Bounty charge against New Orleans brings back pain for Vikings

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 3, 2012 - 10:08 AM

Knowing the Saints may have targeted Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC title game opens old wounds.

hide

Vikings quarterback Brett Favre tried to pick himself up against the Saints in the NFC Championship Game in January 2010 in New Orleans.

Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Even now, 25 months later, the scar can be easily penetrated, the sting returning as fresh as ever. Maybe the Vikings never will attain closure on the 2009 NFC Championship Game, a 31-28 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints that still hovers like a ghost.

On Friday, the dejection snuck in again, this time linked to a bounty scandal in which an extensive NFL investigation revealed the Saints had spent the past three seasons offering cash incentives for injuring opposing players.

Suddenly, in the Twin Cities, here came those haunting NFC title game images again, a battered Brett Favre being helped off the Superdome field after a third-quarter hit from New Orleans' Bobby McCray and Remi Ayodele. That shot left the quarterback with severe pain in his left ankle, part of an afternoon during which New Orleans walloped Favre the way a bull pummels a rodeo clown.

The Saints received three unnecessary-roughness penalties, two for shots on Favre.

McCray later was fined for that unpenalized hit that sent Favre hobbling to a trainer's table for treatment.

New details surfacing from the NFL investigation, including multiple reports that a $10,000 reward was offered for taking out Favre that day, suddenly begged the question: Did the Saints fairly earn their trip to Super Bowl XLIV?

Said Vikings punter Chris Kluwe: "This [bounty system] may have affected the end result of the whole season. I'm not saying we win that NFC championship if Brett didn't injure his ankle. Let's face it, we had five turnovers and 12 men in the huddle and all that. But when you get a quarterback who's hurt and can't move around, it changes what plays you call. It impacts the course of the game."

Favre didn't miss a play, mind you. After that McCray-Ayodele hit, he hobbled around and completed six of 12 passes for 87 yards in the fourth quarter. His interception with 7 seconds left in regulation might have cost the Vikings a Super Bowl trip.

Yet even as Vikings teammates and coaches questioned New Orleans' seemingly malicious intent, Favre shrugged off the beating.

He didn't complain after that game. He didn't gripe much before a rematch seven months later. And he expressed little fury Friday even as the Saints scandal rippled across the NFL.

"It's football," Favre told Sports Illustrated's Peter King. "I don't think anything less of those guys."

Kluwe proved less restrained.

"This is troubling to me as a human being," he said. "Football is a violent game. Guys get hurt all the time. But you want to be out there with the comfort that other guys aren't purposely out trying to injure you. At that point, you're not safe."

This past December, in a loss to New Orleans, running back Adrian Peterson took exception to the way the Saints went after him. Having missed most of the previous four games because of a high ankle sprain, Peterson grew particularly agitated following a 1-yard run in the second quarter when New Orleans cornerback Jabari Greer kept tugging at his ankle.

Peterson jumped into Greer's face and voiced more displeasure after the game, saying Greer's tactics went "overboard."

Friday's news provided such complaints further legitimacy, also calling into question just about every tackle and hit the Saints have made the past three seasons.

A Vikings spokesman said Friday the team would have no official comment.

When reached by phone, former coach Brad Childress was measured with his reaction.

"It's pretty clear this is not part of the game," Childress said. "This is a competitive enough game as it stands without this mixed in."

Asked if he recalled his thoughts about the beating Favre took during that NFC title game, Childress replied: "Oh yeah, I recall. But I don't know if I'll share that with you. It's a long time ago. I'd prefer to look forward and hope it'll be a better game going forward."

That's certainly the NFL's hope. The league likely will levy severe punishment against the Saints.

Yet New Orleans' bounty program carried on for three seasons, including one that ended with a Super Bowl triumph.

That won't sit well across the league. It certainly won't sit well with some Vikings who lost to New Orleans 25 months ago.

"Just another twist of the dagger," Kluwe said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay 4 Bottom 7th Inning
Baltimore 4
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland 1 Top 6th Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Minnesota 4 Bottom 5th Inning
Kansas City 3
Texas 2 Bottom 5th Inning
Houston 0
Oakland - S. Gray 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 4th Qtr 2:28
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 4th Qtr 0:52
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 4th Qtr 8:14
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 4th Qtr 2:44
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 4th Qtr 2:45
Miami 14
Carolina 10 4th Qtr 12:29
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 4th Qtr
NY Giants 10
Washington 17 4th Qtr 12:21
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 16 3rd Qtr 9:22
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 3rd Qtr 11:15
Cleveland 17
Denver 17 3rd Qtr 10:35
Dallas 3
Minnesota 16 3rd Qtr 6:27
Tennessee 0
San Francisco 17 3rd Qtr 9:04
Houston 6
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 4th Qtr 9:24
ULM 10
Boise State 3 3rd Qtr 15:00
(18) Ole Miss 7
Tulane 21 3rd Qtr
Tulsa 14
Rutgers 9:00 PM
Washington St
Temple 9:13 PM
Vanderbilt
Weber State 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close