This article originally appeared in the April 2012 Insurance and Reinsurance Committee Newsletter.
On March 2, 2012, the National Football League ("NFL") issued an official statement confirming that its investigation disclosed that between 22 and 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints participated in a "bounty" program whereby players were rewarded with cash payments for inflicting injuries on opposing players. Specifically, players were paid $1,500 for a "knockout," meaning that the opposing player was notable to return to the game, and $1,000 for "cart-offs," meaning that the opposing player was carried or carted off the field.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the recent news was the involvement of coaches and team personnel in these "bounty" programs. According to the NFL investigation, the bounty program was administered by the defensive coordinator of the Saints, Gregg Williams, while other defensive coaches and the head coach of the Saints, Sean Payton, had direct knowledge of the program. The NFL is also investigating whether Williams administered a similar program with other teams, including the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills. While the Saints may be the target of the NFL's current investigation, it is obvious that other teams and players have of had similar programs in place.
Of course, nobody could forget what became known as the infamous "Bounty Bowl," a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys in 1989. During that game, Eagles coach Buddy Ryan allegedly instructed one of his linebackers, Jesse Small, to deliver a hard block on Cowboys …