DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 11: A Chicago Bears helmet sits on the grass before a game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
The Bears may have been targeted by the New Orleans Saints during their game in September. A recent investigation by the NFL found the Saints have run a bounty program for years, giving incentives for defensive players to injure their opponents. Longtime Bears fans will remember this isn't the first time the Bears have had a bounty on their heads.
Dan Hampton mentioned it to ESPN Chicago on Sunday.
"Charles Martin ... he put numbers on his towel to take away all pretense of [not having] a bounty," Hampton said Sunday.
In 1986, the Super Bowl champion Bears were playing a terrible Packers team that finished 4-12. The rivalry between the two teams was as strong then as it is now, but it was the Packers who struggled to keep up with the Bears. Green Bay defensive lineman Charles Martin wrote the numbers of Bears players he targeted on the towel fastened to his waist. One of those numbers? Nine, the number worn by Bears quarterback Jim McMahon.
After McMahon threw an interception and walked towards the Bears sideline, Martin tackled him and drove McMahon's shoulder into the ground. McMahon later had to have surgery from the injury. He was never the same.
Mike Ditka, head coach of the Bears at the time, said he would have put a stop to the bounties because they have no place in the game.
"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."