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Jim Schwartz offered rewards for big defensive plays, but no money

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

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.

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51 Responses to “Jim Schwartz offered rewards for big defensive plays, but no money”
  1. jackntorres says: Mar 28, 2012 8:21 AM

    No no the Saints are scapegoats. Screw you Roger.

  2. sterilizecromartie says: Mar 28, 2012 8:22 AM

    “… except that he gave players boxing gloves or baseball bats for qualifying plays.”
    ——-
    See this is what bothers me about this whole situation. Whether it be through money, candy, boxing gloves, or baseball bats, it is still a player being rewarded for a big hit. Where do you draw the line between a playful “prize” and the dreaded “bounty”? If it is OK to give boxing gloves, is it OK to give a car? Or tickets to a cruise? I guess as long as it is not cold hard cash being exchanged then it is fine.

  3. mhohmann says: Mar 28, 2012 8:28 AM

    What prize did Suh get for stomping?

  4. pats54 says: Mar 28, 2012 8:31 AM

    I guess Suh really wanted that set of boxing gloves when he stomped on that Packer during the Thanksgiving game.

  5. seanlachappelle says: Mar 28, 2012 8:33 AM

    This a blatant salary cap violation

  6. therealhook says: Mar 28, 2012 8:37 AM

    There’s a huge difference between the titans and saints. The titans rewarded for big LEGAL defensive plays, the saints rewarded for injuries, legal or not. They also were warned and continued doing it.

  7. stonecld33 says: Mar 28, 2012 8:38 AM

    Oh so that makes it ok.we have a winner, Here you go haynesworth, here’s a brand new 70 inch LCD tv for stomping on gurades face and next weeks price is Jenna Jamison anyone up for a big hit?

  8. noeffinway says: Mar 28, 2012 8:39 AM

    So when the league levies a punishment on the Lions for this we will have proof of the double standard for the packers, seeing as how they were cleared of the same thing a couple years ago. Watch and learn peoples.

  9. lks311 says: Mar 28, 2012 8:39 AM

    I see the haters weighing in already with less-than-clever comments. So, for those that are still having a problem discerning right from wrong: If you are rewarded for specifically taking a player out of a game on a stretcher—it a BAD thing. Okay, hope that helps.

  10. primetime0552 says: Mar 28, 2012 8:42 AM

    Funny how Schwartz said if a player was penalized they didn’t get the reward, and yet there are two comments about Suh stomping. Get over it already….

    I.see nothing wrong with rewarding players for play on the field. It’s the coaches/players money let then spend it on ‘rewards’ if they want. It’s a huge difference from bounties and paying for injuries….

  11. James says: Mar 28, 2012 8:43 AM

    Mhohmann, i think he got tap shoes

  12. f0rem4n says: Mar 28, 2012 8:44 AM

    That’t it! someone dig up Madden and persecute him for those turkey legs. No more game balls coaches, you tyrants.

    Sometimes this blog drives me nuts with it’s sensationalized headlines to drive in the clicks. Guess I’m the sucker who clicks though. Good game PFT, good game.

  13. bubbajon46 says: Mar 28, 2012 8:45 AM

    No No No…being a lifelong Lions fan..I know for a fact that Suh did NOT get Boxing Gloves or a Baseball Bat… It was new Cleats! cuz he bent one on the Packer’s Arm….

  14. keepitsimplestoopid says: Mar 28, 2012 8:47 AM

    I’m just curious – where do game balls fit in?

    Is the line between cash and prizes, or between “valuable” prizes and low-cost prizes (like a football, which has presumably little value)?

    Is there a set gift value over which you can not cross, similar to politicians and gifts/dinners?

  15. maxl49 says: Mar 28, 2012 8:49 AM

    Rumour has it that the Niners would give a black sweatshirt to anybody who would slap Jim Schwartz !

