Steelers Gay, Wilcox Both Fined Nearly $25K For Week 1 Hits

It was reported earlier on Friday that Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has been fined nearly $25,000 for his Sunday late hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshone Kizer. However, as it turns out, Shazier wasn’t the only Steelers player to be fined for actions in that Week 1 game.

According to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Steelers cornerback William Gay and safety J.J. Wilcox were also fined nearly $25,000 each for their penalized hits in the game against the Browns.

Gay’s fine comes as a result of his sideline hit on Browns wide receiver Ricardo Louis with 4:16 left in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. While Gay was penalized for unnecessary roughness on that play, the flag was thrown late and seemingly after the referees saw a replay of the hit on the stadium jumbotron. On the play in question, Louis bobbled the football just before Gay made contact with his head and neck area.

Wilcox being fined is also not a big surprise. His helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman happened with 3:40 left in the game and immediately after the Cleveland player had caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Kizer. Wilcox was injured due to that hit and was listed by the Steelers as having a concussion on the team’s injury report this week.

On a positive note, Steelers rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt was not fined for his perceived late hit on Kizer at the conclusion of a sack by fellow outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo with 1:40 left in the third quarter. Even so, Watt and the Steelers were penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness on that play.

While not yet stated, it wouldn’t be surprising to ultimately learn that Gay and Wilcox appeal their fines as that has become customary as of late.

  • stan

    Both of those fines are more surprising. I thought both guys were pretty clearly making a play on the ball. Maybe they’re just fining all penalized hits now.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    I think all 3 fines are well deserved! Our guys need to cut this stuff out, don’t launch, hit mid-player, and put their head up when tackling.

    Accidents will inevitably still happen, but none of the 3 fined appeared accidental.

  • pittfan

    I think the Gay hit is questionable. The reciever lowered his head to retrieve the ball, otherwise the hit would have been to his chest. But in principle I agree. We can argue all we want about this after the fact but the 15 yard penalty is not open to appeal. Neither would any neck and head injuries.

  • Biggie

    I have no problem with Gays hit, saw nothing wrong with it and delayed action by refs makes it even worse. The others were finable.

  • RickM

    Agree. They are going to be paying a lot of fines this year if the technique doesn’t improve. And we’re going to be getting a number of self-caused concussions.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    They can penalize them and fine them but as I said last week, I am fine with both hits and I will take those penalties all day long so long as I don’t think our guys are intentionally dirty. But you have to play the game to win and as a defender you attack the ball and that is what both Gay and Wilcox did. Defenders can’t control a receivers body movement and the league needs to learn that.

    When receivers duck there should be no flags thrown because they are as much at fault as the defender. So yeah, if you launch or lead with your forearms and you are clearly just aiming to hit high, throw the flag. But when a guy is making the only play that may be effective he shouldn’t be punished for the receivers actions.

    The only one I had a problem with was Shazier and that is because it was terrible form and he speared the guy with the top of his helmet. That is what I am talking about by what is just a clear cut bad decision.

  • pittsburghjoe

    The NFL should send every penny of every fine this year to Houston and Florida.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    That is the issue I continue to have and Coleman lowered his head as well. The league needs to give the refs some power in these situations to hold the flags if the receiver is part of the problem.

    It weakens the integrity of the defense if it limits your options to hit and be flagged or back off and risk giving up extra yards or giving them a chance to juke you or break a tackle.

  • francesco

    This is not the NFL that i know.
    Call it some other name.

  • CommonSenseGoneWild

    A big problem I have with watching football these days is that the officials are way to involved in the game. Every big play made on the fields comes with a pause to see if a flag was thrown or will the play be reviewed and overturned because of some minuscule view of something. That gets really old after awhile.

