The NFL can be such a joke at times. Not at the expense of the players or teams, no, but at the expense of commissioner Roger Goodell.
Goodell seems to have not learned the difference between a solid, clean, hard hit and a blatantly dirty one.
Example number one: Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions.
Suh, without question, is the dirties player in all of football. After being fined $100,000 this week for his hit on Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman John Sullivan, Suh simply can’t continue with his “It’s just the way I play” mantra. It’s not the way the game is supposed to be played, so just stop it.
Example number two: Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers.
Last week, a normally clean and aggressive player put a cheap shot on quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Matthews is an incredible athlete and one of the best there is in football, but he made a bonehead play. For that, Matthews was fined $15,000. Goodell got that right; bravo commissioner.
Example number three: Staying in the NFC North, Chicago Bears linebacker Jon Bostic.
In a preseason matchup with the San Diego Chargers, Bostic put one of the best hits we’ve seen this year on wideout Mike Willie. It was a clean, hard hit yet Bostic was fined $21,000 — five percent of his rookie salary. Not a good call, commissioner.
Final example, and the reason for my headache today: Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety DaShon Goldson.
Goldson was fined $30,000 by the league for his hit on New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland in week one. As you can see by the image above, Goldson led with his shoulder and laid a phenomenal smack down on Cumberland. It was a thing of beauty, if you’re a defensive back.
Yet, Goodell saw the hit as illegal, as did the referee crew on Sunday. Was it malicious? No! Was it dirty? Absolutely not! Goldson saw Cumberland had a chance to make a big play and wanted to make sure the ball was knocked loose.
Goodell continues to irritate myself and fans everywhere to no end. If he doesn’t get it right — consistently — soon enough, he’ll begin to lose more and more fans as time goes on. We’ve already protected the quarterbacks to the point of being nearly untouchable. We don’t need to continue to reprimand players for making great, solid football plays.