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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEWORLEANS - A little cash incentive to get Saints players to perform on the field is a no-no according to the NFL.

Beginning in 2010, the League investigated what it termed a 'Bounty' Program involving Saints players and former Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams.

The goal is simple: pay players to intentionally injure their opponents on the field.

'This isn't the NCC. This is the big boy league. That's there job. They're out there to hurt people and make sure they're getting things done,' said Saints Fan Mike Lavalle.

Saints hits like the one against Brett Favre during the 2009 Title Game are now under intense scrutiny. The NFL says at least 27 defensive players received big bucks to intentionally injure players on opposing teams.

Inside Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar & Restaurant on Friday afternoon, the NFL investigation was broadcast on flat screen televisions and also on the mind of Who Dat fans who think the Saints are being wrongfully targeted.

'Something happened with the Gregg Williams deal and his feelings got hurt and someone is throwing someone under the bus,' said Lavalle.

'I think the NFL is starting to become the pansy league the way they protect the quarterbacks and the way they protect the players. It should get back to the way it was and these guys are iron men,' said Saints Fan Dudley Geigerman.

The NFL says Saints 'bounty' payments ranged from $1,000 to $1,500. The pool reportedly reached $50,000 at the height of the program in 2009.

'Commissioner Roger Goodell going on saying we recently received significant and credible new information into the investigation and the investigation was reopened during the latter part of the 2011 season,' said WWL Radio host Kristian Garic.

The phone lines were lighting up at WWL Radio in downtown New Orleans with callers eager to weigh-in on 'Sports Talk.'

'It's really sad. It's going to be a black cloud over our season and going into next year. What are the repercussions against the players and against other teams?' said one caller who identified himself as Joe from Kenner.

Former Saints Quarterback and WWL radio host Bobby Hebert said 'bounty' incentives for crushing hits are a just reality of the game.

'To say this hasn't happened before, come on, this has been happening for a long time, and I think fans kind of embrace the big hits. Come on they love the gladiator sport of football whether they want to admit that or not,' said Hebert.

With football season fast approaching Who Dat fans are hoping the NFL investigation won't mean a crushing hit to their beloved Saints.

In response to the NFL investigation Saints owner Tom Benson issued this statement:

'I have been made aware of the NFL's findings relative to the 'bounty rule' and how it relates to our club. I have offered and the NFL has received our full cooperation in their investigation. While the findings may be troubling, we look forward to putting this behind us and winning more championships in the future for our fans.'

The NFL's Commissioner has yet to determine any disciplinary action against the Saints which may include fines, suspension and giving up future draft picks.

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