  • 太阳三联

    Lmao Gay got him with his chest thats an utter bullshxt call and IDGAF who disagrees. Where’s the penalty on Coleman? I didn’t know you could run up and stiff arm a defender in the face before even catching a pass.. cool, must be watching Dez highlights. Lastly, don’t even getting me started about that call on Watt.. that’s borderline infuriating. I’m done with refs bro.. 🐈’s

  • VaDave

    The rule is fairly clear, do not lead with your head, period. In all three of the examples our defenders led with their heads. Gay could have used his arms, Wilcox could have used a shoulder, and Watt didn’t need do doink Kiser with his face mask. A perfect form tackle keeps the head low and to the side of the target followed by wrapping up using arms, then driving upwards. It seems the last several year this technique is out of vogue.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    You will almost always lead with your head because when you dip your shoulder your head goes with. Ideally your head is out to the side but these aren’t tackling dummies that are standing still. These are players running at 4.4 speeds with very little time to think and react.

    And again I will keep going back to it. These defenders are a lot of times targeting lower only to have the receiver duck and their chest suddenly becomes their head causing it to be a helmet to helmet. In those situations the refs need the power to hold the flags because it hampers the defense far too much.

  • Steel Your Face

    Refs had to lookup on the big screen almost a full minute after the play to call that – what a bunch of horse sh$t. .

  • Steel Your Face

    I agree. How do you not lead with your head. Are you supposed to play football running around like Frankenstein with your arms out in front of you? I don’t understand this – that’s why we wear helmets…

  • paddy

    Watch a game of rugby and learn

  • falconsaftey43

    Yes, have been for last few years. Basically if you don’t get fined, they are saying it shouldn’t have been a penalty. But any hit to the head penalty is getting fined.

  • falconsaftey43

    In the leagues view it is simple, gay should aim lower to begin with so there isn’t a chance of helmet to helmet hit. It’s not like his head moved down a foot it was a few inches and Gay smacked him in the face. It is avoidable.

  • falconsaftey43

    It is clearly against the rules. Helmet to helmet hit against a defenseless receiver. Doesn’t matter if the receiver’s head moves a bit, it is Gays job not to hit him in the head.

  • francesco

    And then you are flagged for hitting below the knees. So you can’t have that either.

  • Rocksolid20

    Gay lead with his shoulder but did hit the guy in the head .

  • francesco

    I hear you. It seems almost on every punt return there is a flag either for holding or blocking from the back or something.

  • Rocksolid20

    Gay lead with a shoulder , slow it down and watch as the guy lowers his head .

  • Robert E Lil

    Good. Good great.
    Get this garbage out of football. See what you hit. Playing within the rules is the first responsibility- not breaking up a pass. And for the keyboard warriors- just because players make more money than you doesn’t make your entertainment paramount to players lives or livelihood

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Avoidable if you don’t want your best chance of success as a defender. Again, the league is doing a disservice to the game by unfairly handicapping one side of the ball.

    They should be punishing dirty players and people clearly aiming to injure or making very poor decisions. In my opinion, neither the Gay or Wilcox play fall into those categories.

  • falconsaftey43

    Best chance of success as a defender is playing within the rules so you don’t give up a 15 yard penalty. This is a rule change same as any other, players have to adjust. Just like when they instituted the 5 yard Chuck rule. Advantage for offense? Yes. Unfair? No, it’s a game with made up rules and both teams get to play offense and defense and the rule apply to both teams. The rules have changed, players need to play within them.

  • falconsaftey43

    Yes, any hit to the head of a defenseless receiver is a penalty, not just helmet to helmet.

  • falconsaftey43

    That is not a penalty

  • falconsaftey43

    Doesn’t matter. Any hit to the head of a defenseless WR is a penalty on the defender. That is the rule.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I guess that depends on the situation really. In Gays case sure, it would have been better to just let the guy make the play. He was short of the sticks at the very least. Although if players start playing like that they will end up cut from the team because they are “giving up” on plays. In Wilcox situation however, had he knocked the ball loose and prevented a TD the penalty would be well worth it.

    As for your other point…..it is just wrong. You can’t say the rules apply to both when the offense isn’t penalized for helmet to helmet contact. In a lot of these cases it is more the fault of the receiver than the defender and yet the defender is the one penalized. Good luck explaining how that is fair by any stretch of the imagination.

