- Melissa Isaacson, Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
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Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka said he would have stopped any bounties if he learned of them, but there were money pools based on different statistical categories.
"Not that I know of," Ditka said when asked if bounties existed during his time as coach. "If it did happen, it would have stopped when I knew of it ...
"First of all, there's no point to it and it doesn't belong in the game. In the old days, defensive players had money pools based on tackles, sacks, interceptions, knockdowns, fumbles caused, things like that. But that's all it should have ever been. I know the story about cutting the head off a snake and the body will follow, but to try to take someone out of the game, personally I don't like it."
Hall of Fame defensive tackle Dan Hampton said the Bears didn't need bounties.
"When you have a team like we had, with nine All-Pros on defense and a regular triage of patients being brought off field, you can say these things are happening," Hampton siad. "I can see that. But on our team, we would be watching film and [defensive coordinator] Buddy [Ryan] and[defensive line coach] Dale [Haupt] and the rest of them wouldn't say, ‘Oh yeah, get this guy.' But it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if Joe Montana was on the bench, it creates a good environment for winning the game.
"In our deal, it wasn't 'I'll give you $1,500 in cash for it.' It was, 'If you keep OJ Anderson to 50 yards rushing, I'll buy you lunch next week.' "
Hampton said there was no ethics or logic in delivering dirty blows.
"If you have guys trying to tear somebody's knees off, guess what? It will come back at you, that's the way to police it, but we didn't do it that way," Hampton said. "When we had [safeties Gary] Fencik and [Doug] Plank laying out Jimmie Giles, there was a lot of woofing from opponents but that was just the way our guys played."
As for recent reports that NFL bounty hunting may involve as many as four teams, including the New Orleans Saints, Hampton scoffed.
"What a bunch of rats these players are now, coughing up their guts and pointing fingers," he said. "On one hand, guys are making millions of dollars a year and a thousand dollar bounty is going to wind his clock?
"In the bigger picture, whatever happened to "What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room? And as far as the Saints, Bills, Redskins, who the hell did they ever hit anyway? It was that great bounty-hunting defense of the Saints that the 49ers ran out of Candlestick [in the playoffs]. Whatever happened to a bounty on Vernon Davis? [New Orleans] would have been in the Super Bowl if anyone could tackle. It's ludicrous."