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Published: March 15, 2012 at 08:18 p.m.
Updated: March 21, 2012 at 05:32 p.m.

Biggest Football Punishments

From the Saints' bounty scandal and Spygate to the SMU Death Penalty, football’s most famous suspensions and penalties have resulted in everything from hefty fines to season-long bans.

11 Photos Total

  • Saints bounty program 11

    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Saints bounty program

    The NFL handed down one of its harshest punishments when Sean Payton was suspended for one year without pay, for his involvement in the team's bounty program. GM Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight games and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is out indefinitely. The Saints were also fined $500,000 and forfeited second-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 NFL Drafts.

  • Spygate 10

    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press


    "No video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game." -- 2007 NFL Game Operations Manuel.

    The Patriots taped the signals of the New York Jets' defensive coaches during a game on Sept. 9, 2007.

  • Spygate 9

    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press


    Punishment: Coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, the largest penalty ever levied against a coach in the league's 87 years. The Patriots were fined $250,000 and had to give up a first-round draft pick.

  • Spygate 8

    Gene Puskar/Associated Press


    The Patriots would go 16-0 during the season, but lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

    "The Spygate thing has diminished what they've accomplished. You would hate to have that attached to your accomplishments. They've got it." -- Former Dolphins coach Don Shula.

  • Gambling deal 7

    National Football League

    Gambling deal

    "I made a terrible mistake. I am truly sorry." -- Paul Hornung.

    Hornung was the face of Lombardi's Packers during the 1960s, winning the NFL's MVP award in 1961. Alex Karras was an All-Pro defensive tackle for the Lions. They were accused of betting on NFL games and associating with gamblers. Hornung was said to have bet up to $500 on NFL games, Karras $50-$100.

  • Gambling deal 6

    Anthony Camerano/Associated Pres

    Gambling deal

    Punishment: Hornung and Karras were each suspended for the 1963 season. Five Lions players were suspended for betting on the 1962 NFL Championship Game.

  • Gambling deal 5

    Pro Football Hall of Fame/Associated Press

    Gambling deal

    Hornung played three more seasons with the Packers before he retired in 1966. He did not carry a stigma with him as he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Karras would play seven more years with the Lions, then Hollywood beckoned as he appeared in the film "Blazing Saddles" and later starred in the TV series "Webster."

  • Adam Jones' one-year suspension 4

    John Russel/Associated Press

    Adam Jones' one-year suspension

    "To my family, teammates, coaches and fans, I recognize that I have lost the right to ask for your patience and understanding. However, I will do everything in my power to regain your trust and respect." -- Adam Jones in a full-page ad in The Tennessean

    Tennessee chose Adam "Pacman" Jones with the sixth pick in the 2005 draft. Jones has been interviewed by police for 10 separate incidents, the biggest coming in Las Vegas during the NBA All-Star weekend. Jones was involved in a fight and shooting at a strip club that paralyzed one man.

  • Adam Jones' one-year suspension 3

    Jane Kalinowsky/Associated Press

    Adam Jones' one-year suspension

    Punishment: Jones was suspended for the 2007 NFL season -- at a cost of $1.29 million -- for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. Jones returned to the NFL to play for the Cowboys in 2008, but another suspension followed and the Cowboys cut him after the season. Jones tried but failed to latch on with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2009. Jones signed with the Bengals in 2010.

  • Adam Jones' one-year suspension 2

    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Adam Jones' one-year suspension

    "Your conduct has brought embarrassment and ridicule upon yourself, your club, and the NFL, and has damaged the reputation of players throughout the league." -- Commissioner Roger Goodell.

  • Death penalty 1

    Associated Press

    Death penalty

    Eyebrows were raised when SMU, one of the smaller schools in the Southwest Conference, was able to recruit the "Pony Express" backfield of Craig James and Eric Dickerson, but no wrongdoing was found. It was a revelation that David Stanley received money to attend the school and was getting money to play during his college career that was the final straw.

    Punishment: The NCAA voted unanimously to cancel SMU's entire 1987 season, and allowed it to only play seven games -- none at home -- in 1988 as a result of an investigation that discovered in 1985 and 1986 the school had paid 13 players a total of $61,000 from a "slush fund" provided by a booster.

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