NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 09:  General manager o...

CAPTION: Did Saints GM Loomis eavesdrop on opposing teams?

We knew that Saints liked to play dirty, we just did not know how dirty or deep this really went.

We can remember the cheap shots, the late hits and Bret Favre getting tossed around like a rag doll in a playoff game just two years ago. Amazingly, the NFL, known for being “ultra-protective” of their quarterbacks, had an officiating crew that apparently forgot they were carrying flags and whistles in that game.

Fast forward to 2012. Former Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams is found to have been running a bounty scheme in the locker room. Some players spoke up about this “anonymously” An investigation had actually been going on since 2010 when the league was asked to looked into some actions during playoff games going back into the 2009-2010 season.

Roger Goodell is known for his iron fist. He tries to run a league that is not only clean, but holds players to a higher standard. Goodell makes the players accountable for their actions and tries to keep the image of the League that of respectability. His initial punishments were swift.

Gregg Williams, now a defensive coordinator with the Rams, was suspended indefinitely and will not be allowed to apply for reinstatement until the end of the 2012 season at the earliest.

Sean Payton, the head coach, was suspended for the entire 2012 season, effective April 1. He is the first head coach in modern NFL history to be suspended for any reason. Mainly due to his inability to have control over what was happening on his staff with the “bounty scheme”.

General manager Mickey Loomis was also suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 season.

And now Loomis is making headlines again, and once again for bad reasons.

An ESPN OUTSIDE THE LINES report has claimed that Loomis had an electronic device or devices in his suite at the Superdome that would allow him to listen to the conversations of visiting coachers during the 2002-2003 and 2004 seasons

This investigation is in its infant stages, but this further tarnishes the golden helmets and the reputation of a franchise that has long been the laughing stock of the NFL. Known by such monikers as the “aint’s” New Orleans rose from the flooding and devastation during Hurricane Katrina to bring the first major sports championship to the city that needed a boost in the arm after suffering through a horrendous set of circumstances in the wake of a natural disaster.

Now it appears the natural disaster is becoming more and more self-inflicted. Accusations of cheating, large sanctions and suspensions are already out there from “bounty gate” and it is still likely that some of the players involved in the bounty scheme will be facing fines and suspensions.

In the meantime the Saints are going to need to do some serious spin doctoring to try and change their image, which is starting to take on the appearance of some of the clientele on Bourbon Street on a raucous evening. Not thinking clearly, doing what they can to get there way, and ending up in the morning regretting some of the decisions that were made the night before.

Yes, this is turning into the Big Sleazy.

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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