In the aftermath of which some are calling one of the most ferocious weekends of hits on NFL players.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league wanted to give players fair warning before it began suspensions for violent hits.
The league announced yesterday that Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison was fined $75,000 while Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson will each stand to lose $50,000.
Aiello said a memo will go out to teams today about the changes in disciplinary action. In letters to the three players levied in big fines, football operations chief Ray Anderson said, "Future offenses will result in an escalation of fines up to and including suspension."
So what exactly needs to happen in order for players to be suspended on helmet-to-helmet hits? What's the NFL standing around waiting for? It now stands fairly obvious that the answers to those questions are based on the outcome of a player's health as a result of a hit.
According the NFL rule on unnecessary roughness:
"Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8, Impermissible Use of Helmet and Face-mask:
(f) If a player uses any part of his helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/"hairline" parts) or face-mask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily."
During an interview with the NFL Network, Ray Anderson called Brandon Meriweather's blow to Todd Heap's head a "gratuitous shot and some players internally here would term that a cheap shot."
If you saw the game, or the highlights immediately following the hit, Bill Belichick was clearly angered by Meriweather's hit on Heap and let him know it when Meriweather went to the sidelines.
In case you missed the hit, or want to see it again, click on the link to view Meriweather's hit on Heap.
One of the most feared and fined men in NFL history, ex-Patriots safety Rodney Harrison explained Sunday night that fines do not curtail these kinds of hits. In fact, Harrison went as far as stating he used to put $50,000-$100,000 aside every year in preparation for the fines he knew he would receive.
What works, stated Harrison, is being placed on the sidelines as a suspension for a game or two while others play. Some say this may be the ONLY deterrent for players and the coaches who stand by and allow their players to act this way.
Hits to the head can be life-altering not just career-threatening!