The Green Bay Packers are being investigated for players illegally offering bounties to other players for doing certain things on the field. The specific incident in question: Two defensive backs, including Al Harris and Charles Woodson, offered defensive linemen money if they held Adrian Peterson to under 100 yards rushing two weeks ago. In the second half of that game, a hit by Harris on Peterson knocked the rookie running back out of the game, and he has not been able to return to practice or a game since.
The bounties rule is in part to prevent players from being rewarded for injuring other players. Can you imagine a league where players go around offering thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars to players fir ending someone's career? No doubt it happens (Esera Tuaolo has said he was offered bounties while in the NFL), and it's great to see the NFL going after a cheating team like the Packers. To incent someone to injure other players (the easiest way to keep Peterson from 100 yards would certainly be to knock him out of the game) might be the most disgusting form of cheating I can think of.
To be clear, this is not the same as a quarterback buying his offensive linemen watches, or taking them to an expensive dinner, after the season. The rule prohibits bonuses based on performances against a particular player or team. Teams and players are allowed to offer bonuses (and these are often in players' contracts, e.g., rushing for 1,500 yards, catching 12 touchdowns, being named Rookie of the Year) for season-long performances. -Cyd Zeigler jr.