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Oilers/Titans had performance pool, too

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With evidence of the teams for which Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams worked over the past decade having internal systems that paid players for specific instances of on-field performance, it’s no surprise that there’s now evidence of the team with which he spent a full decade doing the same thing.

Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports that the Tennessee Titans (and, before that, the Tennessee Oilers and, before that, the Houston Oilers) “had a player-organized performance incentives pool to reward big plays — everything from bone-jarring hits to touchdowns to downing punts inside the 10 — with extra money.”

Former players who spoke to Wyatt said “coaches were aware” of the activity, but that the coaches “didn’t organize bonus programs or hand out money for deliberately injuring an opponent.”

Of course, there’s a fine line between “bone-jarring hits” and deliberate efforts to injure.  (Or maybe there isn’t.)

One play said the mentality traces to Buddy Ryan, who served as defensive coordinator of the Oilers in the early 1990s.

“Buddy used to put it simple: If you take the other team’s best player out, your chance of winning increases dramatically,” former Oilers linebacker Al Smith told Wyatt.

Wyatt writes that, of a dozen players interviewed, none said that Williams administered a program for financially rewarding players who injured opponents.  But safety Lance Schulters, who arrived in Tennessee after Williams left and Jim Schwartz became the defensive coordinator, admitted that the players had a system of their own.

“Guys would throw out there, ‘Hey, knock this guy out and it’s worth $1,000,’” Schulters said.  “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.

“In some of our [defensive back meeting] rooms we had money up for big hits, stuff like that.  But it wasn’t dirty, or anything crazy like ‘Take this guy’s knee out and you get $5,000.’  It was just a way of keeping it interesting.”

Schulter’s right about one thing.  The habit — long suspected and now fully exposed — definitely will keep it interesting, for weeks if not months.

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40 Responses to “Oilers/Titans had performance pool, too”
  1. bigfranky75 says: Mar 5, 2012 7:21 AM

    St. Louis Rams’ fans have got to be loving life right now (sarcasm)….. LOL!

  2. patcheatiots says: Mar 5, 2012 7:24 AM

    How can the Bounty System compare to Video Taping Signals As McVideo and the Patsies did.
    They Lost a Draft Pick… Oooooh Look at the past years of Patsies draft 80% are not in the league.
    and Belicheat Fined $500K and The Devil Kraft $250,000.
    So Now Goodell Is Going to Suspend the Saints for 2012 … No Friggen Way.
    Go After Williams and make him Pay for being the Ring Leader…

    Shame On The Patriots…
    Tainted * Superbowls that the Commissioner let happen.

  3. winskins says: Mar 5, 2012 7:24 AM

    Hmmm..how about the rest of the Ryan family?

  4. jamalsagod says: Mar 5, 2012 7:29 AM

    There is a big difference between a stayed purpose of the bonus being for injuries and knock-outs, and a big hit. Intent is everything in this matter. Further, there is a big difference between coach initiated and maintained, sanctioned by the willful actions of the GM in disobeying the owner’s desire to stop it, and players organizing something themselves.

    There really is just no comparison here.

  5. dldove77 says: Mar 5, 2012 7:33 AM

    Something tells me there’s a lot of coaches and players from teams not associated with Gregg Williams that are scared s-less right now that someone will out them for doing this same exact thing.

  6. redrew says: Mar 5, 2012 7:40 AM

    Jeff Fisher ALWAYS fields the dirtiest teams in the NFL. Why does this scandal surprise anyone?

  7. serr8d says: Mar 5, 2012 7:46 AM

    Meh. No story here. The few $$ that a player might now get for a ‘big hit’ is nothing compared to the huge mega-dollar fine imposed by a naval-scrutinizing NFL Commisioner’s commission looking to cut back on anything that might even smell like a injurious hit.

    The disincentives far outweigh the incentives in this game nowadays. We’ve allowed too damned many lawyers access to the rules.

  8. sportsmeccabi says: Mar 5, 2012 7:54 AM

    I’m fine with something like this now. If the pool is used to play physical, I don’t care about that. As long as that is the true intention and not to injure.

