The NFL moved swiftly on Tuesday in its reaction to several helmet-to-helmet hits during Week 6, levying fines on three players for a total of $175,000.
NFL Network analysts Jim Mora, Mike Mayock, Solomon Wilcots and Charles Davis discussed whether the league handled the situation correctly:
Mora: “First of all, I applaud the NFL for taking this action. … This is a violent, vicious sport. We’re never going to eliminate injuries, and we’re never going to eliminate the big hit. But what we have to is make player safety paramount. When you are seeing malicious hits, with the intent of injuring other players – like we saw with Brandon Meriweather and James Harrison – there’s no place for that in this game. I think the league had to take action. I don’t think it will change the way the game is played.”
Mayock: “On the application [of the rule], I have a problem with the Dunta Robinson hit. You’ve got a receiver in DeSean Jackson who was running into a zone defense where a defender was waiting on the other side. Was it a violent hit? Yes. Was he defenseless? Yes. However, [Robinson] leads with the shoulder into the sternum. … The way I see that hit, is you can’t legislate that hit out of football. I disagree with the interpretation there.”
Wilcots: “I think the league did a wonderful job of reacting, but they did a better job of not over-reacting. … There has to be the correct interpretation and enforcement of the rule, and I think there needs to be some education that goes along with it. You have to teach the players that this is what is legal and this is what is illegal, and then give them a chance to digest how the league is interpreting the rule before they starting taking them off the field and taking away a game check.”
Davis: “I think, for the league, it has to go back to the officials now. … How are we going to get to where we can have almost uniform interpretation about the rules? Going back to the different hits … Robinson, that’s the [hit] I’m going to go to sleep at night and not understand at all. I understand he’s planning to appeal. I think he should appeal. I don’t think he led with his head, I think he hit the receiver in the right spot, and did everything he could to protect himself. That’s the one I don’t get. I like what the league is doing. It’s just going to be interesting to see how it’s applied uniformly around the league.”