  16. darthhitman77 says: Mar 28, 2012 9:00 AM

    seanlachappelle says: Mar 28, 2012 8:33 AM

    This a blatant salary cap violation

    Boxing gloves aren’t a cap violation and, when Mayhew played there was no cap. Try harder with your Lions hate fool

  17. kozmo50 says: Mar 28, 2012 9:02 AM

    OK Roger, you’ve done your job…….If you keep throwing punches, you’re going to end up giving yourself (NFL) a huge black eye……you’ve made your point……now let it go.

  18. javierjiminy says: Mar 28, 2012 9:03 AM

    Saints Bounty was worse than Schwarts. Aints were paying players to injure, while Schwarts said he’ll give you a piece of candy if you make a good tackle.

  19. whitecastleisafoodgroup says: Mar 28, 2012 9:11 AM

    So overall, doesn’t management want to move to “pay for play” incentives? A baseball bat or cash for outstanding play and or stats? Sounds no different to me.

    Another day, another CYA NFL witch hunt.

  20. suhnami says: Mar 28, 2012 9:14 AM

    So far Schwartz was the only other NFL coach to come forward and be honest about any form of “reward” type of program they may have had in the past…wish more coaches would display the honesty that Schwartz has, if Williams and Payton had been equally as honest they may not have received the steep penalties in which the league brought down o them.

    I think this does pose a question regarding a possible “loop hole” within the rule. Seeing that there was no money given up just small gifts of little to no monetary value (ie a baseball bat not a car or something that could be turned around for significant cash value). This appears to be an instance where they were aware of the rule and tried to work within it, although walking a fine line. At the end of the day, being honest and up front about anything that could possibly be of question in a case like this is the most important.

    very commendable coach! now lets see who else will step up….

  21. pandebailey says: Mar 28, 2012 9:19 AM

    Good Lord, I wonder if all NFL fans are as stupid as the people commenting in these blogs?

    “Yeah, duh, Suh stomped on a guy so that’s connected to the……uh….bounties thing. Yeah.”

  22. andycapozello says: Mar 28, 2012 9:22 AM

    I still feel this whole bounty system is bulls**t, some of these defensive players make upward of a million dollars a game. I don’t feel it’s any extra incentive to go out and hurt someone for 10000 dollars. There contracts and job security are enough incentive, those petty amounts of cash are just how grown men throw money around.

  23. choknugget says: Mar 28, 2012 9:26 AM

    Jim Harbaugh wants to know where is boxing gloves and baseball bat are for that handshake…

  24. nepo784 says: Mar 28, 2012 9:27 AM

    Schwartz is as much of a POS as Williams. Trickle down effect

  25. vtopa says: Mar 28, 2012 9:31 AM

    Yawn. Keep on squirming coaches of the NFL. You know half of you deserve to be golfing with Payton during this season…

  26. browns627 says: Mar 28, 2012 9:32 AM

    but did they lie about it??? that is the question

  27. mancave001 says: Mar 28, 2012 9:39 AM

    jackntorres says:
    Mar 28, 2012 8:21 AM
    No no the Saints are scapegoats. Screw you Roger.
    ————————————–

    They are guilty as sin. Get real.

  28. ernie ernie says: Mar 28, 2012 9:40 AM

    Just once I would love to be a big back smack into Swartz on the sidelines, accidental or course, but just flatten him. Cannot stand the guy.

  29. gb4mn0 says: Mar 28, 2012 9:47 AM

    noeffinway says:
    Mar 28, 2012 8:39 AM
    So when the league levies a punishment on the Lions for this we will have proof of the double standard for the packers, seeing as how they were cleared of the same thing a couple years ago. Watch and learn peoples.

    ———————————————
    Yea and Bush planned 9/11 also…………idiot.

  30. fordwuzanazi says: Mar 28, 2012 9:50 AM

    The Shield doesn’t want this thing to touch Jeff Fisher because he sat on the competition committee as an influential member overseeing player safety among other things. In reality he prolly had the system in place going back to the nasty Titan defenses like the one against the Rams. Williams was his hand chosen d-coordinator then as he would have been this year.

