The drama surrounding the end of the Patriots–Panthers game has obscured some of the angry shouting surrounding the penalty 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks got for hitting Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Sunday afternoon. The $16,000 fine that Brooks got pegged with this week should help overcome that.
Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the $16K the league hit Brooks with and also noted that Ray Lewis, now with the WWL, offered to pay half of whatever Brooks was fined.
Most people will disagree with this fine. In fact, most folks believe the hit by Brooks was incorrectly flagged. The hit in crazy slow motion sure does look painful and Brees looks like Reed Richards with the way his neck moves:
But at the same time there’s no blow to Brees’ head, which is where the outrage comes in. However, NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino, speaking on NFL Network Tuesday night, said that Brees was “defenseless” and therefore the call was correct.
“The quarterback, in the act of passing, or in the passing posture, is defenseless,” Blandino said. “You can’t make forcible contact to the head or the neck area. Even if the contact starts below the neck and rises up, if there’s force to that contact, it’s a foul.”
Brees himself believes the penalty was the correct call but doesn’t think what Brooks did was “intentional at all.”
“Again, I don’t think what Ahmad Brooks did was intentional at all,” Brees said. “I think he’s a heck of a football player and a clean football player. A hardnosed, clean football player. You look at the result of that, and again it’s in real time, we can slow it down all you want and watch it and say, ‘Oh, look where the…’ But I can tell you how it felt when I got hit. It felt like my head got ripped off and I get up and I’ve got a mouth full of blood. There was no doubt in my mind that it was going to be a penalty.”
Brooks, um, disagreed.
“I didn’t hit him with my hand or my helmet,” Brooks said. “I basically bear-hugged him. That’s just how football is played. I think this shit is bullshit. Football, the way they call stuff these days, it’s watered down. It ain’t real no more.”
Brees was right about the penalty. And it doesn’t look like his opinion — much less Brooks’ opinion — on intent matters at all: the NFL nailed him hard for the hit.
Hope you kept that AMEX out, Ray.