Yesterday the National Football League levied yet another fine ($31.5K to be exact) on Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh for what looked to be a clean hit on Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden last Sunday. The hit in question came on a third and four late in the first quarter as Suh broke though the offensive line delivering a brutal yet clean and timely hit forcing Weeden to rush the throw and Cleveland to subsequently punt the ball.
Now when viewing a still image of the shot it looks as though the top of Suh’s helmet may of grazed the bottom of Weeden’s face mask. However the near $32K fine that was imposed on Suh is a growing indication that the microscope that the defensive tackle rightfully earned is perhaps now being used very unfairly.
First Suh’s hit isn’t subject to a roughing the passer call since the hit was delivered right as Weeden threw the ball.
Second, no real helmet-to-helmet contact is being made. If you want to say that Suh’s helmet grazed the bottom of Weeden’s face mask fine but even looking at the still you cannot definitively come to that conclusion.
Finally, Suh isn’t leading with the helmet and using it as a weapon. He appears to make the most contact using his left shoulder and actually finishes the hit with his arms.
Now I’m not saying that Suh isn’t a dirty player or didn’t deserve a lot of the previously imposed fines against him. But the NFL and it’s new standards on player safety are continuing to get out of hand and starting to generate witch hunts, something that could come back to haunt them later on in the sense of a class action lawsuit.