Sunday, November 4, 2012


The NFL, and Roger Goodell, has been really cracking down recently on excessive force and the intent of contact by defensive players.  This has been a very debatable topic as to what defines excessive force and are hits purposely violent or just a regular football play. 

This past week, after the Chicago Bears played the Carolina Panthers, Bears Safety Chris Conte was involved in a bang-bang play at the goal line that at the time was given a personal foul for helmet to helmet contact. 

The penalty, I felt, was questionable as he was leaning in to hit the receiver and as the receiver made a move he grazed his helmet and then fully hit his shoulder pads.  The referee felt it warranted a personal foul and resulted in Carolina gaining an automatic first down. 

The Bears were able to overcome this issue and ultimately win the game with more classic "Monster of the Midway" defense. 

The game ended.  Monday came and went. Then an email from the league office came to Chris Conte.

You are fined $21,000 for the hit he landed against the Carolina Panthers.  He originally thought it was a joke and it really is a joke.  To think this is fineable.   

To most people in society who think that is nothing for a professional football player to have a fine of this magnitude then think of it this way. 

This fine was 78% of Chris Conte's salary for the week. 

He makes $27,000 per game.  He is not Brian Urlacher, left, who makes $468,750 per game.    

Now I know what you are thinking.  Oh, well he will just make it up next week.  Right?  It shouldn't matter.  This is the man's lively hood.  I know we would all like to bring in that kind of money in a weeks time but again is shouldn't matter. 

Now think that if you were working and your company felt you made a mistake and that they would take 78% of your salary for the week.  You wouldn't want anyone, let alone your company, take money out of your pocket and take food off your table.

The NFL powers that be are working like an organized crime syndicate. 

The NFL doesn't care if you are a bit player and make the league minimum or if you are the star of the show.  They have the same fines and system for everyone.  You still gotta come up with the dough no matter what.

It is just like in Goodfellas when Tommy partners up with Paulie.  He has to come up with payments no matter what.      

Business bad?  F--- you, pay me.
Oh, you had a fire?  F--- you, pay me.
Place got hit by lightning, huh?  F--- you, pay me.

This is what if feels like for the little guy and what the NFL offices are basically telling them.

Don't play much?  F--- you, pay me.
Don't make much? F--- you, pay me.
Might go bankrupt, huh? F--- you, pay me.

It may sound far fetched but it isn't far off.  I understand wanting the game to be safe and never want to see anyone get hurt, but they are really taking the football out of football.

It is a violent game and people tune in each and every week to see their team play a barbaric sport. 

I especially feel this way for the Chicago Bears as their defense is their best offense right now.  The game today, against the Titans, was a microcosm of their season to date.  They use their ability to dominate games physically and opportunistically with creating turnovers and scoring touchdowns.

Chris Conte is a lower man on the Totem Pole as far as the Bears defense is concerned.  They rely heavily on the play of veterans Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Peanut Tillman.  These three are playing their best football and are doing it with bone crunching success.

Tillman alone today had forced four fumbles and does so with pinpoint precision when literally punching the ball away from opposing running backs and receivers, right.  He has to be physical to do his job at the highest level.  

There is a slippery slope when you start to fine players for helmet to helmet contact then what if they start fining for horse collar tackles.  Or in Peanut's case, for punching at players while trying to stripe the ball from them.

The NFL has their agenda and will ultimately have the final say in what goes within their league.  The players must adapt to the changes being made and do their best when in the heat of the moment.

I guess players will have to use the "magic bullet" theory and when they are in mid air and flying toward another player they will need to change directions and alter their movement against the laws of physics.

This is a ridiculous notion and why I feel these fines are getting out of control.  The league office needs to pump their brakes when doling out fines and really hand them out if these are done deliberately.

They also need to adjust their fining processes with the scale for which the players are committing them.  If a player makes the league minimum and is found to have violated league policy or procedure when making a hit then fine them according to their own salary.

Have a set scale that is made out in increments according to a percentage of their salary.

78% of someones salary is way too excessive and seems almost more extreme than some of the hits the players are being fined for.

An equal playing field in this process will be much better for a league that thrives on parody.

I realize this isn't going away this season but if it isn't addressed in the off season it will be a travesty.

Because if they don't do something then the little guy who makes a teams roster full may have to take another job during the season.

They just may be forced to actually go get their shinebox!


  1. If you are caught speeding and go to court and found guilty does the judge fine you based on your salary?

    When Gov. Ryan was found guilty, was the length of his sentence reduced because of his age?

    Saying that he didn't mean to go helmet to helmet makes no difference, no more than saying "Judge I don't think I was speeding", or "Judge I was just doing what all the previous Gov. did".

    I doubt if Conte's neighbors will have to have a bake sale for a man making in excess of $400,000 dollars a year.

    1. The examples you are using have nothing to do with this issue. You are using "laws" as your example. The league has "rules" but more and more these cases are judgement calls and players are finding out later they are being fined. The player can appeal but the process is a joke and it isn't even a legal matter. I am not sure what you do for a living or what you make annually but when you are used to a weekly paycheck then you have a living according to that income. If your employer took money from you and you couldn't pay your bills that week because of a rule at work you violated then wouldn't you have a problem with that. It is an employer who is taking money from their employee and it doesn't matter if that person makes $400,000 or not. I just feel the process is skewed and needs to be fine tuned no pun intended. They are taking football out of football and it is hurting the game and its true fans of the game. As "Mr. Football" you have to agree with that. Thanks for the comments and I enjoy the debate.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I don't know anything about "Mr. Football", but I do know that calling someone "stupid" is childish, and tells me the name caller has no counter argument.

    1. I apologize for the comments posted recently that are lacking maturity. It has been removed from the comments section. I look forward to intelligent comments and interactions with readers going forward. We all are passionate about sports but need to be respectful at all times to fellow readers. Thank you.

  3. With due respect to you, Maxeymum, my examples have everything to do with the issues.

    As Commissioner of Football, Goodell has the same power and discretion as any Judge in a courtroom. He is trying to keep players from suffering severe injury. Helmet to helmet is going to happen, sometimes it is an accident and sometimes it is deliberate, or at least little effort is made to avoid contact.

    If a player is paralyzed, he is going to lose a lot more than money.

    I honestly don’t see how he could fine one player one amount and a second player another amount. I don’t call that fair.

    I read your blogs all the time and enjoy them. You put a lot of thought and insight into them.