Suh via Twitter: Fined $20,000 for Hit on Dalton. Is that Fair?

Ndamukong Suh is not a dirty player, he’s an aggressive one, but apparently the NFL doesn’t differentiate.  Suh tweeted today that he received a $20,000 fine for his hit on Dalton, which I believe is a little excessive.

PFT calls Suh a “repeat offender” because of the fines he’s faced for hits on Jake Delhomme and Jay Cutler.  The Delhomme fine was warranted, but take it with a grain of salt.  It was the first time he got his hands on a quarterback as a professional, where there are very different rules from college where quarterbacks aren’t so protected.

The second fine they refer to is the fine Suh faced for his hit on Jay Cutler which was not only 100% legal, but probably reduced the chance of injuring Cutler.  Suh gave a hard two handed shove to Cutler’s back after he crossed the line of scrimmage as a runner.  Which is more likely to cause an injury, a two handed shove to the back or a 300 lb lineman with an 8 yard head of steam barreling into and landing on top of Cutler?  Quarterbacks forfeit any special protection once they cross the line of scrimmage, so would Suh have been fined if he did that to a running back?  No.

Suh also appealed the fine he got from the Cutler hit but the NFL rarely, if ever, announces the outcome of the appeals.

Many people support the fine on Suh, stating he violently threw Dalton to the ground, but I ask this.  He has to get him to the ground to tackle him and which is better for the quarterback’s health, a violent throw to the ground or getting wrapped up and driven to the ground?

I maintain the only reason anybody thinks it was a violent hit is because Dalton’s helmet popped off.  I’ve watched the replay several times and can’t conclusively say whether or not Suh “tore” the helmet off or if it just came off because it was loose.  I understand the NFL wants to protect quarterbacks and keep them healthy, but the bottom line is the number of injuries that occur from a play like this one are very small.  Just look at Stafford for example.

He’s suffered three major injuries in two years, one to his knee from a horse collar tackle, one to his shoulder from a defender launching into him and driving him to the ground and one from getting his arm swatted and pinned back as he was driven to the ground.  In any of those situations, does he get hurt if he gets shoved to the ground or wrapped up and violently thrown to the ground?  I doubt it, the injuries came from him being driven to the ground or dragged to the ground and not one of those plays drew a flag and nobody was called a dirty player (not even on the horse collar which is illegal.)

In fact look at the high profile quarterback injuries of 2010:

  • Stafford, which I already discussed.
  • Favre, elbow was pinned back and driven to the ground like Stafford.  Hurt again after being driven into the ground and sustaining a concussion.
  • Vick’s rib injury came from being sandwiched in between two defenders while running down field.  His ankle injury later in the season came from being dragged to the ground and getting it pinned down by the defender.
  • Romo broke his collar bone when he was hit and driven to the ground with the defender landing on top of him.
  • Cutler’s concussion was sustained when he was repeatedly driven to the ground on a number of sacks.
  • Rodgers sustained two concussions, one when being hit and driven to the ground with a defender landing on top of him and the other getting hit and hitting his head on the ground.

The majority of those injuries came from getting hit and taken to the ground with a defender landing on top of the quarterback.  Not one came as a result of being wrapped up and tossed to the ground or being pushed down, no matter how violently.  Again, I understand the NFL wants to protect quarterbacks, but maybe it’s time to base the penalties and rules off of what is actually injuring them.


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