Plenty has changed in the National Football League since 1996 — teams,
coaches, players, rules and, most especially, views on bounties.
In 1996, the NFL didn't have rules against paying players for big hits according to a report by Deadspin on
court filings from the NFL Players Association.
Former defensive lineman Reggie White used to pay his teammates for sacks and other big hits, and the NFL said that White wasn't doing anything wrong, according to a 1996 Associated Press article.
ESPN even ran a pregrame bit on players getting paid for this kind of play, which can be seen below.
Nowadays, players are getting suspended for getting paid for these types of plays, and commissioner Roger Goodell is having a hard time handling the situation.
The NFLPA appears to have some added ammunition in its battle over how the NFL has worked through the Saints bounty investigation, with the appeals of player suspensions still coming.