Yesterday, Steelers safety Ryan Clark was very vocal when it came to talking about his freshly doled out $40k fine for his personal foul helmet to helmet hit on Ed Dickson. Steelers Nation was pretty vocal too. There’s essentially two schools of thought currently being debated about this fine: 1) Clark’s fine was excessive especially when comparing it to Ray Lewis’ hit and subsequent fine or 2) There’s no way Clark should have been fined that much when it was pretty much a good football play to begin with – i.e. he didn’t ‘lead’ with the helmet even though helmets collided. So was Clark’s fine excessive or justifiable?
The part of this that needs debunked immediately is that there truly is a scale for acts deserving fines. The players received it at the beginning of the season. I think the big misconception about the fine system was that players were complaining that Commish Goodell had the sole power of dishing out fines. Truth – but he helped come up with that predetermined scale. Granted the scale is based on a minimum amount for each offense and level of offense, but the amounts aren’t completely random that most people think they are.
Now, when comparing it to Ray Lewis’ hit on Hines Ward, Lewis certainly wins on the severity level. If the fine scale is only a minimum to each offense, then certainly Ray Lewis got off easy. From the replay, you can see clear intent on leading with the helmet. The hit resulted in a concussion for Ward, and it kept him out of the game. Even though the minimum fine is $15k, Lewis certainly deserved more. But what about Clark? I don’t think there’s much debate about it. I don’t LIKE it. I personally feel that the scale is messed up, and I think the officials have done a crap ass job this season in penalizing teams/players when helmet to helmet hits occur. In fact, I just witnessed 30 seconds ago Philip Rivers receive a helmet to helmet hit that was not called. I’m sure that a fine will be given to Wimbley for the hit, but the fact that a penalty was not called makes this whole thing a bunk policy. Some major fixes need to happen during the offseason.