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.
There’s a new (old) champion in town. After a ho-hum first three quarters, the Super Bowl decided to turn incredibly exciting in the fourth quarter as both teams fought each other tooth and nail for the opportunity to call themselves Super Bowl champions. Ultimately, it was the Steelers that came out on top, but in order to win their sixth championship, Pittsburgh had to survive the an Arizona team who had no idea about backing down.
While there were some magnificent fourth quarter plays, the game’s outcome was probably decided by James Harrison’s first half-ending 100-yard interception return for a touchdown. Before the turnover, the Cardinals were driving with an opportunity to either tie the game or take the lead going into the locker room. Unfortunately for the Buzzsaw that is Arizona, James Harrison had other ideas.
We’ll have a ton of posts discussing last night’s incredible finish, but before I end this one, I’ll leave you with a video of Ben Roethlisberger and his ability to escape defenders and prolong plays. Roethlisberger’s elusiveness kept his offense on the field longer than it probably should’ve been: