Another fine, another discussion about whether or not Ndamukong Suh is a dirty player. A “yes” answer is ridiculous, there is a definite difference between supreme physicality and being dirty.
The situation sets up a natural comparison to what Shaquille O’Neal faced in the NBA. Shaq was such a rare combination of size, strength and skill that he became nearly impossible to officiate. Seemingly everything he did on both ends of the court had the appearance of a foul. Of course, not everything Suh does looks like a fine-able offense or even a penalty but the point remains the same: Suh is capable of things this league hasn’t seen before.
Former Colts coach Tony Dungy made an appearance on Dan Patrick’s radio show this morning and was asked about Suh’s fine. Dungy didn’t totally turn Suh’s Shaq analogy around but he did say that Shaq still had to play his game to “not foul out”. That struck me as an interesting statement as an intermediate position in the “change his game” versus “keep doing what he’s doing” debate. Suh has to play his game, but he can’t do it to the point that he “fouls out”.
Suh correctly noted in a recent interview that Shaq dealt with the difficulties he faced to become a hall of famer and one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. I have a feeling we’ll say the same thing about Ndamukong Suh once his football career is over.