Saints claim their bus was egged at Atlanta airport

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The New Orleans Saints traveled to Atlanta on Wednesday night to prepare for their Thursday night game against the NFC South-leading Falcons, and they received an unpleasant welcome from the city’s airport workers.

According to several tweets from Saints players, some Atlanta airport workers threw eggs at New Orleans’ team bus.

From backup quarterback Chase Daniel:

Tight end Jimmy Graham didn’t appreciate it:

Linebacker Will Herring told the same story:

But wide receiver Joseph Morgan didn’t even mind their actions:

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Replacement official Brian Stropolo pulled from game because he’s a Saints fan

Brian Stropolo was scheduled to work Sunday’s game between New Orleans and Carolina as a replacement official, but the NFL pulled him from the game on Sunday morning after it was discovered that he is a Saints fan. The alternate official who travels with the crew will work the game in his place.

Stropolo is from Louisiana and is open about being a Saints fan on his Facebook page, which features several photos of him in Saints attire. The NFL was not made aware of his allegiance to the Who Dat nation until ESPN brought it to their attention Sunday morning.

Stropolo posted pictures of himself tailgating in Saints gear at an Aug. 25 preseason game on his page, where he is listed as an NFL side judge. According to ESPN.com, his status updates have been littered with comments from Saints fans such as “Hey, be nice with those yellow flags for our Saints!”

Between this incident, the game-changing calls and the countless complaints, the NFL may have to bring back it’s regular officiating crew sooner than expected.

Sean Payton has reportedly approached Bill Parcells about coaching the Saints

The Saints currently have a championship-caliber roster but are without a head coach. As you know, Sean Payton has been suspended for an entire year as part of the Saints’ punishment for running a bounty program, effective April 1. New Orleans is one of the best teams in the NFC, but the loss of Payton for a season could set them back significantly. As the team looks for an interim replacement, Payton has reportedly reached out to Bill Parcells.

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortenson, Payton would be interested in having someone like Parcells with Super Bowl experience fill his shoes next season. The two worked together in Dallas from 2003-2005 when Payton served as an assistant coach under Parcells. One source said he believes Parcells would consider it but doubt it will happen.

“As a friend of Sean’s and a football guy, I’m sure he’d consider it but they’re talking about a lot of things,” the source explained. “In the end, I don’t think it would happen. It makes sense but it’s complicated.”

I’m not even sure this makes sense from a football standpoint. Parcells’ resume speaks for itself, but he’s the type of coach that comes to a team and takes over the culture. Parcells has had success with a number of different teams because he’s a tremendous football mind who expects a lot from his players. The Saints are looking for a temporary fill-in, not an authoritarian potential Hall of Famer like Parcells. They already have a good thing going in New Orleans and simply need to weather the storm. I’m not sure that’s a role that makes sense for Parcells.

Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Darren Sharper calls allegations of Saints bounties for hurting players ‘ridiculous’

On Friday, Gregg Williams faced accusations surrounding an alleged bounty system that he had in place during his three seasons as Saints defensive coordinator. Darren Sharper, who played under Williams as a safety for the Saints in 2009 and 2010, has flatly denied those claims. While Sharper acknowledges that there were incentive-based bonuses doled out to players, he says they were only for clean, legal plays.

“I think this is something that, from when I got in the league in 1997, has happened thousands and thousands of times over,” Sharper told NFL.com. “It’s ridiculous that someone is trying to say that we made bounties on knocking guys out, when basically all it was is that when a guy gets an interception, then he might get paid. That’s something that guys do amongst themselves.”

It seems as if Sharper may want to get his story straight with Williams, who has already issued a statement acknowledging and apologizing for what the NFL’s investigation unearthed. Given that other NFL players who never played under Williams are essentially shrugging their shoulders at the allegations and calling bounty systems commonplace in NFL locker rooms, Sharper’s remarks come off as a little surprising.

H/T Pro Football Talk
Photo credit: Derick Hingle, US Presswire

Saints defense ran bounty system, targeted Kurt Warner, Brett Favre

When Gregg Williams (pictured) took over as defensive coordinator of the Saints, the players and media raved about the new attitude he brought to the team. Williams ran a swarming defense that got after opposing players. Little did we know he was promoting a bounty system all those years.

An NFL investigation revealed that the Saints have operated a bounty program the past three seasons — all since Williams became their defensive coordinator. As part of the bounty program, players were rewarded for knocking opponents out of the game. According to the report, the program paid players $1,500 for a “knockout” and $1,000 for a “cart-off,” with payouts doubling or tripling during the playoffs.

The investigation says the Saints specifically targeted former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. Anyone who watched the NFC Championship Game between the Vikings and Saints could get that sense, and the pictures of the beat-up Favre support the findings.

Team owner Tom Benson reportedly directed GM Mickey Loomis to stop the system but was unsuccessful. Coach Sean Payton reportedly knew about the system but did not stop it.

Commissioner Roger Goodell notes that the system jeopardizes player safety and competitive integrity — two key components of the league. There are also specific rules against players being rewarded for injuring opponents.

The Saints will be penalized for the bounty program and could face fines, suspensions, and the loss of draft picks. Even though the job of defenses is to stop offenses, placing bounties on opposing players goes against the spirit, integrity, and sportsmanship aspects of the game.

California Airport Sign Reads ‘I Got 49 Problems But a Saint Ain’t One’ (Picture)

Clever? Check. Entertaining? Check. Unusual to see in an airport? Check. Potential to go viral? Check. A reference to pop culture that makes sense? Eh, not so much.  Don’t get me wrong, I love when the excitement of a team takes over an entire area — even in places where things are generally supposed to be serious.  A digital sign that provides flight information definitely qualifies.  The Saints certainly aren’t a problem for San Francisco anymore, but do they have 49 others?  I certainly hope not, or they could be in for a long day against the Giants on Sunday.

I’m taking it too literally, aren’t I? What a jerk I am.  In any event, I’ll take this Mississippi coffee shop sign over this airport message any day of the week.

Thanks to @brad_wolff for sharing the photo with us

Packers, Saints Killed by Turnover Binge

The turnover battle is an underrated aspect of football games, but those who watched the Divisional Round of the playoffs saw its importance. The Packers and Saints, two teams expected to advance to the NFC Championship Game, were killed by turnovers and ended up losing their games. In the AFC playoffs, the Texans got crushed on the turnover front and also lost.

Ready for a stat that will blow your mind? The four teams that won in the Divisional Round combined for 4 turnovers. The four losing teams combined for 14. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Packers 4 (1 INT, 3 FUM); Giants 1 (INT) – Packers lost 37-20
  • Texans 4 (3 INT, 1 FUM); Ravens 0 – Texans lost 20-13
  • Saints 5 (2 INT, 3 FUM); 49ers 1 (FUM) – Saints lost 36-32
  • Patriots 2 (1 INT, 1 FUM); Broncos 1 (FUM) – Pats won 45-10

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