It seems that every week there is a different issue for NFL prognosticators to wax and wane about, and this week is no different. Because of recent findings as to the long-term physiological repercussions caused by multiple concussions, and the league's long-standing position on protecting the quarterback, referees have been quick to throw the flag on what they deem as dangerous hits. however, some were seen to be par for the course upon reexamination. The hit San Francisco 49ers RB LB Ahmad Brooks put on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees most certainly falls into that category. The sack and fumble, which was described by Brees as a clothesline tackle that went across his chest and up to his chin area as he was taken down, was penalized as a personal foul, and Brooks was fined $16,000 because of it.
"I didn't hit him with my hand or my helmet," Brooks told reporters, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "I basically bear-hugged him. That's just how football is played. I think this s**t is bulls***. Football, the way they call stuff these days, it's watered down. It ain't real no more."
Niners NT Ian Williams is out with a broken ankle cause by an opponent's chop-block and has expressed his frustration with the NFL's seeming disparity in penalties and fine and expressed his viewpoint in a Tweet:
Idc right now but it's crazy my teammate gets fined for a legal hit but someone can dive at my ankle and break it and not get fined. #Smh
— Ian Williams (@IWilliams95) November 20, 2013
Because of the penalty, the Saints were able to maintain possession of the football which resulted in a game-tying field goal. The Saints would win on a second field goal as time expired. Vice president of NFL officiating Dean Blandino says he felt the refs got it right.
"You can't make forcible contact to the head or the neck area, even if the contact starts below the neck and rises up," Blandino said in an appearance on NFL Network. "If there's force to that contact, it's a foul. Watch the initial contact, maybe around the shoulder, but it rides up into the neck area and brings the quarterback down with force. That's why the flag was thrown for unnecessary roughness."