Hanford Dixon: Browns had a “bounty” system

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.

[Related: Cleveland Browns Film Room: Game 8, 3rd and 1]

(Source: Cleveland.com)


  • Garry_Owen

    Based on this testimony, I do believe that it’s time for the NFL to open up a thorough investigation into the Baltimore Ravens – with possible severe punishments to be meted. Indeed, I think that it warrants a forfeiting of every game played by that team this year – and every team that was in existence before, say, 1999.
    [Sadly, my plan still won’t get us into the Super Bowl. We’d have to play Houston to get there.]

  • ” Express”

    that you have failed to highlight & makes a huge difference, the “pool
    ” was amongst the players themselves, I would venture to say that in any
    workforce be it office, factory, sports of all sorts there is a weekly ”
    betting pool ” of some “sort “. Although there is no comparison between
    putting a ” hard hit ” on someone and the typical office ck. pool the
    compatible thing is it’s voluntary

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    Except we kept the history of all those seasons, so the Ratbirds would get away scot-free, again. I hate them so much.

  • Deuce

    Sometimes I just wish former players would keep their mouths shut. There is no reason for this, even if it was that long ago. These guys need to stop putting themselves in the media for negative reasons. (Jim Brown on Trent, Joe Namath on everything, etc.)

  • Garry_Owen

    Well, I would argue (indeed, I’m doing it now!) that “history” and “liability” are two separate and distinct things. Our “history” only includes the raw statistics, rosters, trophies, and records. The liability falls on the actual structural and legal organization, i.e., the Baltimore Football Ravens (or whatever the name of that hideous, godawful operation might be).

    But, I acknowledge that I’m on a very slippery slope here. Thus my proposal to only implement forfeits during the current year. I wouldn’t want the actual records of the teams that committed these “atrocities” to be affected. That would just be bad. For us.

    Look, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool hypocrite, but at least I’m on the right side!

  • BenRM

    Isn’t it fairly common knowledge that most, if not all, teams were doing this during the 80s?

  • mgbode

    I am sure the NFLPA is going to love these stories coming out when they try to fight the NFL in court claiming the NFL holds the liability and not the players.

  • Natedawg86

    Unless Terry Tate is in your office

  • porckchopexpress

    “When ts game time its pain time baby!”
    Love me some Terry Tate

  • Every team had a bounty system in place in the 80’s and 90’s, it was still Football back then. Heck the Eagles and Cardinals even played in a game called the “Bounty Bowl”!! Now we’ve become a wussified nation of athletes concerned more with their paychecks then their physical play. The NFL in the 2000’s has become flag Football, and by that I mean there’s a lousy flag thrown just about on every drive. I miss the old “Hard Knocks” videos with Butkus and Lott and Lester Hayes where hard hits were not only encouraged by celebrated. What happened America? When did we become such wusses? Why can’t we let the real men play the sport we all love without the men in stripes and the men in suits ruining it for us in the future?