There’s blood in the water now and the sharks are circling.
But it’s gone beyond ridiculous. Yes, if coaches put bounties on the heads (arms, legs, whatever) of opposing players, they should be punished. Harshly. If coaches are rewarding players financially for injuring opposing players, they should be punished.
But what’s happening now is, basic motivational tactics are being called into question. The Tennessean wrote a story citing former players that Lions head coach Jim Schwartz rewarded players for big hits in games while he was defensive coordinator there.
So what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with him giving out baseball bats or boxing gloves to commemorate a big hit during a game. I mean, the intent of most defenses is to play physical and make big hits, yes? He wasn’t rewarding dirty hits. He wasn’t rewarding helmet-to-helmet or late hits. He wasn’t saying, ‘Put that guy in the hospital.’ This is getting stupid.
Titans players organized their own incentive pool, according to the story, where they would pay for a hit that knocked the other team’s quarterback-running back-receiver out of the game.
This seems brutal, Medieval even. But guess what — football is a brutal sport. This stuff has gone on since they wore leather helmets.
It doesn’t just happen in football either. Why do you think hockey teams refer to injuries as upper body and lower body? They don’t want the opponent to know the specific injury because if they knew a guy has, say, a wrist injury, for sure the other team will be hacking at it the whole game.
Is that any different that what the Titans did?
I am not condoning what the Saints and probably other teams have done in terms of financing executions. But, man, let’s not get carried away. Football is a violent sport, in case you didn’t know.
Tony Dungy is also on my last nerve. In the Tennessean article, he just throws out there that he thought Schwartz and Co. targeted Peyton Manning back in the day. No proof, no evidence, just tosses it out there.
There is clearly some bad history between Dungy and Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, and by extension Schwartz. They traded barbs through the media on two occasions last year. But this was completely irresponsible. For Dungy to toss out a random charge like that without any supporting evidence is what we used to call liable.
Tennessee Titans players ran a player-organized incentive pool that coaches were aware of but didn’t contribute to when Lions coach Jim Schwartz was the team’s defensive coordinator, former players told the Tennessean.
The newspaper reported that Schwartz “handed out baseball bats or boxing gloves for big hits” while players raised the stakes with monetary rewards.
“Guys would throw out there, ‘Hey, knock this guy out and it’s worth $1,000,’” safety Lance Schulters, who played for Tennessee from 2002-04, told the paper. “Let’s say when we played the Steelers, and Hines Ward was always trying to knock guys out. So if you knocked (him) out, there might be something in the pot, $100 or whatever, for a big hit on Hines — a legal, big hit.”
Schwartz is not accused of contributing to or administering a bounty program like the one that has former Titans and current St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in trouble with the NFL. Schwartz worked as a defensive assistant for two seasons under Williams in Tennessee.
Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, now with NBC, also told ProFootballTalk.com he believes the Titans had a bounty of quarterback Peyton Manning but did not offer any specifics.
Dungy coached the Colts from 2002-08 during Schwartz’s tenure as Titans defensive coordinator.