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 Should Players Be The Fall Guys? 

Should a front office also pay a price for illegal hits?
Yes. 20%  20%  [ 1 ]
No. 80%  80%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 5

 Should Players Be The Fall Guys? 
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Post Should Players Be The Fall Guys?
ESPN.com wrote:
Commentary

Players shouldn't be only fall guys

Coaches, execs, owners also must be held accountable for brutal nature of game
May 8, 2012
By Jeffri Chadiha | ESPN.com



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So far, players have been the main fall guys for excessive on-field violence. That needs to change.


If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants to speed up the cultural change he's pushing on the league, he doesn't need to make only players feel the pain of his on-field policies.

He needs coaches squirming. He needs owners fuming. He needs everybody fully grasping the reality that if the league actually has become too brutal, then it will take everybody involved to temper its violence.

Goodell already has sent a powerful message through his personal conduct policy, as owners, executives, coaches and players all have been punished by the strictest commissioner in league history. What Goodell hasn't been able to do is create the same sense of evenhandedness when it comes to player safety on the field.

The players alone still pay heavily for vicious hits that the league ultimately deems inappropriate. As for the people those players play for, it's still not that clear whether they're all spreading the same message the league office is selling.

Consider the New Orleans Saints. The most startling aspect of their bounty program wasn't that so many of the people involved -- from general manager Mickey Loomis to head coach Sean Payton to players like linebacker Jonathan Vilma -- paid such heavy prices for their roles in it. It's that the team's leadership was so clearly committed to dismissing Goodell's new vision for the league.

The minute we heard audiotape of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams imploring his players to injure key San Francisco 49ers, we should've all understood the commissioner's deepest fears. Player safety suddenly wasn't just about the player. It also was about how they're expected to play at the highest level of the sport.

There may be only one NFL coaching staff dumb enough to create such a heinous program, but you can bet there are plenty of others who understood why the Saints went too far. Intimidation always has been at the heart of football. This is why Goodell just can't browbeat players into a new way of approaching the game by deflating their bank accounts. If that's the idea -- and league vice president of football operations Merton Hanks acknowledges that "the fines are harsh because they're meant to deter behavior" -- then the men who are encouraging that same violent environment also need to be on alert. Not just in the Saints' bounty case, but leaguewide.


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If Ndamukong Suh draws another fine for an illegal hit, should Detroit's front office also pay a price?


That could mean stripping teams of low-round draft choices if they have too many repeat offenders of the player-safety policies. It could mean fining teams substantially if too many players wind up with fines of their own. If Ndamukong Suh, Detroit's notoriously nasty defensive tackle, draws another fine or suspension from the league, then maybe Lions vice president Bill Ford Jr. should feel some pain, as well.

If Pittsburgh's James Harrison can't alter the same tenacity that has cost him more than $100,000 in fines, then maybe Steelers Mike Tomlin has to face his own financial punishment.

That might sound extreme -- and certainly unlikely to ever happen --- but you can bet that the culture change would move along much faster. Such an approach also would be fairer to the players. At this stage, they're routinely getting banged for playing the game aggressively, but rarely do we ask why that aggressiveness exists in the first place. It's because it's a valuable commodity. For some, it's the difference between living a lifelong dream and earning a paycheck in the Arena League.


We might never have heard of Harrison -- an undrafted free agent who was released three times before growing into a five-time Pro Bowl linebacker -- if he didn't compete with the same edge the Steelers love in their defenders. There also are plenty of defensive backs who will acknowledge that if they can't separate receivers from the football, their teams surely will find players ready and willing to do just that.

Just think of how many midlevel and low-level players in the Saints' locker room might have been too concerned for their job security to openly oppose Williams' bounty program. Even more difficult to embrace is the notion that players can buy into Goodell's new vision for the league if they sense their superiors aren't being held to the same high standards.

The NFL will tell you there is no need to be that harsh in its quest for a safer game. The league says its way is working so far, and Goodell said a player recently told him that he'd "learned a new way to play the game and that it can be done." That kind of news certainly sounds reassuring in the early spring. It's also much harder to come by in October and November, when men are fighting for bigger prizes than helping the league tame its sport.