  31. erod22 says: Mar 28, 2012 9:58 AM

    Fast forward 25 years. The game will be ruled too rough, and all seasons will be decided through virtual reality and video games.

  32. kungfubillysims says: Mar 28, 2012 10:04 AM

    Cue every single idiot Lions hater on this message boards ignorant comments.
    See you in the Super Bowl next season haters.

  33. xxwhodatxx says: Mar 28, 2012 10:04 AM

    What’s the difference?

  34. dexterismyhero says: Mar 28, 2012 10:22 AM

    @jackntorres & xxwhodatxx says:Mar 28, 2012 10:04 AM

    What’s the difference? No no the Saints are scapegoats
    ==================================

    Your coach and gm lied and kept doing it after they were told to quit…….god you people are ignorant…..Hail Katrina…

  35. soweveill says: Mar 28, 2012 10:23 AM

    went to espn.com and read this story before coming here. Its amazing how the spin here (like always) is trashing the lions for no other reason then to trash the lions.

  36. darthhitman77 says: Mar 28, 2012 10:28 AM

    gb4mn0 says: Mar 28, 2012 9:47 AM

    noeffinway says:
    Mar 28, 2012 8:39 AM
    So when the league levies a punishment on the Lions for this we will have proof of the double standard for the packers, seeing as how they were cleared of the same thing a couple years ago. Watch and learn peoples.

    ———————————————
    Yea and Bush planned 9/11 also…………idiot.

    ———————————–

    Are there many serfs in Green Bay or are you pretty lonely?

  37. sosuhme says: Mar 28, 2012 10:29 AM

    For those of you who cannot distinguish between a reward system for trying to injure a player and a reward system for big, legal, hits, I will try to explain it to you: A player who levies a clean, legal, big hit on an opponent with the intent and hope that the opponent then gets up and runs back to the huddle is playing the game the way it’s suppose to be played. That is called “sportsmanship.” A player who hits an opponent, clean or otherwise, with the intent and hope that the opponent be carted off the field is called “barbarianism.”

  38. alkaline1968 says: Mar 28, 2012 10:32 AM

    I think the real issue here is the Saints were stupid enough to get caught.It wasn’t even based on innuendo.They left a huge paper trail.Stupidity is rewarded with retribution.

  39. simplesimon1 says: Mar 28, 2012 10:33 AM

    OK…..Let me very easily answer a few misconceptions all of you seem to be having every time anything comes up where the bounty system in New Orleans is concerned.

    1) The Saints were asked very decisively and lied about it on numerous occasions. That alone makes it different instantly.

    2) You can’t compare things that might have happened 20 years ago and older to now. First, it wasn’t even the same commissioner of the league. Second, 20 years ago former players weren’t actively suing the NFL for “taking no initiative in player safety”. It kind of changes the culture in the NFL. At this point there has to be zero policy towards anything of this nature.

    3) Incentives for big, legal plays such as keeping the punt inside the 10 yard line or a QB sack in a big time of the game is not a big deal. That isn’t what the NFL is cracking down on. That’s like getting the game ball. Not a big deal at all. What the Saints did was not that at all. It was a purposeful violation amoungst coaches and players to actually try to injure people. Not make big plays like an INT or QB sack. Actually trying to injure and being rewarded, not only for injuring an opponent, but being given more if the injury was actually serious. In no way is any other payment system in the same league.

    For everybody saying this is a witch hunt, learn your facts. The league could have come down much harder. The Saints lost their coach, sure, but an assistant for the first half the year, $500,000 and a second rounder? That’s nothing!!! For God sake, the Cowboys and Redskins got harsher punishment for spending too much in an uncapped year.

    If anybody actually reads Peter King’s article on this bounty program you’ll understand a bit better why the league cfracked down so hard.

