NGSC Sports

Football Fabulosa – On the Wussification of Football

This week’s edition of Football Fabulosa – On the Wussification of Football  is going to be a bit lighter in a lot of ways than past editions. This week we take a look at a the wussification of sports, particularly football.  From the fines and the whines the game is being watered down. Let’s start with these ridiculous fines and penalties. I could devote an entire column to this issue but I fear my head might explode. There are so many examples here to choose from but since I cover the Titans I will start and end there. Defensive backs, particularly safeties, have it particularly rough right now as evidenced by some of the fines and penalties leveled against Titans strong safety Bernard Pollard and free safety Michael Griffin. So let’s look at a small sample.

In regard to Michael Griffin, let’s take a look at what happened to him. Just this year, Griffin has been penalized exactly three times. On October 6, 2013 he was penalized for a neutral zone infraction against the Kansas City Chiefs. His second penalty came in Week 12 against the Oakland Raiders when he hit tight end Mychal Rivera and was slammed with an alleged hit on a defenseless player. In Week 14, he was penalized for a face mask tackle violation.

Turning to fines, in 2013 Griffin was fined $21,000.00 for hitting New York Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill high on a helmet to helmet hit following the Week 4 matchup. Griffin’s fine history in 2012 included a $20,000.00 fine for a horse collar tackle on Matt Forte and a $21,000.00 fine for a high (helmet to helmet) hit on Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Michael Jenkins. He also was fined once in 2011 for a high hit on Carolina Panthers wide receiver Legedu Naanee.

Let’s turn to Griffin’s one game suspension that occurred after he hit Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera. This is the hit that got him in trouble.

Now, the league’s official reason for suspending Griffin was that he was a “repeat offender” and thus warranted suspension. To understand how ludicrous that statement is you need only look at the penalty and fine history. Then look at that hit which appears worse than the reality on first glance. The league has taken issue with Griffin in the past over high hits so he does what he is supposed to do and goes low. He hits Rivera with his shoulder too which is perfectly legal. Unfortunately, Rivera doesn’t have his helmet strapped and it pops off and his head hits the turf. Ouch.

So Griffin does what he is supposed to and goes low and only hits Rivera with his shoulder and he gets suspended. Furthermore, for the league to say it was as a repeat offender is ludicrous. If this had been a high hit it would be more acceptable. It wasn’t however it was for a low hit that looked far worse because Rivera didn’t fasten his helmet. The policy toward punishing repeat offenders needs to be revisited. Unless it’s clear that a guy is repeating the same offense (often a judgment call) he should not be punished for simply having been penalized or fined in the past.

Let’s not forget that this is the same suspension Indianapolis Colts linebacker Erik Walden received for ripping Titans tight end Delanie Walker’s helmet off and headbutting him. That’s right. One player makes a football play exactly as the league tells him to do and he gets suspended the same way a punk like Walden does for a move that is outside a football play and not in any form or fashion sanctioned by the league. Please tell me where the parity is here.

Let’s turn to strong safety Bernard Pollard now and look at how the league has screwed him as well. You need only go back to Week 14 though the evidence goes back much further. Pollard has been fined $83,000.00 this season alone with $67.750.00 of that coming since he joined the Titans during the offseason. No doubt Pollard has more of a history than Griffin, but let’s take a look at the two penalties he incurred during the Denver Broncos game.

The first penalty isn’t able to be reviewed since televised footage isn’t available but he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. How convenient. You can click below for Pollard’s explanation of the event.

Let me just say that Pollard has always seemed like a stand up guy and there is no reason not to believe what he is saying here. So basically, he got a penalty for making a referee cry I suppose. Shame on you Mr. Sensitive Referee who needs to put on his big boy pants. Throwing  a flag under these circumstances makes your credibility even more suspect. The score was 21-17 IN FAVOR OF THE TITANS at that point by the way. It doesn’t end there.

Pollard’s second penalty of the game occurred in the third quarter when the score was 21-20 IN FAVOR OF THE TITANS. Pollard was called for this complete and utter nonsense of a personal foul penalty.

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