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San Francisco 49ers Tried to “Take Out” New York Giants’ Eli Manning in NFC Championship Game

April 5th, 2012 at 9:53 AM
By Dan Benton

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning took some brutal hits in the NFC Championship game – far more than he's accustomed to. In fact, there's now a relatively iconic image of him calling for a timeout after being drilled into the grass, his facemask askew. It was a moment the world woke up and realized "wow! this guy is tough."

As it turns out however, Manning was likely the target of an unspoken understanding by the San Francisco 49ers daunting defense that he was the mouse that made the wheel spin, and in order to stop the well-oiled Giants offensive machine, he needed to be knocked out of the game.

“We need to take him out," cornerback Carlos Rodgers said.

That message was understood by all members of the 49ers defense, and wasn't something that needed to be vocalized. However, was there actually a bounty placed on Manning's head? Rodgers stopped short of saying that specifically.

“[The payment system is] competition in the [meeting] room … once the ball is snapped you’re not thinking about it,” he said.

Rodgers went on to say the word "bounty" overstates the situation, but added that the bounty system was in place in D.C. when he played under then defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Williams, of course, having recently been suspended by the NFL for a bounty system he used while with the New Orleans Saints.

“It went on to guys just suggesting stuff in a room,” Rogers said. “If you knock this person out, let’s say a receiver, he comes across the middle. Safety knocks him out, a legal hit, you get this amount of money.”

This doesn't necessarily mean there ever was a bounty placed on the head of Eli Manning, but it does show that the 49ers defense aimed to knock him out of the game. The question then becomes: where is the line drawn?

It's common nature in competitive sports to target the best players on the opposing team, and while athletes don't generally try to maim each other, they do try to break the strongest link. In the case of the New York Giants, that was obviously Eli Manning. And the 49ers obviously tried to knock him out of the game.

But Big Blue isn't so innocent themselves. Shortly after defeating the 49ers and advancing to Super Bowl XLVI, linebacker Jacquian Williams and wide receiver Devin Thomas acknowledged targeting San Francisco wide receiver Kyle Williams, who they knew had a history of concussions.

"The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing, was to take him out of the game," said Jacquian Williams.

Neither Manning or Williams were knocked out of the game, but both sustained some pretty big hits. And, in the end, Williams dropped the ball while Manning went on to the Super Bowl.

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Tags: Carlos Rodgers, Eli Manning, Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, San Francisco, San Francisco 49ers

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78 Responses to “San Francisco 49ers Tried to “Take Out” New York Giants’ Eli Manning in NFC Championship Game”

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  1.  Andre Holland says:

    “The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing, was to take him out of the game,” said Jacquian Williams.

    Well that’s kinda crappy. Is he saying he was going to try and give the guy a fifth and possibly make the guy a vegetable for his entire life so they could win a football game?

    •  GOAT56 says:

      It’s football, players don’t think like that which is why they with the assortment of injuries they do. If you have concerns about your physical well being you should play. Now what would have made us wrong if we made illegal hits to Kyle Williams towards his head. That I wouldn’t defend. But I have no problem with either side. It’s like a boxer complaining because his oppenet intentionally tried to reopen a previous cut above his eye. As long as he doesn’t try an illegal action to reopen the cut everything else is fair game. It’s football!

  2.  GOAT56 says:

    Honestly people have to remember it’s football. SF is suppose to try to hit Eli legally as hard as they can, that’s just part of the game. I thought SF did a great job of that and I didn’t have any problems with their hits as a football fan. People have to realize this bounty stuff isn’t about rough hits as much as it’s about the Saints lying and covering it up when they were suppose to stop. Now I did think in that NFC championship game vs Minn that they hit Farve 3 or 4 times late. So I’m not saying the Saints bounty sytem had no effect, just it’s not the issue some are making it out to be.

  3.  Krow says:

    To be honest … I don’t recall a blatant dirty hit in that game … by either team.

    •  Krow says:

      Our NFC championship game … with SF.

      •  demo3356 says:

        I agree..That was just a good old Fashioned Slug fest. I came away from that game very impressed with SF’s defense. They are an elite NFL unit

  4.  wlubake says:

    These guys need to learn to shut their mouths.

  5.  GOAT56 says:

    Krow – I understand your concern about our WRs. with Nicks we have the franchise tag so he’s going nowhere regardless. There is some concern though over Cruz is we don’t extend him this season. Cruz could end up like Mike Wallace but our additional problem would be having to pay Nicks a lot of money at the same time. It appears these are the type of guys that will work with JR and be fair but I can see some reason for concern.

