate to lend the Saints a helping hand.
They reviewed all 46 regular season games and six postseason games the Saints have played since 2009. During their review they only found 18 occurrences where the Saints actually forced an opponent to leave the game because of injury.
A Wall Street Journal review of every regular- and postseason Saints game since 2009 makes clear what the NFL report didn’t: Seldom did a Saints-inflicted injury force an opponent to leave the field.
In 48 regular-season and six postseason games, such incidents occurred only 18 times. The Saints player involved in the largest number of those cases was safety Roman Harper. That number was four.
Exactly who received what on the Saints roster isn’t clear, including whether Harper received any money at all. But under that formula, the total payout during those three seasons would have been about $19,000. And of that, based on the review of those seasons, Harper could have pocketed a grand total of about $4,500—peanuts for a player earning more than $7 million a year.
At times, the Saints injured themselves, such as when Tracy Porter knocked himself out of a game by using his head to tackle Tampa Bay’s Mike Williams.
The Saints can’t even be classified as the league’s dirtiest team. When it came to personal fouls—the most violent of on-field infractions—the Saints last season tallied 24, fifth-most in the NFL. Since 2009, the team has been whistled for 60 personal fouls, the sixth-highest figure.
Does this prove there wasn’t a bounty program in place? No. But we’re willing to bet that these findings about the Saints over this period rival other teams. But the NFL is entrenched in their position, so studies like these really don’t matter.