November 15, 2008
Giants DE Tuck fined for hit on Cowboys QB
Hello NFL Nation!
After watching the entire Giants-Cowboys contest on November 2nd, I was shocked a few days later when I came upon the headline, "Giants DE Tuck fined for hit on Cowboys QB." Anyone keeping up with the NFL this season will undoubtedly have noticed the increased frequency of fines NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been tossing at players for illegal hits. Apparently, Mr. Goodell thinks a "legal" tackle is one where the defender lightly places the offensive player on the turf, politely asks if he is ok, and then helps him to his feet. What has football come to? Defenders train just as hard as offensive players to perfect their craft, and then they get nailed for playing too aggressively!? I played varsity football in high school, and I'll tell you this--when coach tells you to go out there and lay the wood on a player, you lay the wood on that player. That is the beauty of football? I don't even want to know what Jack Tatum and Ronnie Lott, arguably the hardest-hitting safeties in NFL history, would say if they were to comment on the state of the game.
Initially, I tried to convince myself that Commissioner Goodell and the NFL's 5-figure fines of Steelers' Hines Ward, the Cardinals' Adrian Wilson, the Jets' Eric Smith, the Dolphins' Joey Porter, and the Patriots Vincent Wilfork were justified because Goodell and the NFL genuinely wanted to protect players, but the latest fine of NYG's Justin Tuck has led me to question the integrity of the NFL. It seems that there is a hidden motivation behind these fines. But, before I elaborate, let's take a close look Justin Tuck's hit on Cowboys' QB Brooks Bollinger.
An illegal hit is one that usually comes late and with no intent of disrupting the success of the offensive play. If you watch the video, you will clearly see that just as Cowboys' QB Bollinger releases the ball, Tuck makes contact with the QB. Tuck was perfectly on time with his hit, and he was clearly trying to disrupt the success of the offensive play just as a defender should. Furthermore, it is important to notice that Tuck was already running at full speed just as he made contact with Bollinger, who was stepping into his throw at that exact moment. It was impossible for Tuck to alter his momentum at that point, which is why he drove the QB to the ground. If Tuck had speared Bollinger AFTER the throw was made, the NFL's fine would be justified, but Tuck clearly delivers his tackle on time and cleanly.
Hopefully you've all seen the video by now and agree that Justin Tuck's hit was 100% legal. Do you see why I question the NFL's intentions with these fines? If the NFL is to maintain its reputation, it needs to stop unfairly punishing defenders for doing their jobs. If they want to "punish" anyone, they should punish the coaches for instructing their defensive players to lay the wood on the opposing offensive players. How can defenders expect to obey their coaches' demands when they have the NFL Commissioner breathing down their necks, waiting with pre-written checks of 5-figure amounts? These unnecessary fines leave NFL defenders in dilemmas. How can they be great defenders if they have to be scared of being fined every time they touch an offensive player?
I warn you, NFL nation! These fines are just a beginning. What's Goodell going to do next, outlaw tackling altogether? That sounds like a great idea to me! Maybe then Goodell can make the NFL players wear skirts and play flag! How awesome would that be!?
Goodell, if you're reading this, please, and I speak on behalf of all my fellow die-hard football fans, please don't strip football of its integrity. Fine people only when absolutely necessary, but don't fine players to raise extra revenue for the league. Football is predicated on hard work, teamwork, dedication, and discipline, not corruption, greed, and dictatorship.
Pictured below: New York Giants' defensive end Justin Tuck