    That being said l agree with F55 in that while we need help at WR this doesn’t have to addressed in the 1st round. I think the talent from 5th WR to like he 15th WR is pretty similar. So if none of the tope 4 WRs are on the board at 32 I don’t see us selecting one. I think there will quality WR talents available at least into the 3rd round.

    I think the question is similar to the one at RB is do we draft 2 WRs? Before I assumed we were re-signing Devin Thomas. Without Thomas we now have 5 WRs on the roster. Hixon is one of those and I don’t feel health wise he can be counted on. We need at least 6 WRs and have kept 7 in the past few seasons. A late round WR in addition to a top 3 rd pick wouldn’t surprise me. I doubt we draft both a late round WR and RB so it’s probably two picks at either position but not both. I think WR is more likely because you can find quality free agent rookie RBs more often than WRs. Yes, I know we have Cruz but there are more Foster’s at RB than Cruz’s at WR.

    •  demo3356 says:

      Nicks is signed for 2012 and 2013. Cruz can be tendered next off season. Reese has plenty of time to sign both. We will draft one WR high this year and one igh next year. We have drafted a WR in the first 3 rds in 5 of the last 6 seasons. I expect that trend to continue.

      •  Krow says:

        Right, but we need to do that. I’m rooting for Jernigan. He had a solid college career and Combine. But we still need to add a body to that pool … and not just ‘a guy’.

        •  demo3356 says:

          2006-Moss- 2nd rd
          2007 -Smith- 2nd rd
          2008- Mannigham 3rd rd
          2009 -Nicks (1st)- Barden-3rd
          2010-Cruz
          2011 – Jernigen 3rd

          I’d say WR is always a priority for JR

      •  GOAT56 says:

        Oh, that helps with Nicks but remember the highest tender now is just a 1st round. A team at the end of the first round with cap room could sign Cruz to a contract we can’t match.

        The issue isn’t drafting a WR this year the idea is we need the WR to be good. We would be in trouble at WR even with all that draft investment if Cruz didn’t emerge.

  6.  norm says:

    All this does is simply confirm my suspicions that the only difference between that which was said by Gregg Williams and that which is typically said in every other NFL locker room is that Williams offered his players an illegal cash bonus as added incentive.

    Unfortunately, the Moron Goodell chose not to make that distinction clear when he handed down his punishment to Williams and the Saints. Rather, we got the usual sanctimonious blather about “player safety” and how “there’s no need for that kind of thing in this great game.”

    So now we have the inevitable fallout in which everything said in every NFL locker room is become fair game to be parsed for evil intent. Before long, the Moron Goodell will announce the formation of a Language Committee, whose stated purpose will be to review audio tapes of all pregame and halftime locker room speeches and hand out the appropriate penalties to those coaches and players whose verbiage “crossed the line.”

    *sigh*

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Have to disagree. The Saints went beyond others.

      My low regard for New Orleans (not just the Saints…the entire city) continues to drop lower. Now, after hearing about the vicious audiotape that caught Williams saying things that even the most rabid fan of tough play would fine reprehensible, the city and the state of Louisiana seem hellbent on not only protesting the way the mean old Commissioner has treated their lilly-pure team but threatening to attack the NFL in a variety of ways in retaliation.

      This from a state that is so famous for corruption that their former Governor Edwards campaigned openly as a corrupt politician who delighted in staying one step ahead of the Sheriff and won multiple elections with the help of the Good Old Boys and some stuffing of the ballot boxes (and a bit of disqualification for the blacks who managed to get to the polls despite all the discouragement the state establishment could muster). From a city that prides itself on maintaining an environment where irresponsibility reigns but then expresses outrage when a bunch of kids, or the local, very corrupt, police take that to the logical extreme.

      The Saints are as dirty as the city. Payton is as dirty as the filth that lies on Bourbon Street before the morning wash-down. Williams is as mean-spirited and out-of-line and borderline crazed as are the various denizens of the French Quarter whom tourists come to gape at without knowing that the local “color” is contemptuous of them and all their dollars but desperately need them because the place produces almost nothing but trinkets, oil, and good food. Brees is an enormous phony (although still far better than his surroundings). The owner wanted to move the team after Katrina and only the strong-arming by Tagliabue (and Goodell) prevented that. So the same Commissioner’s Office that the entire region now attacks is precisely the institution that saved their team. These fools believe the Saints “saved” the city when Benson really wanted to move out. They actually believe Benson didn’t know a thing about the bounties. They truly believe that every defensive coordinator in the NFL encourages his players to go for opposition heads in order to “kill the body”. New Orleans is really good at jazz, food and booze. They’re not so good at reality.

