Late in the second quarter of the NFL Playoffs matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots, Tom Brady slid. Quarterbacks often slide when rushing to avoid being hit or tackled. However, on this particular slide, Brady felt it necessary to raise his foot in the air with cleats out to attempt to injure Ed Reed of the Ravens.
Now I know what you’re thinking: Brady didn’t do this on purpose. Intent to injure will be questioned throughout the week, but I can bet one thing, Brady will not get fined. Had it been a defensive player hitting a quarterback, there would be a penalty, fines and suspension. Had it been a player hated by the league, like Ndamukong Suh, he would likely be suspended or face harsh penalties. Instead, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will probably call Brady to apologize to him for the Patriots not being in the Super Bowl.
Perhaps Brady thought his cleat was in the air against Bernard Pollard. The Ravens safety nicknamed “Patriot Killer” would have been Brady’s most likely target. Pollard has injured Brady, Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski in the past. During Sunday’s game, Pollard also took out running back Steven Ridley with a hit that caused him to miss the rest of the game.
Pollard had this to say about Brady’s slide, “You’ve got to keep them legs down. When you come sliding, and your leg is up in the air trying to kick somebody, that’s bull crap.” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was not pleased by Brady’s slide, and was seen arguing with a referee about a possible unnecessary roughness penalty.
Brady’s slide ultimately led to a Patriots field goal to end the first half of the NFL Playoffs game. The field goal, which gave the Patriots a 17-13 halftime lead, would be the last points scored by New England.
I called out the NFL’s bias towards Suh in a past article centered around a non-fined kick by Cam Newton. The video evidence was clear that Newton kicked a defensive player. After the play was over, Newton pushed a referee, which did get him fined. Why is it that defensive players continue to be penalized and fined for any contact with quarterbacks? Why are quarterbacks allowed to do whatever they want? It’s time for the NFL to step up and make the right call here.