Since the NFL announced the findings of its investigation into the Saints’ bounty program, there’s been a lot of discussion about how widespread those programs have been around the NFL.
Because of the involvement of Gregg Williams, there’s been particular focus on places where he coached in the past. That includes Tennessee, where Jim Schwartz worked for him and eventually succeeded him as Titans defensive coordinator. Some players who played under Schwartz said that they organized a system of cash rewards among themselves for knocking players out of games, but Schwartz said that he preferred other motivational schemes.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free-Press reports that Schwartz spoke about his own reward system at the owners meetings on Tuesday. Schwartz compared what he did with the helmet stickers given out at many colleges, except that he gave players boxing gloves or baseball bats for qualifying plays. He was careful to say that there weren’t prizes for knocking players out of the game and noted one game where a player didn’t get a prize because he was penalized for a big hit that would have otherwise won it for him.
“To put people out of the game, that’s never been our experience,” Schwartz said. “And like I said, I think more people focus more on the exception rather than the rule in the NFL.”
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said that the Redskins had a similar way of doing business during his playing days. Players who made big plays during the season could wind up with televisions, stereos or other rewards for their play, although Mayhew said that there weren’t gifts handed out for big hits.