      •  norm says:

        While I don’t necessarily agree that what that actual content of what Williams told his players was any more reprehensible than the 49ers saying they need to “take out” Eli, I find it hard to argue with such an epic, beautifully articulated rant.

        Your loathing of New Orleans is surely your Dark Muse; one that inspires you to rhetorical heights that often leave me weak with envy.

        Well done, sir; very well done indeed.

      •  Cook carpenter says:

        You know fanfor55years screw you new orleans is a great city yeah we have had our low times but we are still one of if the best cities in america. Yeah the greg williams is a discusting man and yeah sean payton screwed up but our city is great and it is probably 100 times better then every other city in the US. What dumb **** city do you live in ahole.

  7.  Chris Vaccaro says:

    How is this news? Of course they were trying to knock Eli out of the game! It’s a physical game, you’re suppose to hit your opponent hard! As long as they were hitting Eli within the limit of the rules, it’s a non-issue. No different than when a team says “We want to sack him, knock him around and get him rattled.”

  8.  demo3356 says:

    Cruz is RFA next year, Nicks is not UFA until 2014. He is under Contract for $2.45 mil in 2013. He was drafted when first rd picks were able to be signed to 5 year deals. I’m thinking we will draft another WR somewhere high like we always seem to do. We have picked a WR in the top 3 rds in 5 of the last 6 years with 2010 being the exception. That year we bought in Cruz and Calhoun as UDFA. We will add a high pick this year and probably next to keep the cubards stocked. Right now we have
    Cruz – Nicks – Jernigen – Barden – Hixon + at least two Rookies (1 drafted- 1 UDFA) and two guys on the PS competing for 5 spots. We will be fine, Eli makes the players, not the other way around. He’s turned Undrafted no names like Victor Cruz and Jake Ballard into household names. He’ll turn Jernigen, Barden or a talented Rookie into a valued weapon in the passing ga

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Repost:

      Oh, that helps with Nicks but remember the highest tender now is just a 1st rounder. A team at the end of the first round with cap room could sign Cruz to a contract we can’t match.

      The issue isn’t drafting a WR this year the idea is we need the WR to be good. We would be in trouble at WR even with all that draft investment if Cruz didn’t emerge.

      •  demo3356 says:

        Smith, Nicks, Mannigham, Cruz..I’d say Jr’s track recored of drafting “Good” WR’s is as good as anyone’s.. The only bust we’ve had the last 6 years was Moss and that was Acorsi’s last year. Look for a high rd pick this year on a WR and look for Jernigen to step in at #3 and contribute

        •  GOAT56 says:

          That wasn’t my point. Just that having concern is valid, given what we have. But I also think being confidence in JR is valid as well.

  9.  norm says:

    The more I read about Chandler Jones, the stronger my hunch that he will be the pick at 32, if available.

    The following scouting report is typical. It sure makes Jones sound as if he has all the attributes that Reese prizes in a DE:

    Strengths:

    Prototypical build for a pass-rushing end; tall with long, strong arms. Explosive off the snap; consistently beats offensive tackles off the edge. Strong wrap-up tackler who can also deliver the big hit. Does a nice job keeping his eyes on the backfield; good all-around awareness on the field. An intense player who plays with an impressive motor…

    Weaknesses:

    Struggles to shed blocks against the run; has the frame to add some weight, which would help him against more powerful offensive linemen…

    Comments:

    Had Jones returned to school and improved upon his weaknesses, he potentially could have climbed into the top-10 discussion. As a result, someone could wind up with a steal in the late 1st or 2nd round.

    http://draftace.com/blog/2012/01/30/chandler-jones-scouting-report/

    That said, I’m eagerly looking forward to reading Haz’ positional rankings for this year’s DE class.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      +1

      This would be a pretty smart pick. Jones is a guy who probably projects to around pick 35-45 but plays a position of great value to a team that is built around its quarterback/receivers and its pass rush and has to contemplate losing both Osi and Kiwi before long. He would clearly justify a pick at #32. He’d also be a great target for the Giants if they think they could get away with trading down from #32 into the late 30′s and by doing so pick up a piece in that trade that they could then use to trade up from #63 to the late-40′s or early-50′s in order to get a receiver, running back, offensive lineman, or safety.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        The issue is I have seen several drafts that have Jones going before including one at 18. He’s very much JJP like it that he has average college production but flashes a lot talent. I’m not saying JPP type talent.

