It may not be the truth, but given the aggressive, if nonsensical, position that the NFL has taken with regard to allegedly “flagrant fouls” – it might as well be. Gone are the days where aggressive play that resulted in unintentional, illegal contact used to be handled via a penalty flag and everyone moved on. Flagrant, intentional fouls were handled appropriately by the league office.
NFL fans everywhere rolled their collective eyes when the league cracked down on excessive celebrating by its players. This resulted in subsequent abuse of the NFL acronym, turning it into the No Fun League. Well, here’s a new one for you and it’s just as apropros: No Ferocity League. Others include: Nonsensical Fines League, Numerous Flags League, and the Nancyboy Fairy League.
NFL Vice President, Ray Anderson, is on the record as having said that the league may start suspending NFL players for dangerous helmet-to-helmet hits. That’s simply not going to happen because the NFL Charities would wonder where they would replace such a steep infusion of cash. From their website:
On-field Fine Money
NFL Charities has traditionally donated funds to charitable causes from annual revenues generated by on-field disciplinary fines levied against players and coaches. This on-field fine money has netted more than $2 million per year for distribution to a variety of worthwhile charitable organizations over the last four years.
Who likes what more? Does James Harrison like hitting quarterbacks (and other offensive players) more than the NFL likes hitting Harrison’s wallet or is it the other way around? Whatever the case, it certainly looks like the two entities have a symbiotic relationship. Harrison provides the NFL with highlight material, and make no mistake about the NFL’s hypocrisy when it comes to using hard hits in their promotional materials, and they, in turn, love taking money from Harrison with the same vigor he hits defenseless receivers with.
For the 2010 season, Harrison has already totaled $125,000 worth of fines, all of which came from questionable hits.
His latest fine comes from the hit he laid on Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, a blast that cost Harrison $25 grand. PFT has itemized the others:
[Harrison] previously has been fined $75,000 for a hit on Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, $20,000 for a hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees and $5,000 for a hit on Titans quarterback Vince Young.
The funny thing is how much these fines vary. It also makes me wonder how the NFL determines their punishments. Where, exactly, was the $50,000 difference between the hit on Fitzpatrick and the hit on Massaquoi? Further, I thought repeat offenders were punished more severely if their behavior continues. Judging by the NFL’s fine scale for James Harrison, that is apparently false.
USC and Hawaii provided us late-night viewers something of an entertaining football game, as long as you aren’t a fan of great defenses. While it was surprising to watch a Monte Kiffin-coached defense to give up big play after big play, USC was never in any serious trouble because Hawaii’s defense couldn’t tackle worth a damn. The result: a video game-like 49-36 final score, complete with a heaping pile of offensive yards (524 for the Trojans and 588 for Hawaii — like I said, video game offenses).
Hawaii’s best chance to pull the upset, however, probably ended when starting quarterback, Bryant Moniz, got absolutely destroyed by USC linebacker, Michael Morgan. Moniz had broken the pocket and was trying to get all the yards he could when he ran, head-first, into the forearm/shoulder area of Morgan, who delivered a knock-out blow that took Hawaii’s quarterback out of the game.
Granted, considering Hawaii’s just-as-poor-as-USC’s defense, an upset was never really something the Trojans had to worry about — Matt Barkley’s stellar game had a lot to do with that — but you can guaran-damn-tee Lane Kiffin’s defense will be put through their paces in USC’s upcoming practices.
“Defensively, we didn’t play very well, obviously,” Kiffin said. “I’m really disappointed with everything in general.”
That sounds like a recipe for long Labor Day weekend workouts and practices for all involved.
Oh yeah, the Cincinnati Bengals are for real. Just ask the Baltimore Ravens. Ask them about Cedric Benson or Andre Caldwell. While you are at it, ask Ray Lewis whether trying to take Chad Ochocinco’s head off is worth a 15-yard penalty, one that undoubtedly helped the Bengals on their game-winning drive. While the play looked cool and pretty vicious, it didn’t help the Ravens or their cause whatsoever.
I’m curious, when the football rule makers get together and address quarterback safety, does it ever occur to them just how ironic and perhaps hypocritical they are being when plays like this are celebrated, promoted and in some cases, marketed? I mean, if a quarterback is tackled aggressively, it’s not surprising to see a flag; however, when Jordan Futch absolutely blasts Steven Sylvester, the hype machine — this blog included — goes into overdrive. ESPN will show every angle of the hit they have, while essentially jumping around the SportsCenter studio like guys at the bar. Blogs celebrate these hits and fans bring them up years later when recalling past teams they’ve supported.
Although, you wouldn’t know it by watching this play…
So, was that a “dirty hit” or just two incredible athletes running into each at top speed? From the looks of it, Clark does try to get his shoulder into the hit, but the players’ helmets most certainly connected with each other. Why else would McGahee’s upper body essentially lock-up when the hit occurred? Watching the play when it happened, I found myself wondering if McGahee’s right arm was paralyzed.
The Baltimore running back spent the night in a Pittsburgh hospital, where reports indicate he has movement in his extremities and is talking to his doctors. He does have significant neck pain, however. As for the Pittsburgh side of things, Clark walked off the field after the hit, but was certainly feeling the effects of his torpedo-like blast on McGahee.