Football is becoming a sport where a defensive player can get away with a cheap shot and worry very little about any repercussions. Wes Welker took a cheap shot from Ryan Clark of the Steelers, and Welker’s teammates could do nothing because they were afraid of long-term suspensions from the league.
This allows defensive players to take cheap shots at the offense at will and not have to worry about anything but a small fine (if that). In the NHL, a hit like this would have lead to the perpetrator getting destroyed after the play and him thinking twice before doing it again.
Let’s take a look at the Wes Welker hit.
The ball was nowhere near him when he got hit; the hit was high, and the hit was late. The play was over, and Clark still continued to go after Welker.
Now, let's look at a comparable NHL hit from this season.
Doug Weight hits Brandon Sutter (a borderline legal hit...got to keep your head up, kid) high. Now, in the NFL clip, the players mill about and Clark seems to know he took a cheap shot at Welker and revels in it, but he knows the Patriots won’t, or can’t, do anything about.
In the NHL clip, Weight heads over near his bench for safety while the other players on the ice know that it is about to get rough. The Hurricane players go after the Islanders.
I’m not saying brawls need to occur with every hit in either league, but when the players are allowed some leeway, hits like the one in the NFL will occur less. The NHL might get a ton of press from the fights, but there are less hits like this in the NHL than in the NFL due to players knowing that if they take a cheap shot like this, there will be repercussions.