Pittsburgh Steelers: The Punch That Backed Roger Goodell Into a Corner

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer INovember 21, 2010

PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 21:  Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers argues with referees after a scrum took place in the middle of the field during the game against the Oakland Raiders on November 21, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

NFL football is one of the toughest games on the planet. Very large, fast men, get paid millions of dollars to play in a game where they pound and abuse each other on every single play.

There was a play in the preseason, in a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions, that to this day I am amazed at what I saw.

On a play (that you can see right here), Lions rookie Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh acted as if he was in the WWE, when he grabbed Delhomme by the face mask, turned him around, wrapped his arms around his head, then slammed him, by his head, into the turf.

The ref's immediately threw flags from about every direction. There is no question that this was not only a penalty, but one that would warrant an ejection. The Browns were awarded a first down, and half the distance to the goal.

What struck me then, and to this day surprises me, is the manner in which the Browns offensive linemen acted when they saw their QB abused in a way that, in the NFL, should never happen. What did the Browns offensive linemen do?


They stood around, basically, went back to the huddle, and it ended there. Suh was slapped with a fine in the amount of $7,500.

But, that was before the NFL decided that they were going to get "tough" on violent hits. James Harrison of the Steelers has already been fined a total of $100,000 this season, with the possibility of another fine coming this week.

It is a new world now in the NFL, where defenders are punished for even thinking about hitting a QB. A slap to the head of Peyton Manning will draw a flag, as will bumping Tom Brady in the legs.

Something  similar happened to Ben Roethlisberger against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. After throwing a TD pass Roethlisberger was celebrating with his teammates, and may have said something to the Raiders' Richard Seymour. The result was Seymour punching Roethlisberger in the face with an open hand.

This article is to demonstrate two points. The first, is the proper way to handle a situation as to when someone takes a cheap shot at your starting QB.

If you look at this video, watch what happens AFTER Roethlisberger is struck by Seymour. (Watch that video here,).

Seymour struck Roethlisberger right in front of his offensive linemen, and every single one of them came to his defense, as did two players that were not even close to the action ran in to make sure the Roethlisberger would be protected.

Now, when the hit from King Kong Suh happened to Delhomme, Browns fans were quick to say that the play was over, and there is no reason for retaliation. As I stated to them at the time, there are unwritten rules in the game of football, and one of those is to protect your QB, regardless of the punishment that comes against you.

That is something that the Browns did not do, and something that the Steelers were sure to understand. It did not matter if there was a flag thrown, or an ejection, the Steelers offensive line showed that they have the back of Ben Roethlisberger before anything, even the rules of the game.

The other can of worms that has been opened by the Seymour punch is what type of fall out is going to come from the office of the Commissioner?

If Roger Goodell is serious about protecting the players, he certainly is going to have to decide the punishment that Seymour is going to have to pay.

Many of the fines that have happened to this point have been for hits on the field, ESPECIALLY to the QB's. This hit was not only after the play, it was obviously Seymour trying to hurt Roethlisberger.

If James Harrison is fined for hits that happen during the full speed of the game, what is the fine going to be for Seymour?




Roger Goodell is going to have his hands full with the punishment that is forthcoming for Richard Seymour. One question will be answered, who serious is Goodell about making the game safer?