I think everyone understands that quarterbacks are overly protected by the officials and the league. I agree with fines being handed out for crushing defenseless receivers, but it's starting to get a little out of control.
James Harrison has been fined $125,000 so far and, quite frankly, only the hits against Cleveland can be considered malicious. Harrison is a competitor and tackles like all football players are taught: he drives through the ball carrier.
It's gotten to the point where defensive lineman are getting roughing-the-passer calls for accidentally brushing a quarterback's helmets with their hands.
This last episode of inconsistency involves Ndamukong Suh.
With Detroit leading Chicago by three, Jay Cutler decided to scramble for a first down. Suh tracked him down, giving the Bears QB a loving shove to the turf. Almost immediately, the yellow flags came raining down.
At first glance, it looked as if Suh gave him a forearm to the back, which is how the referee called it on the field. Upon replay, as you can see to your right, Suh just straight manhandled him.
When a quarterback leaves the pocket and is poised to run, the rules protecting them should be diminished. In this case, Cutler was recognized as somehow more defenseless then any other ball carrier. The call was obviously rushed. Due to the impact of Suh's strength, he was flagged for a personal foul that eventually led to the Bears' go-ahead touchdown.
Something has to give in the NFL.
They either need to be consistent, allow referees to look at penalties on replay for proper calls during the game, or let the players play. Having a personal foul help decide a game is a disheartening way to end such a hard-fought battle. It's happened time and time again, and I understand a penalty when it's a blatant offense. I feel bad for the players who just muscle up because it's their job, like Suh earlier today.
Just minutes ago, Steelers tight end Heath Miller got blasted in the head. He was obviously defenseless, and was there a flag?
It just seems like the referees pick their battles and the NFL picks fine amounts out of a hat. Richard Seymour was fined $50K for shoving Big Ben, yet Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan were only fined $25K each for ripping each others helmets off, going at it, UFC-style. I thought that would warrant an obvious suspension of some sort.
Could it be that Andre Johnson played on the NFL Network the following Thursday?
Please, NFL. Be consistent, or better yet: let them play football.