  9. wtfru2 says: Mar 5, 2012 7:57 AM

    After Williams got away with it for so many years, I believe he deluded himself into thinking it was okay to do this. Not only that but is appears that he kept increasing the bounty…

  10. cmarsh64 says: Mar 5, 2012 8:01 AM

    He should be banned from football, it’s no better than betting on the game and it’s really worse because your rewarding someone for hurting another player. The careers in the NFL are short enough for most players.All teams should lose draft picks and players fined or suspended or both if they still are in the league.

  11. tommythek says: Mar 5, 2012 8:02 AM

    It is too late to discipline Buddy Ryan, therefore and hithertoo, Rex and his brother will have to be banned for life from the NFL.

  12. waccoforflacco says: Mar 5, 2012 8:03 AM

    Isn’t it odd…everywhere Williams coached had a bounty system. Must be a coincidence.

  13. wingz101 says: Mar 5, 2012 8:06 AM

    This is getting a little silly now. I think in all sports, especially football, hockey and even basketball – players all throw out a little extra cash for big plays or for an extra effort to beat a former team. I mean players talk about this stuff all the time – its in almost every biography. I think the main difference with the Saints is the attempts to injure … people talk about Favre, but if you want to see another obvious example, check out the Lions-Saints December game and the play that led to Pettigrew getting a 15 yard penalty – you can clearly see the Saints tackler dive right at the guys left (surgically repaired) knee and then Pettigrew snaps. That is the definition of cheap shot and you have to wonder how much cash was on the table for taking out Stafford’s 2nd favorite target.

  14. wryly1 says: Mar 5, 2012 8:07 AM

    … which raises the question of whether new Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who whas HC for Titans, had that going on under his nose for a decade without his knowing about it – and did Fisher, who was on the NFL’s Competition Committee, withold what he knew about it from league investigators? Stay tuned – this is far from over – just heating up.

  15. eastsideballa says: Mar 5, 2012 8:08 AM

    Gregg Williams should be suspended indefinitely from the league, but I bet that will not happen and in the case that it does not happen he will still stand before Allah, and Allah is the best of Judges.

  16. bobby4413 says: Mar 5, 2012 8:11 AM

    I would love a story on the players’ wives and how they feel about their husbands taking extra large sums of cash as I’m sure they never saw this money. I’m sure this is very motivating for married players to have extra partying, girl and drug money that the wifey never knows about!

  17. nukaten says: Mar 5, 2012 8:18 AM

    Sick of hearing about this douche

  18. jobotjones says: Mar 5, 2012 8:33 AM

    This surprises me least of all…the titans are classless.

  19. sterlingsaint says: Mar 5, 2012 8:34 AM

    All this going on under Jeff Fisher’s nose. Fisher is back on the NFL’s Competition Committee after signing with the Rams. Hypocrisy will reign supreme if he keeps that position after discipline from this Saints’ scandal is meted out.

    But by all means use umpteen resources to investigating my Saints. Classic case of a witch hunt on a team that lacks a powerful owner. Thousands of documents gathered, really?!?! Witch hunt indeed.

    Belichick escaped game suspensions, but paid a hefty fine which I’m sure Bob Kraft pitched in to help pay.
    Belichick outright cheated and Goodell burned all existence of those tapes — which covers up the whole truth of SpyGate. So no one knows if their punishment was entirely fair. Could have been a slap on the wrist if we knew what was on those tapes.

    Now we’re hearing Sean Payton might face multi-game suspension. If only the Saints had Bob Kraft as an owner — not some bumbling parasol wielder…. SIGH!

  20. abninf says: Mar 5, 2012 8:35 AM

    On my pee wee, JHS and HS teams we had a bounty system. It was called stickers on the helmets. That was better than money to me. If a player makes a legal hit who cares what motivates him?

  21. BTC says: Mar 5, 2012 8:37 AM

    In my mind there is a BIG and obvious difference between paying someone for making good plays (big legal hits, good punts inside the 10, touchdowns) that don’t intentionally as opposed to, say, what I saw the Saints doing to Brett Favre in the NFCCG. If the NFL wants to crack down on ANY kind of “performance pool” that’s fine and is the NFL’s prerogative, but it’s disingenuous to say rewarding someone for making a good football play is just as bad as rewarding him for cheap shots and late hits.

