Just about every team in the NFL over the course of a season, through either coach or player, has a run in with the NFL legal squad. The Steelers, as of the last few years, seems to have more run ins with ‘the law’ than Smokey. This week came as no exception, and the Steelers found themselves on the winning and losing side in the NFL’s civil court.
Guilty until proven Innocent
Ryan Clark put a wallop on Giants receiver Victor Cruz on a 3rd and goal in the Steelers end zone. Clark was initially flagged for a ‘blow to the helmet’ personal foul. That penalty gave the Giants an automatic first down at the goal line. The Giants ran the ball in (though replay showed otherwise but wasn’t overturned) and were able to tie the game up. Thankfully, the Steelers were able to overcome the bad officiating that took place that night, and the hit became a minor casualty at the time. As is the policy of the league, just about every hit goes scrutinized by some crack pot team. Upon further review, Clark clearly hit Cruz in the rib area and lead with his shoulder. It was about as text book as you can get, and the only possible foul that could have been called on Clark was hitting a defenseless receiver. That couldn’t be the case anyways as the ball was still in play when Clark applied the hit. The NFL cleared Clark of any wrong doing, and he did not receive a fine…. this week.
Liar Liar Pants On Fire…. Now Pay Me 50 G’s
During a crucial moment in the Bengals-Steelers game a few weeks ago, Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Sanders suddenly collapsed to the ground while in the huddle. The trainers came out, and an injury timeout was called. Sunday Night Football’s Holmes and Watson (aka Michaels and Collinsworth) were not shy to speculate that Sanders was feigning the injury so that the Steelers did not have to use a team timeout. They showed the replay of Sanders falling several times just in case anyone wasn’t sure of its obviousness after the first time. After the game and days following, Sanders played the sweet innocent, but eventually said the situation was being handled internally. Eventually, the NFL came a calling, and today fined Sanders and the Steelers $15k and $35k respectively for faking an injury. The NFL does not believe that this is a common practice of the organization, so the fines were minimal. Duh.
I’m not sure if it was Sanders acting on his own, or if someone in the huddle (Ben?) said someone needed to go down for a play, but I will agree it was a dumb move. It’s bad enough to have the integrity questioned with things like Bounty Gate and Stick’em Gate out in San Diego. Let’s not have Fake Injury Gate become part of the lexicon shall we?
No Flag =
No Penalty Still Fined
Even though Clark was cleared for his hit on Cruz, another Steeler was dinged for his own hit on Cruz. Early in the game against the Giants, Eli Manning threw a ball to Cruz that Keenan Lewis broke up the pass. Steelers backup safety, Will Allen, came into the frame and hit Cruz fairly hard once the ball had passed. The refs never threw a flag even though they were right on top of the play. The NFL decided that the hit came late and defenseless enough to warrant a fine. Almost $8k later, and now I guess Allen will think twice before making a receiver pay for laying out for a ball. Yeah right.
Well that’s it this week for Steelers ‘Civil Court.’ Join us next week when James Harrison gets fined $500,000 to make up for all the lost time that he hasn’t been fined.