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: Mar 23, 2009
Posted on: March 3, 2012 4:25 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

Wow. Overreact much? Some people are saying Williams should be banned for life, fired or suspended because Tony Dungy says that Peyton Manning suffered his neck injury on a questionable hit. Sorry Tony, im calling shenanigans on that one. Were supposed to believe that Manning was injured on that play which wasnt even vicious enough to draw a flag? He was injured in 06, but waited until 09 to get surgery. Right. The next thing you know Colts fans are going to start claiming that they lost the Super Bowl to the Saints because of Williams' bounty system.

Not only is Dungy's claim over the top, the controversy over this bounty situation is also over the top. It sounds worse than it is. The term bounty makes it the practice sound sadistic, but the reality is that coaches are giving players extra incentive to play hard. I could understand the outrage if Williams was pushing his players to knock out guys using dirty tactics and late hits. He didnt do that. Williams did offer players money to knock guys out using legal means. On the surface thats wrong, but its football people. The game by nature is violent. Even if coaches didnt offer monetary incentive players would still be trying to take their counterparts out of the game. It gives your team a competitive advantage if the other teams best players arent on the field. You think when Michael Vick got injured this season, every defender wasnt trying to hit him in his cracked ribs? The aftermath of this situation isnt going to be pretty. Fines will be levied and suspensions will come down as the NFL tries to make examples out of Williams and the Saints. The question is will that stop the practice? I believe that coaches will no longer offer money, and both players and coaches will never use the term bounty again. They probably never used that term anyway. But if you think that players will stop targeting each other because of the impending firestorm, your kidding yourself.

Since: Feb 15, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 4:16 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

If the hits were not flagged then a defensive player can hit as hard as they want too.  All defensive players are trying to take out every player on the opposite team.  Just keep the hits legal.

Since: Nov 1, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 4:10 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

This is sad to say however; I am going to say it anyway as there is truth in these words.  This "horrible reality" for football is the ONLY thing keeping the NFL from being the WWE.  The sport is nothing if it no longer represents a catervarii spirit.  The NFL keeps changing the rules to “protect” players, soften the game, and I believe actually encourage bounties to exist in the first place.   Let gladiators be gladiators.  The game can police itself.

Since: Mar 1, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 4:06 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 17, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 3:23 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

Wow...and you wonder why so many guys are taking head shots these days? You look at all the highlight hits this past year alone that guys got knocked out or seriously cuncussed and wonder what the bounty behind the hit was. Watching them in slow motion and listening to the announcer commenting that the player had the choice to pull up or go low, but instead took the head shot instead (robinson on jackson, harrison on mccoy) now the real question will be what was the Cash insentive??

Since: Jul 30, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 2:42 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

Greg Williams should be banned from the NFL or at the very least suspended for a year. There's no room for this BS in the NFL. If the league doesn't take action against this idiot, the players should take some action. Maybe a not so undeliberate late hit on the side lines knocking a player into Williams legs a la Sean Payton last year. Come to think of it maybe Sean Payton already got his ...

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 2:42 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D


Since: Aug 7, 2010
Posted on: March 3, 2012 2:40 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

Rings should be taken away, draft picks should be taken away. Jobs should be taken away. Players should be fined and made to perform community service at high schools, and colleges and state indetail how they felt it was okay to injure somebody's star player. Writers today would be questioning the free throws Wilt missed so I'm not sure they don't fuel this type of criminal behaviour so writers are given an inordinate amount of influence over game decisions that affect only the team. Talent, skill and strategy are no longer enough to please those wanting bigger faster, stronger, harder than evolution provides for so, let's help the process with the next undetectable substance to make whomever the ultimate. The rings should be replaced with the grocery bags but this should not be rewarded and Gregg Williams should not be allowed to coach anywhere at any level. His short sighted approach to the game's stars threatens the game, sport of football and the games's bottom line. No one wants to pay starter money to watch back-ups play because Williams' crew has decided to knock the stars out of the games. Is there any thought given to what happens after the game has ended? It sthat the point at which Vilma seeks out the injure player and says it was my idea that you shouldn't be able to play football anymore. How many of the players spoke to anyone they injured? I feel really bad for the owner and the city but  not at all for anyone else associated with that farce.

Since: Jun 24, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 2:00 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

Wow.  This is bad, indeed.  Williams has to be banned for life from coaching football at any level, if that's even possible.  The Saints, including head coach Sean Payton, have to be fined heavily and lose some draft picks.  You can't go around in life trying to injure other people (and succeeding in it) and not have a severe consequence. We'll see what the NFL is made of here.  They have to come down incredibly hard...have to.

Since: Aug 20, 2010
Posted on: March 3, 2012 1:43 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D


The only football you ever played was Pee Wee Football.....

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