5 Stars the NFL Always Seems to Handle with Kid Gloves
Certain individuals are treated better by the NFL than others.
We saw a prime example of that in the AFC Championship Game between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots.
Quarterback Tom Brady goes to slide under an oncoming hit from safety Ed Reed.
Brady sticks his leg up to knock Reed off balance and no flag is tossed. It wasn't a typical quarterback slide, which only makes defending the play tougher for Reed. How is he supposed to approach this situation when a quarterback cannot be touched while sliding?
In short, that is the contradiction brought on by Roger Goodell. And along with Brady, others have received similar treatment from the league.
Bill Belichick: Coach, Patriots
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Bill Belichick is fortunate to even be coaching in pro football right now.
Bill Belichick has been fined $500,000 by the NFL. That is the maximum amount under the NFL Constitution and By-Laws for violating league policy last Sunday on the use of equipment to videotape an opposing team’s offensive or defensive signals.
The Patriots have been fined $250,000 by the NFL.
The Patriots will give up their first-round pick in 2008 if they make the playoffs. If they don't make the playoffs, they will surrender their second- and third-round picks.
Belichick will not be suspended.
So, for spying on opponents all Belichick received was a hefty fine and a forfeiture of some draft picks.
Anyone can make a strong case for arguing that Belichick should have been banned from the game. Instead, the NFL just forced New England to cough up some cash and took away draft picks. What Belichick did was nearly fix the game to win, as opposed to lose.
Charles Woodson: DB, Packers
Charles Woodson is easily one of pro football's best defensive players of his era.
At times, though, his emotions have taken over and Woodson has been given the benefit of the doubt.
Here, we see Woodson throw a quick upper-cut to the gut of New Orleans' David Thomas. Woodson was not ejected and only given a personal foul penalty.
According to Mike Spofford and Vic Ketchman of the Packers' official website after that game, Woodson stated:
I lost my cool.The guy was blocking me and holding me and I’m trying to get off him. I just lost my cool. That’s all on me.
I’m sure I will.There’s no getting around it. You all saw it. I’m sure all the people in the NFL who watch the tape, they’ll see it. There’s nothing I can do about it now. I can’t take it back.
So at least Woodson owned up to the mistake. And it's not his fault the NFL didn't come down with harsher consequences: According to ESPN.com he was fined $10,000.
For throwing a punch and only drawing a flag, the NFL certainly failed to send a statement to the rest of its players. Unsurprisingly, this is one key reason why scuffles continue to happen on the gridiron between plays.
Jared Allen: DE, Vikings
Jared Allen is one of pro football's premier pass-rushers.
He's also a dirtier player than at first glance.
Take the cheap shot to Matt Schaub's leg in this video. It was well after the pass and he was not blocked into the hit.
Unsurprisingly, Allen has been fined quite often, but not suspended. In an article by Lance Allen of NBC TMJ 4 in Milwaukee:
Jared Allen gets fined $25,000 but no suspension after hitting Aaron Rodgers in the head. This after $80,000 in fines from 3 different incidents.
And he vows he won't change his pass rushing style? The third incident to Rodgers, and you [he, Allen] should have been out for a game.
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen was fined $21,000 for his blindside hit of Bears guard Lance Louis, according to a league source.
Louis tore his left ACL, and he was placed on injured reserve Monday.
That is a lot of hits and fines, but no suspensions.
In other words, a suspension would reduce ticket sales and TV ratings without Allen rushing quarterbacks for Minnesota. Again, not Allen's fault because Roger Goodell fails to dish out equal consequences throughout the league.
Cam Newton: QB, Panthers
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Cam Newton was in the spotlight for so long that pro football took the torch from the NCAA.
Since the middle of the 2010 college football season, Newton has been a popular focus.
From leading the Auburn Tigers to a BCS title, winning the Heisman Trophy and getting selected No. 1 overall, the NFL can't afford him to not be on the field.
In addition, his fines were limited after the Carolina Panthers' Week 16 victory against the Oakland Raiders.
According to Jonathan Jones and Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer:
The Observer reported late Thursday that Newton had been fined $21,000 for abusive conduct toward a game official. Joe Person reported Friday that Newton was also fined $10,000 for kicking Raiders DT Tommy Kelly.
Newton could easily have been ejected and should have been fined more as well.
Given that the first fine was for unsportsmanlike conduct with an official, that alone warrants a harsher consequence. Then, factor in kicking an opponent...No quarterback should ever lose his cool in such a manner.
Once again, however, this is the NFL protecting its marquee players so more cash is made.
Tom Brady: QB, Patriots
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Tom Brady decided to slide-kick Ed Reed in the AFC Championship Came.
And at the time of the incident, the majority is thinking the quarterback continues to protect himself.
Well, what about the defensive player?
Clearly this is not a standard slide of Brady and it could have resulted in injury at Reed's expense. But obviously Reed becomes the target of scrutiny should he make contact during a quarterback's slide.
So the NFL fined Brady $10,000 according to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. This doesn't send any kind of message and nor was Brady penalized on the play.
In a nutshell, this entire occurrence sums up the NFL's hypocrisy. There's emphasis on players' safety, but it's mainly to protect the quarterback and leave the defensive players helpless.