    As to your bigger point about playing within the rules I don’t think anybody disagrees that players should be doing their best to do so. The issue is (and I will keep saying this until it is no longer true) is that it basically goes against everything the defense is trying to do. Your job as a defender is to prevent guys from catching passes. Passes are caught with the hands and typically at waist level or higher. So you are naturally NOT going to be targeting low because it severely lessens your chance at a successful play. Add into that receivers ducking their heads and changing body positions and you basically leave the defenders with 2 choices. Take your chance at a penalty and a successful play for the defense, or allow the offense a much higher chance of a completion.

  • Rusted Out

    Not even necessarily the refs. They are just enforcing all the bullshit panty waist rules that are ruining the game. I can see why millennials will continue to watch, but they are at a tipping point for me. One or two more rules on how to hit someone and I’m probably out.

  • francesco

    It is if you hit the QB. And you are also looked upon as a criminal if you hit a star player below the knees…see OBJ.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I see you still haven’t figured out that you are using the term “keyboard warrior” incorrectly lmao.

  • falconsaftey43

    Fair or unfair occurs on a team level, not offense or defense. An imbalance between the difficulty in playing offense and defense isn’t unfair because both teams get to play on both sides of the ball.

    There are multiple ways of stopping the play while avoiding helmet to helmet hit. One is to not let the guy get open to begin with. Another is to break up the pass by making a play on the ball rather than by trying to knock the receiver away from the ball. You don’t attack the ball with your head or shoulder, you try to punch it out. Or you go low enough on your hit that you won’t hit the player in the head, his head moved inches not like a foot.

    Look, I know it is harder to play D with these rules, but there are plenty of techniques that are frankly probably more effective at stopping the play than blasting the guy and hoping that makes him drop it.

  • falconsaftey43

    QB in the pocket yes. And yes, a lot if players don’t like being hit below the knees, but it is allowed and if you want to make a play and not draw the penalty, that’s how you do it.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    I totally agree. People on this blog act as if the game is played in slow motion and not matter what happens the defender could avoid committing on these modern day fouls. In reality, in many cases it will come down to letting the receiver catch the ball or lighting him up. And the sad truth is any really hard hit is called unnecessary roughness. The league won’t just come out and say it but anytime a player is hit really hard the refs have to throw a flag. Now it is so bad after every hard hit fans are looking for the flag.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    On a team level I don’t disagree. However, that doesn’t make it any more right on an offensive or defensive level. There should be a more balanced approach.

    Your first point here doesn’t usually apply to safeties because they aren’t in man to man coverage so they don’t tend to have much say in if a guy gets open. As to your 2nd point, I have explained this before. If it is at the goal line like in Wilcox case your approach is a non starter because the ball only has to cross the goal line. So you basically have to do everything you can to stop the ball from crossing. Swatting with your hand offers a very limited approach to that problem. And of course, even if you aren’t on the goal line you get much more force if you can get your shoulder or helmet into the ball as opposed to just a hand. So again, the same problem remains where you unfairly limit defensive options. Same thing goes for you talking about lowering the target. If you lower the target than you are no longer aiming for the ball and it all becomes moot once again.

    No, there really aren’t plenty of techniques. Even the ones you offer up are impractical in a lot of cases.

  • Rusted Out

    Yup. Fans are now conditioned to look for the yellow laundry whenever a big hit is delivered. Thx NFL. Pathetic.

  • falconsaftey43

    By the rules, they are both illegal hits. Any hit to the head of a defenseless receiver is illegal. If they eliminate the rule, I don’t care where they hit him, but when it is against the rule, players have to do all they can to avoid it. Attack the ball not the man, or go low.