  22. godofwine330 says: Mar 5, 2012 8:48 AM

    I don’t agree with the extra pay to knock someone out of the game or get someone injured, but extra incentive for interceptions, downed punts inside the 10, sacks – things that are going to make guys try that much harder is no different than me trying to be #1 in sales so that I can get that piece of crap Sansuni 55″ TV or the parking space right next to the door.

    Let the guys have that. I have a problem with the bounty, but I don’t have any problem at all with giving guys extra incentive to do their jobs. Let the guys have that.

  23. xxxviichamps says: Mar 5, 2012 8:50 AM

    “Take this guy’s knee out and you get $5,000″?…What exactly about that isn’t dirty Lance Schulters?

  24. mrslay1 says: Mar 5, 2012 9:11 AM

    The only people that will stand in front of allah-(SATAN) are the one who are in HELL!!

  25. rmc1995 says: Mar 5, 2012 9:15 AM

    This is nothing but a kangaroo court type of thing and is no way comparable to what the Saints did.

    There is a huge difference between a bone jarring hit and an intent to injure. In the man’s game of football, every tackle isn’t perfect. It’s like a baseball swing when you know the ball hits the sweet spot. Same with football. Rarely does a player get that moment of being square to the ball carrier and delivering a hit so pure you don’t feel a thing. Technique and form is perfect. And that ball carrier feels all of it. And sometimes the ball carrier’s rib breaks, or he gets the wind knocked out, or he gets a hip pointer simply because it’s a brutal game played by men who take themselves to a dark place to do such brutal things. Most of the time the ball carrier is trying to deliver a hit as well.

  26. jm91rs says: Mar 5, 2012 9:23 AM

    patcheatiots says: Mar 5, 2012 7:24 AM

    How can the Bounty System compare to Video Taping Signals As McVideo and the Patsies did.

    ____________________________________

    I hate the pats as much as the next guy, but GET OVER IT!

  27. sf944 says: Mar 5, 2012 9:23 AM

    Safety Lance Schulters joined the Titans in 2002, one year AFTER!!! Williams left to take over as head coach of the Bills. Jim Schwartz, now head coach of the Lions, replaced Williams as defensive coordinator.

    Players said Schwartz handed out baseball bats or boxing gloves for big hits, but Schulters said teammates raised the stakes with what some of them recalled “money games.”

  28. jm91rs says: Mar 5, 2012 9:25 AM

    xxxviichamps says: Mar 5, 2012 8:50 AM

    “Take this guy’s knee out and you get $5,000″?…What exactly about that isn’t dirty Lance Schulters?

    __________________________________

    Ha you might need to read the article again…”it WASN’T dirty, or anything crazy like ‘Take this guy’s knee out and you get $5,000.’ “

  29. mkuske says: Mar 5, 2012 9:36 AM

    Finally a reason for Cortland Finnegan’s continued dirty play.

    Eventually this will get back to Jeff Fisher who was involved in a similar “bounty” scheme as Buddy Ryan’s defensive coordinator with the Eagles. All you have to do is look at the tree from Ryan to Fisher to Williams and Schwarz.

  30. xxsweepthelegxx says: Mar 5, 2012 9:36 AM

    patcheatiots says:
    Mar 5, 2012 7:24 AM
    How can the Bounty System compare to Video Taping Signals As McVideo and the Patsies did.
    They Lost a Draft Pick… Oooooh Look at the past years of Patsies draft 80% are not in the league.
    and Belicheat Fined $500K and The Devil Kraft $250,000.
    So Now Goodell Is Going to Suspend the Saints for 2012 … No Friggen Way.
    Go After Williams and make him Pay for being the Ring Leader…

    Shame On The Patriots…
    Tainted * Superbowls that the Commissioner let happen.

    ———————–
    Wow….I guess therapy hasn’t been going that well for you. Sorry man. You’re gonna put Kleenex out of business with those thoughts.

