The news that Gregg Williams oversaw a program of paying bounties to players during his time as defensive coordinator of the Saints has led to renewed discussion of Williams’ mentor Buddy Ryan, who was at times accused of similar tactics during his long coaching career.
But Buddy’s son, Jets coach Rex Ryan, says he opposes the practice of using bounties to motivate players to hit or injure opponents.
“This is something that is being handled by the NFL office,” Ryan said in a statement released by the Jets, via the New York Daily News. “I’ve never condoned it and I’ve never coached it.”
In 1989, Jimmy Johnson (then the Cowboys’ head coach) accused Buddy Ryan (then the Eagles’ head coach) of offering $200 to any player who could knock Cowboys kicker Luis Zendejas out of the game and $500 to any player who could knock Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman out of the game.
“Having bounties on opposing players is not the way it’s supposed to be done,” Johnson said afterward. “I would have said something to Buddy, but he wouldn’t stand on the field long enough. He put his big, fat rear end into the dressing room.”
The NFL was different in those days, and the league office mostly looked the other way regarding Buddy Ryan’s bounties. Suffice to say, the league office is not looking the other way this time around.