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How Should NFL Punish Linval Joseph, Will Montgomery for Monday Night Scuffle?

Linval Joseph and Will Montgomery may be hearing from the NFL soon.
Linval Joseph and Will Montgomery may be hearing from the NFL soon.Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Jamal CollierAnalyst IIIDecember 4, 2012

Most NFL fans don’t know what goes on at the bottom of a pile of bodies in pursuit of a fumbled football. On Monday Night Football, many of us got a glimpse of what happens on the outside of one.

New York Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph attempted to remove Washington Redskins center Will Montgomery from one of those piles in the third quarter—only he did so in a fashion that may draw attention from the league.

Joseph was pulling Montgomery’s left ankle until Montgomery protested by kicking at him with his right foot. The maneuver caused Joseph to drop Montgomery’s leg, but he proceeded to answer with an attempt to connect his own foot with Montgomery’s body.

The on-field result of the play was non-existent. According to The Associated Press via, both teams were flagged for unnecessary roughness: penalties that offset each other on the play.

Neither player has a checkered history of suspensions in the NFL. Despite that, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio believes “both will be fined” for their actions on the national stage.

Montgomery’s act of self-defense should not be punished by the league. It’s not what you want your children to see, but it’s completely understandable. Joseph’s actions, meanwhile, were an extension of what frequently happens on the outskirts of fumble piles—until the stomping motion took place.

Comparing Joseph’s move on Monday Night Football to that of Ndamukong Suh last Thanksgiving against the Green Bay Packers suggests that Joseph should at least be suspended for a game.

Unlike Suh, he didn’t have a reputation for being excessively violent on a regular basis prior to the incident. Suh was suspended for two games for the Thanksgiving Day Stomp. Joseph should probably get one.

If Montgomery gets a letter from the NFL, it would be the equivalent of the league asking him to allow himself to be dragged around by an opponent.

That just doesn’t make any sense.


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