Yes, that’s right. Did you see that and wonder “what the hell for?” You’re not the only one. When I heard that Troy was fined 15k, I was scratching my head until someone reminded me of the horse collar tackle on Ricky Williams. I pointed out during the game via Twitter that if Troy doesn’t bring Ricky down there, he likely goes for 6. So I viewed it as a sort of foul like you’d see in basketball where you’d rather send the guy to the line instead of give him a bucket. That being said, the horse collar is a dangerous way to bring an opponent down, and is well deserving of a penalty, and even a fine. but…
This seems to be the latest installment of “fine the Steelers more than anyone else in an attempt to lower the defensive standards in the NFL.”
The horse collar tackle rose to infamy when Roy Williams used it to tackle on a regular basis on 2004, and in turn injured 6 players. Those six players included Tarrell Owens and Donovan McNabb. The “Roy Williams rule” was implemented in the 2006 season and has since been adopted by college and high school football programs.
In previous years, the penalty for a horse collar has been a 15 yard penalty, and something like a $7500 fine. Last year, Kevin Kolb was fined just $5000 for a horse collar tackle.
But when a Steeler commits the crime, the penalty is 15 yards and $15000.
I suppose Troy is lucky that it wasn’t $75,000 like the usual Steeler fine. I suppose James Harrison was lucky they didn’t just fine him instead.
Now, I’m not advocating the horse collar take down. I do believe, however, that it is used, by and large, accidentally by the players in the NFL. When you’re running at full speed and grabbing anything and everything you can get your hands on to take your opponent down, you don’t always realize that you’ve just taken a guy down by the jersey area around the neck. In my opinion, an accidental penalty like that one does not warrant a large fine. Obviously, intent is something that is impossible to judge, but the nature of the horse collar really lends itself to being something that is most likely unintentional.
SO, why raise the fine? This is really part of a bigger issue and a bigger trend surrounding the NFL right now. The Commish and his cronies want to see high scoring, heavy passing football, and the value of defense is steadily decreasing. I feel like all I hear about from the big commentators and the “analysts” is about the “shut down corner.” Seems like the only sexy defensive position left. The key is, being a player that doesn’t have to hit his opponent to be great at his position. The NFL is trying to make football in to something that it isn’t, and by fining players more money (more than double what they fined Kolb last year) for “less serious” penalties, they might just succeed in doing so.
What’s next in the NFL? Where do they go from here? Do they start to fine LBs for hitting the QB all the time? Do they fine Corners for contact with a WR at the line of scrimmage? Do they fine for any tackle above the waist? How about encroachment? Blocking? Sneezing? Where does it end?
The money-hoarding, Brady-loving, defense-hating NFL Officials will eventually get their way, and when that happens they can kiss their game good bye, and subsequently all that money. We’re here to see the game of football. That game with all the hitting and the injuries and the goal-line stands and the full-speed collisions…that’s the game we love. Ironically, the things they think will usher this game in to the future might just be the same things that lead to its demise.