In his recently released book, former Cleveland Browns defensive back Hanford Dixon — affectionately known as the “Top Dawg” — says that the mid-80s team had a players only bounty system that rewarded members for hard hits.
“The object wasn’t to maim or cause serious injury, but to knock (an opponent) out of the game,” writes Dixon. “These pools would be maybe a couple of hundred bucks, not really that much money.”
The operation in question did not include the coaching staff. Bill Livingston of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, while discussing the book in his most recent column, stated that if of Sam Rutigliano, Marty Schottenheimer and Bud Carson were aware of the bounty pools but turned the other cheek, they had “plenty of company” as the whole league was “looking the other way” when it came to player injuries.
This, of course, all comes in the wake of the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal that has claimed headlines throughout the course of the entire season, leading to suspensions, reversals, and nearly as much finger-pointing as was seen a year ago during the labor-based lockout.