I’m going to cut to the chase. Let’s stop calling it a “bounty” system and start calling it the “pay for performance” program, so everyone can understand what we are talking about.
The Saints had something in place where they gave financial rewards for big plays and hits that helped the team win games. The only “bounty” that I was aware of was the one for interceptions and fumble recoveries. That was simply a $100 pool that all players paid into each week, from which rewards were given out to guys who got turnovers. It’s not like we were paying guys to go out and try to hurt people.
I’m not saying that if you get a big hit or make a great play you should be rewarded, but if you do it to help your team win, why shouldn’t you get paid? The Saints had something in place where they gave financial rewards for big plays and hits that helped the team win games. The only “bounty” that I was aware of was the one for interceptions and fumble recoveries. That was simply a $100 pool that all players paid into each week, from which rewards were given out to guys who got turnovers. It’s not like we were paying guys to go out and try to
If you heard about a company that paid its employees bonuses for getting their co-workers fired, you’d be outraged. The idea is so damning that it’s been used as a rhetorical device in movies and TV shows to call something unethical. But what if instead of getting people fired, the bonuses were given for something like… making more sales? Or meeting a quota? Would that be wrong?
Well, the NFL has been doing just that for years. It’s called the “pay for performance” program, and it’s essentially a bounty system.
It works like this: The league pools money each season to pay out bonuses to players who accomplish certain tasks during games. For example, if an offensive lineman blocks his man well enough to open up a hole for his running back to run through and gain 10 yards on the play, he’ll get $500 after the game. If a defensive player intercepts a pass or causes a fumble and recovers it, he gets $1,000. If his team wins the game, he gets $1,750.
And if that defensive player injures an opposing player badly enough that he has to come out of the game — any kind of injury will do — his team will put some money into a pool that will later
The NFL’s “bounty program” was a pay-for-performance program that rewarded players for doing what they were supposed to do, specifically, making tackles and sacks. The term “bounty” is just wrong.
The NFLPA has now dismissed the appeals of Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, and Will Smith, but Scott Fujita will maintain his appeal.
The NFLPA’s decision to dismiss the appeals means that the suspensions of Vilma (season), Hargrove (eight games), Smith (four games) and Fujita (three games) will remain intact for the 2012 season.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/07/31/nflpa-dismisses-appeals-vilma-hargrove-smith-suspensions/
The NFL’s “pay for performance” program is not a scandal. It is a way to reward players for exceptional play and encourage the kind of aggressive style of play that fans want to see.
Rewarding players for hard hits or interceptions makes sense. After all, these kinds of plays are what give the game its excitement. When a player makes an exceptional play, that player is rewarded with a touchdown or turnover — why can’t they be rewarded with cash?
There is no question that this system works. The amount of money available to players in the “pay for performance” program has increased significantly in recent years, and this has coincided with an increase in the number of hard hits and turnovers by defensive players. Defenders now have something extra to play for, and as a result, they are playing harder than ever before. And fans are seeing more big hits as well as more turnovers.
The NFL made the right call when it decided to suspend head coach Sean Payton for one year without pay. The league needs to come down hard on those who violate its code of conduct. But there are other ways for the league to punish Payton (and others) without making the entire Saints organization suffer because of the actions of one man.
I had a conversation with another friend who is a former player and he said that this was normal. He said that every team gave players money for big plays in practice. He told me about the “pay for performance” program on his team. The players would be given an envelope with cash before they took the field. If they sacked the quarterback, intercepted a pass, caused a fumble, recovered a fumble, or blocked a kick, they would earn money from their teammates. This occurred every day in practice.
He also told me that if you knocked someone out of the game, you could expect some extra cash from the owner when he handed out the game checks on Monday. Sometimes it was as little as $500 and sometimes it was much more depending on how important the player was to that particular game plan.
The New Orleans Saints’ “bounty” program was an organized pay-for-performance program that rewarded players for knocking targeted opponents out of games. The National Football League, which is trying to portray the Saints as running some sort of mafia-like criminal enterprise, has released a report on the program. But it turns out that the NFL itself had a similar program for decades, and has been running one for injured players since 1993.
The difference between the two programs is that the Saints were paying for good hits, while the NFL rewarded players for suffering bad ones.
The NFL’s “grease fund,” as Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins calls it in her excellent book on the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears, paid cash rewards to players who got hurt in games. The money came from fines levied against players and teams, and it went to players sidelined with injuries during games.
The only rule was that you couldn’t get paid if you were injured in practice or elsewhere off the field; you actually had to be hurt during a game. So if you suffered a bruised thigh or twisted knee against the Cowboys but then played through it against the Eagles, and then sat out with a broken finger against the Giants, you got three checks in your locker after those games—one
Being a football fan, I have been keeping up with the whole “bounty” scandal in New Orleans. The NFL has recently come down on the New Orleans Saints for paying its players for good, clean tackles. This is like penalizing a team for having the best coaching staff. If a player knows that he will be rewarded for doing his job well, he will continue to do his job well and bring out his best performance every time.
It seems like this is something that should be encouraged. The NFL has always been known as the most violent sport; the type of violence that makes people cringe at the thought of their children playing it. But by rewarding players for their hard hits, they are encouraging them to play hard and help clean up the game by taking out some of the dirty hits.
For example, suppose a running back is running down field and he gets hit with a helmet-to-helmet hit or a late hit after being tackled. Instead of getting fined or suspended for doing so, why not offer him an incentive to keep from hitting other players in these ways? By paying him more money if he avoids unnecessary roughness penalties and hits, you can help keep those dangerous plays from happening again in the future. This is not only safer