This week, the NFL fined two players for their actions in the Detroit Lions- Baltimore Ravens tilt last Monday night.
But it’s probably not the two you expected.
No Detroit Lions players were fined, only Baltimore Ravens Matt Elam (hit to Stafford) and Courtney Upshaw (punching Rob Sims).
— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) December 20, 2013
According to Spotrac.com, the fines are worth $7,875 a piece, for the infractions detailed in the tweet. There is, perhaps understandably, some outrage in Baltimore about Lions LB DeAndre Levy’s hit below the knee on Ravens QB Joe Flacco, which left him with a sprained MCL.
So why was Levy let off clean?
There was no fine levied on the hit by DeAndre Levy that caught Flacco low on Mon night. Deemed to have hit him not of own impetus.
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 20, 2013
In other words, the NFL determined that Levy was blocked or pushed into Flacco, and didn’t hit him low of his own volition, similar to when the same sort of thing is called on a punt fair catch.
That’s a very close (and understandable) judgement call, one that the Lions are not used to being on the favorable side of. I can see why the league called it that way, but I can definitely also see why Ravens fans would be upset about it.
But what really confuses me is why Louis Delmas wasn’t fined for his pass interference/personal foul call late in the first half. You can see the play at about the 1:00 mark of this video.
Regardless of your thoughts on the “(insert alpha-male terminology for a non-alpha-male here)-ification of the game of football,” try to look at this from the perspective of the league, which as we all know is trying to cut down on helmet-to-helmet shots.
Delmas launched himself—as he is known to do—and went directly helmet-t0-helmet with Marlon Brown. We’ve seen that called again and again, yet this time it wasn’t. The penalty was deemed sufficient, and there hasn’t been a great deal of explanation as to why.
Here’s the overall fines tally after 14 games:
Ndamukong Suh — 3 fines/$139,375
Rest of Detroit Lions — 13 fines/$143,875
Detroit Lions Opponents — 6 fines/$81,375
I’m on board with the NFL’s attempts to make the game as safe as it can without wrapping everyone in styrofoam and taping flags to them, but I (and I’m reasonably sure some others) just expect some consistency. Delmas looked to have made a fineable hit, if similar hits this season are any sort of precedent.
So why not, then? Are they just making it up as they go along? Do they have a dartboard that they use, or a big “Wheel of Fortune” kind of thing? Is that why Delmas comes out clean with a helmet shot on an obviously defenseless receiver when he was flagged on the play, but Ndamukong Suh gets fined for this?
I’m just trying to understand, and the NFL seems to make that more difficult by the week.