Week one of the 2013 NFL season is in the books. Overall the NFL handed out over $300,000 in fines for illegal and violent hits.
The NFL really put its foot down in the name of player safety after the first week of the season. In total, 20 players were fined for excessive hits. No one was hit harder than Lions’ defensive end Ndamukong Suh. The notoriously dirty player was docked $100,000 for his hit on Vikings’ center John Sullivan.
The next biggest fine was awarded to Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson. He was taken to the bank for $30,000 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Jets’ tight end Jeff Cumberland.
In third place was Redskins cornerback De’Angelo Hall. The NFL fined him $20,000 for a horse collar tackle on Desean Jackson out of bounds.
Coming in a close fourth was Frank Alexander of the Carolina Panthers. He got $15,750 for a personal foul penalty that also got him ejected him from the game.
You get the idea. The NFL and fines go together like butter and toast. When Roger Goodell has a point to make, he is not subtle. Unfortunately, it’s starting to affect the entertainment value of the game.
The NFL may have handed out a record amount of money in fines, but players like Goldson and Suh are on contracts where they can afford it. Most defenders can’t afford it. As a result players are either afraid to tackle, or simply don’t know how to tackle anymore. It showed last Sunday.
For example, the 49ers missed seven tackles against the Packers. Last season San Francisco averaged 3.5 missed tackles a game.
The NFL is giving offenses an advantage in a game that it supposed to be played on even footing. How do defensive coordinators game plan when their players can’t hit a wide receiver or running back without fear of getting fined?
A lot of people will say it comes down to proper technique. It’s a valid argument. Then again, players like Dashon Goldson take pride in proper technique.
The NFL’s fines for excessive hits are getting out of hand. What the league is trying to do is admirable, and fines like Suh’s and Hall’s are well deserved. A number of fines aren’t deserved though, the league simply trying to make a point.
If the league makes too much of a point people will just stop watching. No one wants the NFL to turn into the excruciatingly high scoring Arena Football League.