Bountygate 2.0? Former Falcons Pro Bowler claims Buccaneers are guilty

Bountygate might have been ran by two NFC South teams.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons / Scott Cunningham/GettyImages

One of the most infamous scandals in NFL history is Bountygate. Long story short, starting in 2009, the New Orleans Saints pooled money together each week and would divvy out the money after each game to those who injured their opponents. The bigger the injury, the bigger the reward.

This heinous system resulted in fines, loss of a draft pick, and massive suspensions to coaches and the general manager early in 2012.

As far as the public was concerned, the Saints were the only team putting bounties on opposing players, until now. Former Falcons Pro Bowl defensive end John Abraham revealed some interesting details about a warning he received from his opponent. If true then half of the NFC South was guilty of paying players for nefarious reasons

John Abraham speaks on a warning he received from opposing player about bounty system

Flashback to the final week of the 2012 season. The Atlanta Falcons were preparing to play their division-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home hoping to take their record to a remarkable 14-2.

Their defense was led by the double-digit sack artist John Abraham. He was incredibly important to the team and was a piece they could not afford to lose as they prepared for the playoffs.

According to Abraham's own words, the team on the other side were hoping to prevent him from playing the rest of the season. Recently, while on The Water Boyz Show, the five-time Pro Bowler spilled the beans about something Buccaneers offensive tackle Donald Penn said to him during the game.

"“Penn was like, ‘Hey man, be careful out here. The coaches told us to hurt you all,' I was like, ‘Stop playing.’ He’s like, ‘Nah, they told us to hurt y’all. So we’re going to be going extra. After the whistle, we’re going to be doing everything to try to mess with y’all.'”"

John Abraham

That is quite the allegation, and one that, according to JoeBucsFan, Donald Penn has denied.

Interestingly enough, Abraham did get injured in that game and it impacted him in the playoffs. Up until that point, the star defensive end had played in at least 59% of the defensive snaps each week. In the divisional round, he played 15 plays which accounted for 22% of the snaps. However, the Falcons won that game over the Seahawks before losing to the 49ers in the NFC Championship, a game which Abraham played 79% of the snaps.

Even if the 2012 Bucs were running a scandal like this, it likely had no impact on how the Falcons season resulted. The best you can claim is that it cost them a 14-2 record and some potential attrition on the players.

With it being so long ago, expect this news to just drift away. There isn't anything anyone can do about it now.

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