    Also, for andycapozello who said “I don’t feel it’s any extra incentive to go out and hurt someone for 10000 dollars”…… Go read Peter King who writes about how when Favre got hurt in the NFC Championship game there are Saints players jumping up and down on the sidelines shouting “Favre is out, Favre is out” and the guy that hit him low, late and illegal is also heard shouting “pay me my money”…. This is hardly a witch hunt people…..The Saints deserve everything they’re getting and more…. Get ready to say good bye to some players too….Maybe even your “didn’t know anything was going on”, Saints NFLPA Rep, golden QB.

    Witch hunt?….. Get Real

  40. mjkelly77 says: Mar 28, 2012 10:34 AM

    There’s nothing here to see, people. Keep moving.

  41. dukemarc says: Mar 28, 2012 10:35 AM

    mhohmann says:
    Mar 28, 2012 8:28 AM
    What prize did Suh get for stomping?

    ————————–

    I’m thinking a pair of Clogs.

  42. IainRWB says: Mar 28, 2012 10:35 AM

    If you look at the comments after the Jets-Tampa Bay game in 2009 you’ll see Bart Scott cost himself a gameball (motivational tool of choice) when he incurred a penalty for a hit that led to the team losing a shutout.

  43. simplesimon1 says: Mar 28, 2012 10:39 AM

    The only person in all this mess with the Saints that actually got screwed was Jeff Fisher.

  44. mjkelly77 says: Mar 28, 2012 10:45 AM

    ernie ernie says:Mar 28, 2012 9:40 AM

    Just once I would love to be a big back smack into Swartz on the sidelines, accidental or course, but just flatten him. Cannot stand the guy.
    _________________

    ernie ernie … do you beat your girlfriend? Get some help.

  45. nowillrepeat says: Mar 28, 2012 10:55 AM

    This is funny.

    The lions are one of the dirtest teams in the league and have been since Schwartz took over.

    For these idiot Lions fans trying to defend this, your stupid.

    Schwartz would have definetly lied about this if asked before this all broke out. Plus, im sure if the nfl looks hard enough, they will find cash insentives as well.

  46. nowillrepeat says: Mar 28, 2012 10:57 AM

    I have a feeling this whole thing is gonna blow up in Goddell face.

  47. 3ghostninja says: Mar 28, 2012 11:06 AM

    ” Where do you draw the line between a playful ‘prize’ and the dreaded ‘bounty’?”

    The line is drawn in two places — when the reward is monetary (because as I understand it, it violates league rules) and when the intent is to INJURE. Most big hits do not lead to injury.

    While we’re at it, let’s do away with game balls (a long standing football tradition which spans all levels of play), and stickers on helmets in college.

  48. mkuske says: Mar 28, 2012 11:12 AM

    That people aren’t putting Jeff Fisher under more scrutiny is just silly. In the late ’80s early ’90s Fisher was Buddy Ryan’s defensive coordinator in Philly when the Eagles were involved in their own “bounty-gate”. Now two of Fisher’s proteges and former defensive coordinators are implicated in this current bounty-gate. Look at the dirty play of guys like Cortland Finnegan and Albert Haynesworth. The dots aren’t that hard to connect guys.

  49. joemcrugby says: Mar 28, 2012 11:30 AM

    “To put people out of the game, that’s never been our experience,” Schwartz said.
    _______________________

    Shawne Merriman???? What did NFLPA President Kevin Mawae get for effectively ending Merriman’s career?????

    I call BS, Schwartz.

  50. bischof21 says: Mar 28, 2012 12:40 PM

    The lions were labeled dirty by fans and media. You know who kept complaining about Saints being dirty? The teams and players. Keep up all the Detroit did this Detroit did that. In the end the truth came out and shocker the players not the media or fans were correct.

  51. bearsstillsuck says: Mar 28, 2012 1:36 PM

    I knew it was only a matter of time before the lions got involved in this.

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