  • Robert E Lil

    If the choice is “letting the receiver ccatch the ball or lighting him up” then the former governs. That’s the point

  • VaDave

    Phil, not that I was any great shakes as a football player, when you hit a blocking sled, you don’t hit it with your head. In the games I played, and granted, probably less than 50 in pads, many more playing in unpadded tackle games, as primarily either an OLB or ‘corner, I never hit any one with the crown of my helmet. It is avoidable for the most part, and Gay’s hit is a classic example. He he had 3 options on that play, two of which using proper technique would not have drawn a flag. One use his arms to shove him out of bound, the second, lower the target. The rule, like it or not states you may not hit a player with your head hitting his. It is incumbent for the defender not to make contact with the head of an opponent with your helmet. . I’m not sure why you are having such difficulty with this.

  • Rusted Out

    Yes. You’re right. They are regulating defense right out of the game.

  • falconsaftey43

    Goaline, yes sometimes the penalty is better than the play, and that’s fine. Like if a DB gets burned better to get a Pi call than a TD. But you do it knowing you are taking a penalty and will be fined.

    As far as fairness, we’ll just have to disagree that it is unfair offense to defense. The rules are arbitrary. Is it fair that the defense is allowed to line up however they want but the offense is limited? It’s just the rules. They change all the time and the balance shifts. The game isn’t overly slanted IMO, teams still win with defense so I’m ok with it.

    Tillman of the Bears made a career of punching the ball out. It’s often more effective than trying to land a helmet on it because although not as hard, it’s a lot more accurate using your fist.

    Bottom line for me is those are the rules, play within them or take calculated risks

  • VaDave

    Actually, there would be no problem If they didn’t wear helmets. Puting an un helmeted head where it doesn’t belong would result in a very short learning curve. They need to learn that a helmeted head is not a weapon of choice, which was the issue of all three of the gif on this study.

  • falconsaftey43

    Im curious as to how many fans were saying they were ruining the game or it was unfair when they added the 5 yard Chuck rule or outlawed the head club by DL. I’m sure it was just as bad haha.

  • falconsaftey43

    Yep, great points

  • VaDave

    This was a straight shot to the receiver. Please explain how Gay’s head managed to be dead center on the receiver if he didn’t lead with his head?

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Who said you hit a blocking sled with your head lol? Like I said, ideally you don’t hit players with your head either but the game moves at a high speed, a blocking sled just sits still and allows for the luxury of perfect tackling form. It doesn’t dodge side to side or duck into your head.

    And I agree Gay had some options there, especially considering the guy was well short of the sticks. I had a bigger issue with the Wilcox one personally.

    As for your last part, there is no difficulty at all with it which should be clear by my responses. I understand the rule and accept it, I just think it should be tweaked and puts the defense at a distinct disadvantage. In the other thread I even offered up a solution that the league should change the rule from the ball having to cross the goal line to a player having to get their entire body across in order for it to be a TD. That way there doesn’t have to be so much focus on preventing the ball from getting in. In Wilcox case than he could have just went for a form tackle to keep Coleman from getting in instead of having to go high to target the ball and attempt to prevent it from crossing.

  • VaDave

    Hey FS43, am I out to lunch over this? To me this is one of the few rules that is extremely clear. Most of these guys are not stupid, stubborn as all get out, but pretty bright in the cranium to be struggling with this concept. Let me know. Thanks.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    the will gay penalty was stupid. had the brownie not started to crouch, gay would have clearly hit him in the shoulder. and still hit him in the shoulder anyways.

    stupid stupid stupid.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    i have him blocked because nothing he says is of value. i would if i were you.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Nah, I think it is better to correct misconceptions or mistakes such as his use of keyboard warrior.

  • VaDave

    Phil, good post there buddy. Actually, the last 40 years has been a assault on the defensive football, starting with the Blount Rule. I would not be surprised in the coming years that defense will be limited to only one player instead of 11, and has to stay within 2 yards of his side of the line of scrimmage between the hash marks.

  • falconsaftey43

    Not at all. A lot of fans just don’t like the rule and try to justify how the hit could be legal because they are in denial that the rules exist. They just miss “the good old days” when there were highlight hits all the time and they were legal. Some have a hard time separating “I don’t like that that’s a penalty” from “that’s not a penalty”.