It is worth nothing that there have been plenty of attempts made to help players understand the game they're playing these days. Some have learned plenty by watching film in the league office and being shown, in complete detail, the errors of their on-field ways. All surely have had coaches explain to them the new "strike zone," the area where defenders legally can attack an offensive player.

But those moves can create only so much change. They don't get an entire league moving in the same direction even though, as league vice president of player engagement Troy Vincent said, "If you want to play in this league, these are the rules you live by. You can do that or find other options."

If Goodell's office isn't going to calm down on the fines it issues for on-field behavior, then getting everybody on the same page has to be the next most reasonable goal. That can happen only if players aren't the only ones paying such exorbitant costs for their transgressions.

The current fine system makes it seem as if the players are the only ones responsible for the league being as brutal as it now seems. From what we've seen in New Orleans -- and with more than 1,500 former players now suing the league for allegedly neglecting player safety in their days -- there is more than enough blame to go around on this one.



http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/79039 ... -fall-guys


Personally, I say - No! Players should be on their own for illegal hits. Leave the front office out of it. There's to many players who play a clean game and don't get fined. So they should know where to draw the line.

The issue of New Orleans / Bountygate is very different though. That was a team / coach / management sponsored and encouraged escapade. In that case the team & management needed to pay a price IMO, as well as the players involved.

Additionally, maybe it's just me, but I'm a little disappointed that Ndamukong Suh is used as a bad example in an article associated with Jonathan Vilma. I just don't see Suh as that evil. Maybe that makes me a homer but to me the comparison doesn't fit.

Your thoughts...

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May 8th, 2012, 12:27 pm
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Post Re: Should Players Be The Fall Guys?
I voted yes. I voted that way because I think fining the FO will get their attention and have the players re-focus on how to tackle instead of going for the 'kill shot'.

Personally, I am tired of seeing guys on defense go in for the big hit and not wrap up.

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May 8th, 2012, 12:49 pm
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Post Re: Should Players Be The Fall Guys?
LionsFan4Life wrote:
I voted yes. I voted that way because I think fining the FO will get their attention and have the players re-focus on how to tackle instead of going for the 'kill shot'.

Personally, I am tired of seeing guys on defense go in for the big hit and not wrap up.
Perhaps ESPN, Fox Sports, etc should be fined / punished as well; after all if it wasn't for the "SportsCenter-type" shows glamorizing these hits, then there prolly wouldn't be as many of them in today's game.
Oh, and don't forget to penalize the fans too, after all they cheer loudest for those hits

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May 8th, 2012, 12:52 pm
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Post Re: Should Players Be The Fall Guys?
TheRealWags wrote:
LionsFan4Life wrote:
I voted yes. I voted that way because I think fining the FO will get their attention and have the players re-focus on how to tackle instead of going for the 'kill shot'.

Personally, I am tired of seeing guys on defense go in for the big hit and not wrap up.
Perhaps ESPN, Fox Sports, etc should be fined / punished as well; after all if it wasn't for the "SportsCenter-type" shows glamorizing these hits, then there prolly wouldn't be as many of them in today's game.
Oh, and don't forget to penalize the fans too, after all they cheer loudest for those hits


Who knows, if Goddell keeps up this player safety campaign he's been on.. we could see something done. However, wouldn't that be overstepping his job duties? Telling a network what they can and can not show from one of the NFL's games to me would be a bit of a reach. Furthermore, I don't see these shows stopping b/c they know their audience and most are gonna want to see that hit.

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May 8th, 2012, 12:56 pm
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Post Re: Should Players Be The Fall Guys?
LionsFan4Life wrote:
TheRealWags wrote:
LionsFan4Life wrote:
I voted yes. I voted that way because I think fining the FO will get their attention and have the players re-focus on how to tackle instead of going for the 'kill shot'.