        If we had Hill, Fleener, Jones, Adams and Barron available in would be interesting who we picked and the order we had the players ranked.

        •  norm says:

          That’s why I ended the first sentence of my post with the qualifier “if available.”

          Obviously, none of us knows how the draft will unfold. But in reading the various scouting reports on Jones, I could not help but think “this guy has ‘Reese pick’ written all over him.” As you said, the similarities to JPP – at least on the surface – seem to be many. Of all the DEs that I’ve read about in this class, Jones seems the closest to fitting the template of what Reese looks for in that position.

          Besides… what better way to bring balance to your D-line than by pairing a guy who has two last names (Chandler – Jones) with a player who has three first names (Jason-Pierre-Paul)? Sounds like an ideal match to me.

          •  GetDownWithJPP says:

            Guys- i was saying this the other day. Chandler jones is my pick for the giants @ 32.

            I also agree with FF55Y below about safety – not even about a succession plan, just because we basically play with 2 linebackers and 5 defensive backs the majority of the time. That is why LB is not a priority IMO and I don’t see us going that way. With regards to safety, combine Rolle’s high cap number this and next year, KP’s health history, and the relative lack of depth behind them, I would not be surprised at all if we went safety early in this draft.

            •  GetDownWithJPP says:

              My early “mock” if you can call it that because its so open ended is:

              1. C Jones
              2. Bobbie Massie/ Zebrie Sanders/ Mitchell Schwarts (RT)
              3. Markelle Martin (S)
              4. Brandon Washington (OT/OG)
              4. Might start thinking about TE depth

              •  norm says:

                A coupla things:

                Doubt we take a RT with the second pick. The Giants usually don’t spend such high picks on an O-linemen unless they are LTs.

                If they go Jones in the first, the 2nd pick will likely be a WR (as discussed earlier today) or a running back. As I said the other day, I strongly suspect Reese will use one of the first three picks on a back.

                •  GOAT56 says:

                  I agree. There’s no way a RB & WR aren’t in our picks in the first4 rounds. I can see one OL player but not 2 in the 1st 4 rounds, maybe one later.

  10.  fanfor55years says:

    I know I may seem obsessed with the safety position, but I hear no one else saying that we do need a succession approach at that position too. I suspect we will have Rolle for a good number of years (his next contract will probably not be so expensive that we lose him) but we don’t know if we can keep KP or if Sash will work out. Hard to believe Chad Jones can really compete for a spot there but you never know. We haven’t heard anything of late about his progressing, and that can’t be good.

    In order to have that third element that I think makes for Lombardi champions these days (quarterback with good targets first, pass rush second, a defensive secondary that can cause coverage sacks and get turnovers) you have to have excellent safeties. You need guys who are good cover safeties in your defensive system but can also come up strong against the run, especially when the league is headed to more nickel defenses as a fairly regular package. Without those safeties the corners cannot play as aggressively as you’d like. They have to be very cautious about jumping routes or taking away the back-shoulder catch because rather than mirroring their receiver they have to play more off them rather than take a chance on being beaten deep. So while corners get the headlines, good safeties behind them are as important to a defense.

    The Giants have two outstanding safeties in Phillips and Rolle. It’s all uncertainty beyond that. A few years ago I was pumping hard for Cam Chancellor. I loved the drafting of Chad Jones. That accident really hurt, although bringing in Grant more than offset the pain because he was great for the Giants (I still would welcome him back). There may only be one potentially great safety in this draft, but I think we need a really good one. Sash showed some promise last season, but didn’t look likely to be in the same category as KP or Rolle. We need someone who can aspire to those heights. He should be drafted this month.

    •  wlubake says:

      I agree safety is a good spot for a pick, but this draft is decidedly weak at the safety position. Barron looks like a solid prospect, and a top 20 pick. Harrison Smith lacks some ball hawking skills to be a succession plan for Rolle and/or Phillips. After Smith, the class gets pretty underwhelming.

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