  • 太阳三联

    It sucks bro. The game is fast and imagine having to give some1 like AB a chance to catch it before you can hit. You getting toasted. It’s dictating the game

  • Michael Mosgrove

    i aint got time for that. lol.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Says every new generation about the previous generation. Your football wasn’t your father’s football, and your father’s football wasn’t your grandfather’s football, and your grandfather’s football wasn’t your great grandfather’s football. Ultimately it doesn’t matter.

  • Matthew Marczi

    A great way to avoid this would be for players to not commit penalties.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It’s almost like you have to hit above the knees and below the neck…you know, the majority of a human’s body, and the most logical place to hit somebody.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I really see no room for compromise on the rule. It’s in place for player safety to force players with fines and suspensions to figure out how to play without these hits, which are in fact unnecessary. There are incredibly few such hits that are actually unavoidable. A human being’s cognitive health is and should always take precedent over saving a touchdown.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Again, a great way to avoid this is to not commit penalties. It’s on the players and the teams, not the officials for doing their jobs.

  • Matthew Marczi

    All four of the personal fouls the Steelers drew were 100% easily avoidable and none of them accomplished a damn thing. It was just stupid and bad play.

  • Matthew Marczi

    An easy call when it’s not your head on the line.

  • Matthew Marczi

    That is irrelevant to whether or not it was a penalty, and thus subject to a fine. It WAS definitely, 100%, unambiguously a penalty, and thus subject to a fine. Whether or not the officials should have flagged it during the game based on a review is a completely different matter.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Gay was going for a plaster shot. It was his own stupid fault, and he also saw that the ball was bobbled before he ducked his head.

  • Rusted Out

    No doubt. Brainwashed fans are busy arguing how super athletes are supposed to hit without that huge dome on top of their shoulders touching the ball carrier.

  • 太阳三联

    Gay hit him with his chest, this is borderline mini league football shxt.. I can hear the parents awe’ing and crying ‘hes taking it to serious.’ taking me back to my mini league days but that was the reason I played to hit and be hit, it’s fun, energizing

  • 太阳三联

    I understand the open field things like punt returns/kick and 30-40 yard bombs where people are at their highest peak of speed you don’t want the hits to the head, I agree but around the line of scrimmage it’s utter trash

  • francesco

    Let the players play. Stop inventing more infractions.
    Having more rules does not make the game better or safer.

  • francesco

    So stop comparing one generation from another which the media always does. Tom Brady is not the GOAT because its not the same NFL.

  • 太阳三联

    You obviously never played football, I wish a mothafxcka would catch a pass with me closing in. You gotta understand this a game of will.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I disagree. A player should not be penalized for something that is just as much another players fault. We see it all the time where a receiver is as much or more the cause of these violent collisions and yet we are still throwing flags on the defender. How will that ever be eliminated unless they just completely rule out tackling? Like there has to be a 3 second gap from when the receiver catches a ball until you are allowed to hit him? Anyway, I do think there is some room for compromise. Hold the flags when the receiver appears to be as much at fault as the defender.

    If players don’t want the damage they shouldn’t play the game because there will always be that risk. Kick returns, punt returns, and running plays are all as bad or worse when it comes to collisions and there aren’t really fine-able hits on those plays. Again, I am not saying it should go back to when players were just crushing each other because they could, but there should be a happy medium where defensive play isn’t compromised because of these rules. When guys launch, or lead with forearms or intentionally spear a guy like Ryan Shazier….sure, throw the flag. But when Wilcox has no choice to try and prevent the TD AND the receiver ducks into his hit there is no way that should ever be a flag. It is nonsense.

    As to your last part if cognitive health took precedent for these guys they wouldn’t be playing in the NFL to begin with and nobody is giving someone a free pass to a touchdown. So again, I will take that penalty every time and so will the players and coaches because that is how football works. You are suppposed to hit the other guys to prevent them from succeeding.

