March 2, 2012 - The NFL announces it has evidence Williams created a bounty program soon after his arrival in 2009. The NFL says the program lasted between 2009-11 and as many as 22-27 players were involved. The NFL also accuses the Saints of putting bounties on Favre, Warner, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Williams issues a statement later that day apologizing for his role in the program.
That's how it reads, word-for-word, in the nola.com OFFICIAL BOUNTYGATE TIMELINE.
It's hard to believe that it's only been a year since Goodell dropped the hammer on the Saints by publicly announcing that he had conclusive (er, dubious) "evidence" that the New Orleans Saints were running an illegal bounty program that paid Saints players to injure members of opposing teams.
Guh. I remember that day well.
It was a Friday...
The day started innocently enough on CSC, with Travis's early story about Drew Brees's contract negotiations and a mid-day post on the Fleur-de-Links graphic design contest. Little did we know what awaited us...
I was at work that morning as our staff dealt with getting all of our teachers and children safely home because of an early closure of the University of Louisville due to expected severe weather coming to our area (that actually ended up bringing hugely damaging wind storms and multiple tornadoes to the Kentucky-Indiana area that afternoon) later that day.
Mrs. H texted and called me numerous times at work to let me know that something big with a "bounty program the Saints ran that was bad, really bad", and that I'd better plan to spend a lot of time on my Saints blog that night. I got the messages on a quick break I was able to squeeze in and during a quick call she said that it's all over the news and it's going to be so very bad.
As we closed everything up and left work at about 2:30 pm or so, the winds were really picking up, and I texted Mrs. H to say that I was on my way home and that tornado warnings were all over the place, and this real storm was about to get really bad. But at that time she was taking her daily exercise walk and couldn't hear the phone going off. I got home and she was still out walking and just as I was about to go out looking for her, she came in the door and she found out how severe the weather actually was - whew!
Once I knew she was safe and that we didn't need to get in our basement, I then cracked open the laptop and dug into the news.
Grumps was the first one on it with a Fanshot linking to Adam Schefter's tweet. Fanshots don't have timestamps, but the first comment in it is from born in areacode 318 and is timed at 3:13 pm (ET - and BTW, all times are ET in this post):
Next came Dave's main page story about it which went up at 3:25 pm, also linking to Schefter's tweet:
I had the first comment in this thread just after it posted:
Has anyone tiptoed over to the Daily Norseman to apologize yet?
(Really? That's my first official public comment about this whole mess? Yeesh, I'm such a chucklehead.)
The comments were fast and furious after that, and then I followed up with this 4:37 pm update post containing a link to nfl.com's first official story on the matter as well as a few other odds and ends from various media outlets and platforms:
But Joseph William Stern actually jumped in before that with a well-worded and strong response in this Fanpost at 4:28 pm:
Next came Satch's 5:00 Fleur-de-Links right on schedule that evening, which didn't have any Bountygate news in it at all, because it was all already out there all over the front page:
At 5:35 pm, Dave posted the official NFL release on the matter:
About an hour later came GW's 'mea culpa' satement. Again, from Dave:
Then Dave called out Deadspin for BS revisionist history crap in his 8:10 pm post:
I'm going to play it a bit loose with "same day coverage" and allow this Fanpost from William D'Arcy to count as the final official CSC Bounty-related post on March 2nd (excluding individual comments), even though it came 29 minutes after midnight.
Man, what a day that was. I am exhausted and all torn up just going through it all vicariously again.
If you'd like to see more of the CSC coverage around this date, I'll share my in-house research (each line is a hyperlink):
Now I'd like you to think back to that day and share your thoughts and memories with us in the comment section, using these "Fast Five" type questions as a starting point...
1) Where were you and what were you doing when you first heard the news?
2) How did you find out about it?
3) What was your initial reaction?
4) Did your feelings about it change as the day went on and the story percolated?
5) How did you follow the story that day?
Come on now, don't be shy, go for it! The collective therapy will do us all some good and assist us with, you know, closure and s***. But remember the CSC profanity rules, please.