  31. lolb23 says: Mar 5, 2012 9:37 AM

    “Take this guy’s knee out and you get $5,000″?…What exactly about that isn’t dirty Lance Schulters?
    ________________________________

    Learn to read dummy

    But it wasn’t dirty, or anything crazy like ‘Take this guy’s knee out and you get $5,000.’ …

    Sad out school systems these days. :-(

  32. xxsweepthelegxx says: Mar 5, 2012 9:40 AM

    patcheatiots says:
    How can the Bounty System compare to Video Taping Signals As McVideo and the Patsies did.
    They Lost a Draft Pick… Oooooh Look at the past years of Patsies draft 80% are not in the league.
    ———————————
    Though I tend to agree that the Pats (Belichick) drafts havent been great. I’d like to point out that the a lot of the “other” 20% you give them are all probowl players. Mankins, Wilfolk, Mayo, Gronk, etc..
    If anything, the Pats have missed badly on the def. side of the ball IMO

  33. patfic15 says: Mar 5, 2012 9:40 AM

    NFLs version of Salem witch hunt.

  34. dpndots says: Mar 5, 2012 9:43 AM

    To be dead honest somewhere in Pittsburgh and Detroit, Harrison and Suh may have never paid a dime for their fines. Maybe they have been sponsored by their club’s own bounty program and the fines come out of Lebeau’s pockets. Think hard about it. They’ve sacrificed their image for a few extra thousand bucks.

    Few extra thousand bucks x 16 game season = salary in itself.

  35. mistrezzrachael says: Mar 5, 2012 9:58 AM

    Had to be 7-8 years ago….Forget his name, but, …a Titan Wide Receiver went direct for Rodney Harrisons knee w/his helmet, straight on and blew it out.

    One of the cheapest shots ever..probably got him paid @ least $5000.

    Couple of the comments above right on money…Fisher always fields teams full of cheap shot artists…but because he’s on competition committee,,,seems to be coated in teflon. Too bad, cause the guy is a jerk.

  36. megatronownsyou says: Mar 5, 2012 10:03 AM

    Sounds like Buddy has about the same amount of class as his two super fat sons

  37. cubano76 says: Mar 5, 2012 10:09 AM

    So does this investigation now move to Detroit?

  38. cliffordc05 says: Mar 5, 2012 10:17 AM

    Schulters points to the fine line between knocking a guy out of a game with a good legal hit and going for the opponent’s knee. If you don’t think defenders don’t get jacked up when one of their teammates lights up an opponent and that guy has to be carried off the field, then you have never played football.

    What Williams did was take this part of the game and pervert it by putting a bounty on it. Then it becomes simply a payment for knocking a player out of the game no matter what type of hit is involved.

  39. colt2011 says: Mar 5, 2012 10:17 AM

    And the list grows! This guy has been coaching in the NFL since 1990. What a waste of a career to encourage grown men making tons of money, to intentionally cause bodily harm to another. To have an edge on winning! Williams is a disgrace. He has a great football mind for defensive strategies and he’s about to see an end to his job. He can’t possibly survive the repercussions. Those who knew about his ‘head hunting’ activities and permitted it to go on will likewise suffer the consequences. Liars will be revealed. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Heads will roll. As the old saying goes-”cheaters never prosper”.

  40. CKL says: Mar 5, 2012 12:13 PM

    sterlingsaint says:
    Mar 5, 2012 8:34 AM

    Belichick escaped game suspensions, but paid a hefty fine which I’m sure Bob Kraft pitched in to help pay.
    Belichick outright cheated and Goodell burned all existence of those tapes — which covers up the whole truth of SpyGate. So no one knows if their punishment was entirely fair. Could have been a slap on the wrist if we knew what was on those tapes.
    ––––––––––––––––––––––––––
    Too bad you missed it but they played some of the tapes on TV. Check with Jay Glazer who is the initial person who got a copy (and my thoughts were they were directly from Goodell as his wife worked for FOX at the time). Along with showing exactly what went on, which was a shot of the DC’s hand signal then a shot of the clock to do exactly what BB said which was synch the two up for further study after the game, they were epic shots of cheerleaders and Herm Edwards waving at the camera he knew was there.

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