    And just as a side note, there are 2 prominent players (maybe more) who have actually come out and said that they have made deals with opposing defenders before games that they would pay their fines if they went high on them so long as they didn’t aim for their legs because they would much rather take a headshot than have their knee blown out. Larry Fitzgerald and Tony Gonzalez are the 2 guys I know of.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    This is a silly argument Matthew. I would assume quite a few posters on here have played football at some level (myself included) and thus speak from a place of experience. So it isn’t fair to act like nobody cares about the health of the players. It is more a matter of caring about the integrity of the sport and knowing (at least for me personally) that if we were out there we would play the game just as we want to see it played.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Wonder what the fan reaction would be if this were AB or MB getting blasted like these Browns players?

  • Tattle

    But it wasnt helmet to helmet. It was shoulder to helmet and if you watch the slow-mo he starts going in before Louis drops his body and head into the oncoming Gay. It was the receivers fault and a bad call and a bad fine.

  • mhurk

    Goddell must be hard up for cash? Guess that’ s why He is coming to Pittsburgh this week, to collect.

  • mhurk

    Guy shouldnt of had the ball near His head. Great play!

  • Matthew Marczi

    You obviously don’t understand the rule. Gay clearly hit him in the head, and any time a defender hits a defenseless player in the head, it’s a penalty. Intention is completely irrelevant, doesn’t matter if the receiver ducked. It will always be a penalty and a fine.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Feel free to take that up with somebody who actually did that.

  • John Pennington

    Gay should get his money back the refs cheated him on that hit.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I played too. Player safety is paramount over being able to blow a guy up right in the head. Not a single one of the plays the Steelers were fined for on Sunday were in any way beneficial to their team on a fundamental level, so it really has nothing to do with integrity.

  • Matthew Marczi

    You can argue better, but it is safer.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It will never be completely eliminated but it has already been substantially reduced. The majority of players have figured out how to adapt their game. Generally speaking, basic fundamental tackling eliminates almost all of these illegal hits anyway. They mostly come on these unnecessary highlight-reel shots.

    Arguing that players shouldn’t play if they’re worried about their cognitive health is just one that is not going to go anywhere. It’s a non-starter. Besides, we already have a number of players retiring early citing concerns over cognitive health, so it is something they are cognizant of.

    I just don’t see your argument at all when it comes to Wilcox. Do you seriously think that he did the only thing that he could possibly hope to do to break up the play? My problem is that he didn’t even think for a second to try to rip the ball out, which probably has a higher degree of success in dislodging the ball than a bit hit. Look at Mike Mitchell. How many big hits has he lined up on receivers (clean hits, by the way)? A lot. How many times is he actually successful in dislodging the ball? Not very often. Maybe once or twice last year, if even that.

    You can hit players in a lot of places that are not their head, so that’s not a very compelling argument to me. Again, playing the ball by trying to rip it out is probably a more effective tactic than trying to land a big hit.

    It really doesn’t matter what Larry Fitzgerald says. And honestly anybody who implies that they would rather get hit in the head than the knee is an idiot.

  • Mister Wirez

    I’m so sick of hearing about hits to the head. You want to stop them from hitting in the head? Take the helmets off and I guarantee they won’t do it anymore.

    These player’s signed up to play a violent game, and with it comes risk, but also comes great reward, to the tune of multi-tens of $Millions. So when the heads collide, I don’t get very upset, these players know there’s risk.

    I also think the NFL has almost ruined this sport because it’s getting to be practically flag football. Besides, everyone knows THE ONLY REASON the NFL “cares” is because of the price of litigation.

  • Mister Wirez

    Jumbotron Reffing, it’s the new officiating thing now.. it’s just sad.

  • mrallnite111 .

    So true.. They can’t remove their head just to make a tackle.

  • Mister Wirez

    Like Lambert used to say, put them in dresses….

  • Mister Wirez

    Impossible to not lead with your head. Maybe not the crown of the head.

  • Mister Wirez

    It will be. They’re headed to flag football.

  • Mister Wirez

    They get paid pretty damn good to put their head on the line. These guy’s know the risks.

  • BigBodyBeer

    Shut up, nerd

  • Matthew Marczi

    They won’t even be able to remember they have money in their old age if they keep taking shots to the head, assuming they don’t commit suicide before reaching old age. There is no amount of money that can quantify the offset of cognitive impairment.