Personally, I am tired of seeing guys on defense go in for the big hit and not wrap up.
Perhaps ESPN, Fox Sports, etc should be fined / punished as well; after all if it wasn't for the "SportsCenter-type" shows glamorizing these hits, then there prolly wouldn't be as many of them in today's game.
Oh, and don't forget to penalize the fans too, after all they cheer loudest for those hits


Who knows, if Goddell keeps up this player safety campaign he's been on.. we could see something done. However, wouldn't that be overstepping his job duties? Telling a network what they can and can not show from one of the NFL's games to me would be a bit of a reach. Furthermore, I don't see these shows stopping b/c they know their audience and most are gonna want to see that hit.
Would it be overstepping his duties? Not sure as I'm sure they could find a way to include certain provisions in the next round of TV contracts (perhaps even in the current one, depending on the terms). For example: The NFL could stipulate that any and all replays shows have to be approved by the NFL, therefore controlling what it shows as a 'highlight' As far as whether or not the stations will comply...well if they want the millions of $$ of revenue the NFL generates for them, then me thinks they'll be OK with it :wink:

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May 8th, 2012, 1:36 pm
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Post Re: Should Players Be The Fall Guys?
Player safety campaign + 18-Wk season campaign = #-o [-X ](*,) :finger:

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May 8th, 2012, 1:49 pm
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Post Re: Should Players Be The Fall Guys?
TheRealWags wrote:
LionsFan4Life wrote:
TheRealWags wrote:
LionsFan4Life wrote:
I voted yes. I voted that way because I think fining the FO will get their attention and have the players re-focus on how to tackle instead of going for the 'kill shot'.

Personally, I am tired of seeing guys on defense go in for the big hit and not wrap up.
Perhaps ESPN, Fox Sports, etc should be fined / punished as well; after all if it wasn't for the "SportsCenter-type" shows glamorizing these hits, then there prolly wouldn't be as many of them in today's game.
Oh, and don't forget to penalize the fans too, after all they cheer loudest for those hits


Who knows, if Goddell keeps up this player safety campaign he's been on.. we could see something done. However, wouldn't that be overstepping his job duties? Telling a network what they can and can not show from one of the NFL's games to me would be a bit of a reach. Furthermore, I don't see these shows stopping b/c they know their audience and most are gonna want to see that hit.
Would it be overstepping his duties? Not sure as I'm sure they could find a way to include certain provisions in the next round of TV contracts (perhaps even in the current one, depending on the terms). For example: The NFL could stipulate that any and all replays shows have to be approved by the NFL, therefore controlling what it shows as a 'highlight' As far as whether or not the stations will comply...well if they want the millions of $$ of revenue the NFL generates for them, then me thinks they'll be OK with it :wink:


True, they would want that money. May even help the networks with advertising money since I believe more people will want to watch a live game since the chance of seeing 'that big hit' on Sportscenter and the like won't be an option anymore.

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May 8th, 2012, 2:04 pm
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Post Re: Should Players Be The Fall Guys?
I voted no. Player play the game, not the front office or even the coaches. If there is a hit in the game that the commish or whoever feels is illegal, then fine the player. If it is found out, as in Bountygate, that the coaches/GM or owner were soliciting illegal hits, then and only then should the front office be fined/suspended or whatever.

How many times have we seen hits that were flagged, then the player fined, that really were not "illegal", but just happened that the players were positioned in such a way that it came out that way. There needs to be some common sense in the whole thing. I can recall Ndamukong Suh being two steps away, with a full head of steam, from the QB when the throw was made. He had no way of stopping his momentum and hit the QB legally after the throw, but he got flagged, then got fined. It was a BS call and a BS punishment from a BS system. The stomp got flagged and fined and suspended and deservedly so. Regardless of all the crap that was going on prior to that on several plays, Suh should have tried to maintain his composure. But I would be beyond pissed if our front office or GM got fined because Suh or anybody else gets flagged/fined on a BS call. At that point, I'd want to see the referees get HEAVILY fined for blowing obvious calls. It's the only way to be fair.

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May 8th, 2012, 5:10 pm
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