Blog Entry

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:36 pm
In this photo from Oct. 22, 2006, Manning loses his helmet after getting hit in a game against the Redskins(Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams apologized Friday evening for his part in the team's "pay for performance" bounty program that rewarded players for injuring opponents. In fact, one NFL source told's Mike Freeman that linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered up $10,000 to any teammate who knocked then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the game.

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
Freeman says to expect more leaks in the coming hours and days.

(Apparently, Williams had a similar program when he was with the Redskins; a former player told the Washington Post that compensation ranged from "hundreds to thousands of dollars" with the biggest payout thought to be $8,000.")

One story we should expect to hear more about: Peyton Manning. He missed the 2011 season with a chronic neck injury, and he's probably taken his last snap for the Colts. Back in September, Tony Dungy, Manning's former coach who now serves as an NFL analyst for NBC, traced Manning's neck issues to a 2006 game.

The opponent? The Redskins. And the defensive coordinator? Yep, Gregg Williams.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King wrote about Dungy's remarks in his Week 1 Monday Morning Quarterback column:
Dungy had an excellent observation on our ... NFL special on NBC. He said Manning's neck history dates to Oct. 22, 2006, when his neck got wrenched and his helmet ripped off on a hit by two Washington defenders. We showed the highlight on our Saturday show, and Manning, after being hit and crumbling to the ground awkwardly, lay there for a second, and when he rose, he stretched his neck and shook his right arm for a second, as if trying to get the feeling back in it.

"Earlier in the game,'' Dungy told me, "I'm outraged that there was a flag for roughing-the-passer on Dwight Freeney for just grazing the quarterback's helmet. So I'm yelling at the ref [Scott Green], 'Where's the flag! Where's the flag!' And I don't yell much, but I did then. So I didn't notice Peyton calling timeout and being shaken up. Peyton came to the sideline and said to [backup] Jim Sorgi, 'Jim, start warming up.' As the timeout went on, he said to us, 'I can stay in, but we need to run the ball here.' ''
Former Colts president Bill Polian told King that Manning was fine at the end of the 2010 season and had "no recurrence of the neck problems that caused his first surgery after the 2009 season."

In January 2010, a week before the Saints faced the Colts in the Super Bowl, Williams (by then New Orleans' defensive coordinator) was asked about some controversial hits on Brett Favre in the NFC Championship Game.

“Here’s the deal," he said. "When you put too much of that type of worry on a warrior’s mind, he doesn’t play all out. If it happens, it happens. And the only thing you’d like for me to say is that if it happens you hope he doesn’t get back up and play again.”

Williams may have been sincere when he apologized Friday, but the remarks above makes them seem less geniune. More than that, you might think that the only reason Williams is sorry is because he got caught.

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Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:17 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

Players who sustained injuries due to this team policy should line up to sue the Saints. Major liability! I agree with the comment below that this practice is criminal.

Since: Apr 10, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:14 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D


... don't see that often in a sports context ...  

Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:08 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

easy there, henry.  you know as well as i do that no one is going to jail.  it seems that the players themselves are to blame for the rash of concussions and major injuries due to this head hunting thats obviously gone on "undetected" for years.  all those lawsuits against the nfl are about to be dismissed once they introduce these bounties. 

now that we know this, could we please move the kickoff back to where it was last year and allow for guys like hester and cribbs to do their jobs???  

Since: Mar 4, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:54 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

Have to laugh at the doofs trotting out the "this is a man's game" argument to defend this b-s.

Fines? Suspensions?  Actually, we're probably looking at jail time before this is done.  What total scumbags Williams and Vilma turned out to be--and Sean Payton.  They represent everything football ISN'T.

If Williams ever does coach another game in the NFL (highly unlikely), he better do it from up high, in the box.  Otherwise I'm sure there'll be a few plays run in the direction of the Saints sidelines.

Be very interesting to see how the NFL apologists (Fox, CBS, ESPN) deal with this. Especially ESPN, the most hagiographic network, where twisted sociopaths (like Williams) and common criminals (like Vilma) are turned into saints (no pun intended) week in and week out.

Since: Aug 22, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:50 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

You know, now thinking about it, that NFC Championship game v. Minn was a clear indicator of this policy.  I strongly believe that Gregg Williams should be removed from the NFL, The Saints and Skins lose draft picks and Sean "Ego" Payton be fired. There's no place what soever for this type style of football.s. 

Living in the WDC area, I also believe Williams method was heavily enforced by LaRon Landry as the prime suspect. Now that he's up for a new contract, people down here are asking why he "Fell Off"? This past season, LaRon would celebrate a big hit even after giving up a big gain and/or a first down. Local sports media didn't understand why...

Now we know why. 

Since: Apr 27, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:46 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

I grew up playing football, as I'm sure many on here did.  Yes you hit hard and play with fire, but there's a difference.  These guys were hitting well after the whistle, hitting low, twisting body parts, etc.  That's not the way I was taught.   I've never heard anyone complain about getting hurt on a fair, legal shot.  That's when you chalk it up to being part of the game. What these guys were doing was not that.  What's a 15 yard penalty if you can take their best player out of the game. If you can't see that, you don't know football.  Sure I'm bitter about '09 but I'm also right. 

Since: Jul 12, 2011
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:30 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D


Since: Apr 23, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:26 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

When you grow up playing contact sports as a player you want to hit hard. You never want to hurt someone but you want to hit someone so hard that they do get hurt. It is weird like that.

Since: Feb 16, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:55 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

That bounty stuff it total BS.  Yes, this is a mans game, yes hard hits and injuries are part of the game, but they are supposed to be incidental because of the nature of the game, you aren't supposed to go out trying to end a guys season any more than you don't want him trying to do it to your team.  It's sad if the Peyton thing was based off a bounty.  It teaches players to head hunt with hopes they will be rewarded for it.   I wonder if this dirtbag Williams has any kids, and if he does I wonder how he'd like it if an opposing team put out a bounty on his son.  Zero integrity. 

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