Kurt Warner thinks bounties have been part of the league for a long time

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Former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, who absorbed a big hit during a playoff game against the Saints in his final NFL game, has responded to the news that the Saints were using a bounty system at the time.

It’s definitely disappointing, but I won’t say that I’m completely surprised,” Warner told Burns & Gambo of KTAR in Phoenix.  “And, again, not necessarily the Saints, but I’m not surprised that there were teams out there doing those kinds of things behind closed doors.”

Though Warner said he had no knowledge of bounty systems during his career, he said “there’s no doubt” that players pay attention to the injury report, and that he believes players want to knock opponents out of games.  “I think that’s part of the game, and I think that’s part of the mindset,” Warner said.  “And I’m not going to tell you that I haven’t believed that there was probably defensive players that got together and said, ‘Hey, you know, a thousand bucks for the first guy to knock Kurt out of a football game.’  I’m sure that’s been a part of our league for a long time.”

So did the hit against the Saints end his career?  “No, absolutely not,” Warner said.  “It was a nice exclamation point on it.”

Warner also pointed out that the hit from Bobby McCray wasn’t dirty.  “It was a violent hit, no question,” Warner said.  “But I also believes it was a legal hit.”

As to Warner’s suspicions regarding the existence of bounties well before 2009, he’s right.  Whenever past whispers regarding bounties have arisen, inevitably coaches and players have said that these things happen, with or without the knowledge of the coaching staff.

That’s why the league needs to take a broader view of this one before imposing discipline.  Like Spygate in 2007, the biggest sin for the Saints perhaps was getting caught.

The bigger question will whether the league chooses to make an example out of the Saints, even though other teams surely have used bounties.  Five years ago, the NFL definitely made an example out of the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick.  Given that bounties encourage injuries, it will be impossible for Commissioner Roger Goodell to regard the overriding culture as a mitigating factor.

That’s why, even though Warner thinks the hit he absorbed was clean, he believes that the NFL will need to take significant action in order to keep this from happening again.  So do we.  With concussion lawsuits raging, the last thing the league needs is to appear soft as to one of the harder realities of life in the NFL.

36 responses to “Kurt Warner thinks bounties have been part of the league for a long time

  1. It is part of the game Kurt, but now isn’t the time to be reasonable; there is blood in the water and the mob is ready to feed. As the psycho doctor from Human Centipede yelled, “Feed them!” “Feed them!”

    We can be reasonable later, but for now let’s pile on and call for some heads to roll!

  2. Does anyone still realize this is a contact sport? In which you wear pads in order to be able to dish out punihsment on others while trying to protect yourself?

    But to some it is shocking that players would …. must I say it …. hit eachother hard? oh my!!!

  3. Thank you, Kurt. It’s nice to see some reason from someone, especially from one of the players that was “targeted” in this mess. I love all the holier than thou talk coming from the fans of other teams that think their teams don’t do the exact same things, and that this hasn’t been going on ever since the league began.
    Unfortunately for the Saints, they were the team that was caught, and unfortunately for the Saints, that means they’re going to have be the kid who gets the ruler in front of the rest of the class.

  4. Goodell has been fining players huge amounts for illegal hits, bounties are way over the line. The punishments from this will be much more severe than the spygate infractions.

  5. That hit on Warner in that game was ruthlessly brutal, but totally legal. Dude still makes that hit bounty or not.

  6. They deserve to be made an example of because it is plain wrong. Plus it violates league rules against non-contract bonuses.

  7. Of course it’s been part of the game for a while. Its ALWAYS been a part of the game.

    This is such a stupid conversation. People are gonna get hit regardless of some “bounty. Its football.

  8. Stop trying to put words in his mouth to suit your agenda. And no, this has nothing to do with Spygate. That particular cheating scandal gave the Patriots a competitive advantage. No competitive advantage came about in this case. This was about motivating defensive players to get after it and knock the piss out of the QB……which is the name of the game anyway. Stop trying to turn football into Soccor. Stick to what nerds like you are good at……Warcraft and long bathroom sessions with the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.

  9. Agree. Hits were legal but bounty program illegal. No one can convince me that San Fran does do this. They bragged about knocking players out of games and breaking ankles and ribs

  10. Take away some draft picks. That would definitely get their attention. Too bad they don’t have a first round pick this year.

  11. How can anybody give the thumbs down on onebucsplace Bounty Paper Towels joke?

    That was a classic!

  12. t2live says:
    Mar 2, 2012 4:43 PM
    Kurt is right. To say this hasn’t happened before in the league is not realistic.

    You mean, like opposing coaches taping defensive signals from an unauthorized location, that were clear to 70,000 people watching the game? I think GODell, whom I am not a fan of, should inflict significant penalties on the Saints. After all, it’s not the crime that tainted the Pats, it was the punishment the new commish meted out that tainted the Pats.

  13. Do not fine the saints. Fine Greg williams! Either for gross negligence for not knowing there was a bounty system in place or placing the bounty himself. The buck stops at the coach.

  14. Am I the only one who would be shocked if the majority of the teams do this?

  15. Well of course he’s not mad he’s out of the league now he dosnt have to worry about it anymore. There’s way more to this story what if refferees were part of this. Guess we will have to wait and see.

  16. This is a huge problem for the NFL what Kurt says only solidifies the fact that the NFL looks the other way for its rules until things get way over the top.

  17. The Saints just lost their first round pick next year. The Patriots own their pick this year – they got Mark Ingram with that trade last year. And I’d be surprised if it only cost them one #1 pick. With all the talk about concussions and injuries, and all the rules changes in the last two years, Godell will probably go nuclear on the Saints for this one. Maybe take away off-season camp time?

  18. I see no problem with bounties so long as the players play within the rules of football. If that’s what it takes to motivate the them and they aren’t taking cheapshot hits, then what’s the problem? They can spend their money however they want.

  19. A lot of crybabies on this site ,it’s football. If you don’t think the D goes into the locker room and hi-fives the guys who hit big you’re crazy.

  20. what are they going to do? fine players more for “illegal” hits that aren’t really illegal?

    actually, sounds exactly like what Goodell will try and do

  21. It’s sad that Kurt Warner was on the receiving end of Spyste AND Bountygate. I’m happy he has 1 ring though. Could’ve been more, who knows.

  22. The difference between this and “other teams doing the same thing”?


    If you are going to break the rules, don’t write it down. That’s just stupid.

  23. Football is tough enough as it is – so come on, now you push guys to “go over the top” in their efforts. Just play the game right, like its supposed to be played. That’s an opponent, true, but that’s also another human being trying to make a living, and very probably has a family to provide for.

  24. I think they should lose of their first round pick in 2013+a franchise fine of 250,000+ a fine for Coach Pill Popper at 500,000.
    That should about do it.

  25. If the NFL and The Comish think this Dosnt happen all the time they r being naive. What D Dosnt go out on the field to try to knock out the QB. Call the Saints dirty. Go ahead and fine them, take away deft picks, make suspensions. But you know what….?

    Still worth it. SB 44 Champs!!!!!

  26. So we have free Vicodin for all and cash rewards for those players that can cause an opponent to be taken off on the field on a stretcher. There’s nothing like having a raging numbed-up 350LB opiate-induced defensive end motivated by an extra $1500.00 cash zeroing in on your QB’s kneecap. The NFL; America’s Game!

  27. $1500?? Give me a break! Couldn’t get a sideline toady to fetch a towel for that. Little game they played to prime the pump. Warner–“It’s Football”. Farve–“That’s Football”. Yep, better pull on your big boy pants to get on the field with those guys, no matter what the rules are.

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