Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is a Pro Bowler and one of the most dominant players at any position in the NFL. However, he repeatedly grabs headlines for his stupid on-field decisions, and Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings was no exception. Suh is the dirtiest player in the league, and he demonstrated his cheap-shot proficiency yet again.
Vikings QB Christian Ponder threw a pass that was tipped and intercepted by Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy, who cruised to the end zone to put the Lions in the lead. However, the play was called back because Suh was penalized for an illegal low-block, with replays showing him taking out Minnesota center John Sullivan at the knees.
First of all, Suh and Sullivan were nowhere near Levy, and there was no reason for Suh to even attempt to block Sullivan, let alone go low. Secondly, diving at an opposing player’s knees from the blind side is completely unacceptable in all situations, and it is a very good way to end somebody’s season, if not their career. Luckily, Sullivan was not injured on the play, but that does not absolve Suh of blame.
Suh said after the game that he “wasn’t by any means going for his knees.” The video, however, shows the exact opposite. Suh was to Sullivan’s side and dove low at him, never getting anywhere near Sullivan’s waist, Suh’s claimed target. Instead, Suh went straight for the knees, and Sullivan hit the ground immediately, clutching his left knee.
Suh’s history of aggressive play that crosses the line is well documented. He is among the league leaders in personal fouls and fines in the last three years, and he has been voted the league’s dirtiest player by his peers. Last season he was fined for kicking Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub in the groin, and two years ago he was suspended for pushing Green Bay Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith’s head into the ground then stomping on his arm.
Suh is reportedly facing discipline for his latest transgression, and the NFL has an opportunity to send a message here. Normally, a fine would be sufficient, but given Suh’s long history of violations, he needs to be suspended. One or two games would suffice, but the league needs to establish that dirty play and cheap shots will not be tolerated. Roger Goodell repeatedly preaches about the need to enforce player safety, and this is an opportunity to do that.
Suh’s play is unacceptable, and his actions cannot be tolerated. He has proven many times that he is as dirty as it gets, and he needs to be punished accordingly.