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: May 28, 2007
Posted on: March 3, 2012 6:48 am

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

Hey ginger I take it you didn`t read the whole article otherwise you would have understood that what Tony Dungy said was during week 1, the beginning of the season, otherwise known as a long time before this scandal happened. Nobody is trying to tie anything together, they already did that back in WEEK 1. Maybe you are right, maybe it does happen around the league, I wouldn`t be surprised to find out in the next days or weeks that other teams have employed this incentive in their defensive game plans. The fact remains however that paying a player to intentionally take someone out is just a little bit outside the boundaries of acceptable in any sport. Hitting a guy hard and doing your job is one thing, taking away a guys livelihood is another altogether. My personal opinion is that you should always play to the whistle and finish your hits BUT do it within the rules of the game. Anybody who deliberately tries to injure someone should be given zero tolerance and removed from the game, no second chances. I would be very curious to see if the players association came to the defense of such a player or if they would stand behind the injured player. I can only imagine the legal battle that would ensue. 

Good luck fighting this battle Roger Goodell. 

Since: Dec 14, 2011
Posted on: March 3, 2012 6:03 am

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

Peyton...Favre...connecting more dots...that might very well explain why Brees is wanting a guaranteed contract instead of just being the highest paid player because he might get bountied and never see that cash just like Peyton may not see the 28 million bonus this spring because of possibly being bountied.   

Since: Dec 29, 2009
Posted on: March 3, 2012 4:00 am

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

I hope that all the teams do it.  Its good for the game.  The league wants to become a powder puff game & the players are revolting against it.  Good for them, they are men & want to hit people & try to injury them.  As long as its between the whistles, I'm good with it.  

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 3:31 am

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

I do remember, 40 years ago in HS football, the coaches telling us to knock the starting QB out of the game. And the trick was hitting him in his face. By whatever means. Helmet to helmet and all. It meant not only a better chance to win, but no windsprints the following week.

Not much has really changed - except the money, fines and suspensions.

The game plan is still there.

Since: Nov 27, 2010
Posted on: March 3, 2012 3:13 am

Not even half as bad as Spy Gate

The Patriots received no suspensions for cheating that effected the outcome of playoff games.

But they are one of the NFL darling teams. The Saints aren't.  So expect the NFL to come down hard on Greg Williams and his former team.

Sort of ironic that the Rams were cheated out of a Super Bowl win by the Patriots, and now they will be the team that gets punished for this - more severely than the Patriots were. 

Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:44 am

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.

Sue the Saints? This article clearly states the Manning incident happened when Williams was with the Redskins. If anything, Gregg Williams should be banned for life from the NFL. Putting players' lives at stake is completely unacceptable. Sean Payton should be suspended for half a season for allowing it, as well as all the otehr coaches Williams worked under who knew about it.

Since: Jul 28, 2011
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:44 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

LoL you must be one of those Cowgirls fans, waiting for the Great Tony Romo to lead the team to a superbowl.

Since: Oct 29, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2012 11:35 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

Puts a smile on my face that the sally coach payton got his knee`s taken out, the new name for the aints is and always will be the Taints, just like the city

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:41 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

coaches for every team will be coming out of the woodwork now...

Since: Jul 28, 2011
Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:31 pm

Dungy traces Manning's injury to Williams' D

Rediculous.  Trying to tie Manning's injury to Williams and his "bounty" program is just silly.  This is just press fodder for goodness sake.  Everyone stop acting like easily led sheep.  Just because this incident was tied to the Saints doesn't mean that this does not happen throughout the league. 

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