  • Applebite

    Sorry, but you can’t assume from slow motion that the player premeditated how he was going to make contact. The Gay hit was ‘Bang-Bang’, just like Shazier in the Cincy game a couple of years ago on Gio Bernard. You duck down, you’re bracing for impact. It’s natural for a ball carrier to do so. Gay is shorter than the WR. Looks like by a good 5 inches. Contact like that is not avoidable. You can play replay as slow as you want, it says nothing about how fast players are moving. I’d appeal that fine if I’m Will Gay.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It’s a complete waste of time because the intent doesn’t matter. Shazier is wasting his time too. None of these fines are going to be overturned or reduced. They’re all letter-of-the-law violations in which intent is not a relevant factor.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    I hear you and though I don’t like the softer game as much, the players’ safety is more important.

    Whatever the rules, we must abide by them – otherwise, our players become Burfict!

  • francesco

    Sorry Matthew my comment was not directed to you personally. But no matter what sports show i listen the obsession is always “so who is the best” and it makes me go crazy. At least in somof the other sports like soccer or baseball things have not changed so much. But the NFL is almost night and day. I may be exaggerating somewhat😊

  • Phil Brenneman II

    You are minimizing the issue though. It isn’t just a bunch of barbarians wanting to hit guys in the head. It is a way to play with a chance to be your most successful. Again I will go back to the Wilcox play. Coleman only has to get a small portion of the ball over the goal line and it is a TD. So if you go for his center and fold him his top half still folds over the goal line. If you go for the legs and flip him he flips right into the endzone. So what does that leave you with? You have to go high and aim for the ball to try and prevent it from crossing. Wilcox did that and Coleman ducked in and we end up with the result we say. So yeah, it can impact the integrity of defensive play. His options were to either give up and let the TD happen or do what he did and risk a fine.

    I have already said that Shazier was just terrible form plain and simple. That dude just completely speared the QB. Gays could have been avoided given the situation but if the guy had been past the first down marker I wouldn’t have had much issue with Gays hit. Watt was just….ticky tack on his part and the refs. He barely hit the QB but he didn’t need to be getting that hit in either. Wilcox I am 100% behind and hope if he got the chance he would do the exact same thing again.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    The one thing here I will definitely disagree with is “they mostly come on unnecessary highlight reel shots”. A good portion of flags I have seen thrown on the issue come when a defender has targeted the chest or stomach area like they are supposed to and a receiver ducks into the hit which is where I have been saying and will continue to say the main problem lies. It seems to me like you have fallen into the same trap is many others Matthew, and that is you get to watch all of this stuff in slow motion and see the violence and think these players also get to make those decisions in slow motion. Heck, even though a lot of us played we can’t fully understand it because we most likely weren’t playing with guys moving at 4.4 speeds.

    How is it a non starter? If you argue the main priority is health shouldn’t the main priority be not playing? Obviously the media and bloggers and whomever else are more worried about this stuff than the majority of the actual players playing the game or else you know, they wouldn’t be playing it. If you are scared to get in a car crash you drive the speed limit or maybe choose to not drive at all because those are the best ways to avoid it. So if players truly don’t want brain damage they would take the route that doesn’t get them hit at all. Seems to me though that we have no shortage of RB’s and linemen willing to crash into each other 60 times a game. And yeah, a minor few have retired because of it and the trend could continue upward but as it stands now the vast majority are going to continue to play.

    Yes I absolutely think he did the only thing that could have hoped to save the play. I keep seeing a couple of you talking about this ripping the ball out thing. Am I completely missing the physics on this? Most guys when they try to rip the ball out are in pretty specific body positions to the receiver or are making a tackle from the side or behind and try to punch the ball or rip at it. How in the heck is that supposed to prevent the ball from crossing the goal line when you are coming straight at a guy? I mean seriously, how many times have we seen guys just run straight at someone and throw a punch at the ball? That doesn’t even make sense. And of course it goes back to the rule being that the ball just has to cross the goal line so it gets across and he rips it out. Still a TD. As far as Mitchell you basically just add to my point about the hits. Mitchell has targeted lower and he rarely makes a guy lose the ball. A big reason for that is because he is not hitting them somewhere that would naturally dislodge the ball. When someone is carrying something you don’t punch them in the leg to make them drop it. You go for their hands, arms etc….So if Mitchell hits a guy in the gut and the ball and hands are unhindered it would make sense the ball isn’t coming out very often.

