There were a lot of fines handed down from this past weekend in the NFL. It seems like there are more and more with each passing week. Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard was one of the players on the receiving end of a very hefty one. Pollard was docked $42,000 (random number) for his hit on Andre Johnson. The hit was not helmet-to-helmet, it was considered a hit on a defenseless player. The hit did not draw a penalty on the field.
As you can imagine, Pollard is not happy. In fact, he decided to vent his frustrations loudly:
“Flag football, that’s what they want. For us as players, it stinks. Our intent is to play football, to protect the field behind us. Nobody’s intention was to hurt (Johnson). Nobody wanted a concussion. We hope he’s OK. But like I said, if you don’t want us to play defense, don’t call us defense. Take us off the field. Just let them go against air. Let’s see what that does to the ratings.”
It’s becoming cliche to say that the NFL wants to turn football into flag football, but after all the fines and penalties that are handed out these days, it’s pretty much true. Pollard’s hit on Johnson was not egrigious at all. Johnson wasn’t even down yet. Pollard came in, with his shoulder, and hit him like he’s paid to do. Defenders are coached to play until offensive players are on the ground. Pollard was merely reacting in the moment, and considering how fast plays develop, I think he did a very good job of staying within the new rules.
Considering that there was no flag on the play and the steps the safety took to not lead with his helmet, I don’t see how the heck the NFL thought it was fair to fine him $42.000. That just seems excessive to me. Hopefully, Pollard wins his appeal and at least gets his fine lessened. All he was really doing was making a regular defensive football play.