    And again, you minimize the topic. It isn’t just about landing a big hit. It is about landing a big hit in the most effective place. If you want a guy to not hold onto the ball you aim for the ball, hands, and arms which is most of the time going to be high one his body since most catches happen above the waist. So yeah, not everyone who questions the rule is some barbarian who is just discovering fire for the first time. You can understand the need for player safety and respect the players while also understanding that these rules have an impact on the integrity of defensive play. Shaziers hit has no buiness in the game, Wilcox hit was his only option as a football player for even a small chance of success.

    I don’t think it is fair to call them an idiot Matthew. It is their career path and knee injuries can be career ending and often times at a minimum season ending. It can take a player from life changing money to out of the league. A head injury costs you maybe 1 game and you are good to go. It CAN have long term effects but often times doesn’t.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Intent should be a factor though. Would be the fairest way to enforce the rule.

  • Joe Bonfiglio

    idiot

  • Matthew Marczi

    Sure, it would be the fairest way, but we both know the intent of the rule is not to establish fairness but to provide a disincentive for defensive players to put themselves in positions that expose themselves to delivering these types of hits.

  • Lil Smitty

    Looking at all the GIFs the hits should have been penalties, by the letter of the NFL rules.
    However, do all hits that violate that rule get called? I read through the comments and people are talking about the rules and fairness. The only true way that things be fair is if they are legislated evenly. If someone violates the rules, they get fined and flagged. This would mean that every hit on a receiver going for a ball where the defenders head or shoulders first contact the receivers head or shoulder should draw a flag and a fine independent of how hard the hit was. I would bet that in every NFL game you could watch several of these hits take place. Many times they are committed by “star” players. This type of officiating would drive the fans insane, even though it would be the most fair and even officiating.
    We can discuss player safety and the effects of hits to the head on players brain function. I don’t look at the players as people to be injured for my entertainment. The issue I have with the rules that have been enforced with such vehemence over the past seven years, is it protects the wrong people. Most of the victims of CTE are the Offensive linemen, Defensive lineman, TE’s, RB’s and Defensive players yet few rule changes have been put in place to protect them, except the concussion protocol.
    I also find it interesting that there has been a drop off in attendance as so many of these new rules have been instituted. It may not be a direct correlation, but it does seem interesting. It is almost as though fans have grown tired of the new NFL experience of one-sided football. All the rules have been tilted to the offensive side of the ball. It has reached the point in the NFL that if a team doesn’t have a top flight QB and WR, they don’t stand chance of winning. Which immediately narrows down the competition for the Super Bowl down to five or six teams. Baltimore and Seattle were the only exceptions over the past decades.
    Now about the hits by the Steelers: Gay should have shot his hands out and punched the receiver in the chest. He may also have been able to grab the ball. Wilcox was ab obvious penalty but the play should have been replayed because of offsetting penalties. Coleman shoved Burns in the facemask. You can see his white gloves on Artie’s facemask as Burns head snaps back and Coleman gets the inside of him. You can see the ref watching it all from the sideline.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    True but even then the player can’t be defenseless, which is story for another blog. If you hit a defenseless player to hard, the refs will call unnecessary roughness.

  • Steel Your Face

    I really did a horrible job explaining on one. What I meant to say was that yes, 9 times out of ten you wrap with your arms but I do believe that your arms and helmet end up getting to the same place at the same time on occasion, if that makes sense.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It sometimes happens that the officials make the incorrect call, sure. There’s no disputing that. Then we can broach the argument over whether or not such penalties should be reviewable.