New York Jets safety Jamal Adams flew towards Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield during their matchup on Monday Night Football. He delivered a blow that leveled the former Heisman Trophy winner. As the QB fell to the turf, the Pro-Bowl defensive-back was penalized with a yellow flag by the referee, for “roughing the passer”. The NFL later reviewed the hit and stated league officials made the right call. For his efforts, Adams was fined $21,506. However, there seems to be one problem…the hit on the Browns’ signal-caller was not too high, and definitely wasn’t too low because the safety hit him smack-dab, squarein the middle of the chest.
Adams is very unhappy with the fine, and expressed his distaste for the league’s rules aimed at protecting quarterbacks during a media session with reporters on Thursday morning. The announcement comes one day after the star-safety bashed the NFL, via social media, on Wednesday. He insists he delivered a legal hit and alleged that game-officials even apologized to members of the New York Jets coaching staff for blowing the call after the game.
These are intense words from a very intense player who plays with a lot of emotion. Adams’ hit on Mayfield raises concerns of whether or not the NFL has actually become “too soft”. Officials have been trained to penalize any questionable contact against players, especially quarterbacks. In recent years, the number of fines and penalties for “rough” or “potential-injury” contact has skyrocketed.
In this day-and-age, every professional sports league, team, and player is money driven. No doubt about it. The National Football League is a billion-dollar business, and in order to protect their investments they are highly-dedicated to protecting their most vulnerable players on the field. The problem is clear. The level of gridiron competition from offense to defense is becoming very one-sided.
Players on the defensive side of the ball are bigger, faster and stronger than ever. There are more serious injuries occurring than ever before, and when these offensive players (mainly quarterbacks) go down it creates a snow-ball effect that levy’s a financial impact affecting both the team-owners and the league. Offenses are exciting, and high-scoring games put fans in the seats. Those fans want to see points on the board and are willing to spend high amounts of money to feel the rush they get on Sundays, when for example, an explosive receiver like Odell Beckham Jr. splits two defenders, and runs 89 yards for a touchdown like he did earlier this week.
Losing QB’s is the equivalent of lost profits. This is because nobody is willing to spend their hard earned cash to see a third-stringer like Jets quarterback Luke Falk try to navigate and compete against a soul-crippling defense like the one he will face Sunday, against the New England Patriots. Did I happen to mention Falk is playing because of “late” hit to Jets backup Trevor Siemian? The hit from defensive-end Myles Garrett was in stride when Siemian was throwing on the run, and as contact was made the QB suffered a broken ankle and was lost for the season. Garrett has now been labeled as a “dirty” player. However, he wasn’t fined by the league after being flagged for his roughness during the on-field contest.
My concern is that these rules are not really intended to protect the health and safety of ALL players. It seems that the league is sending mixed messages with this inconsistency. Siemian’s injury was far worse than the hit Mayfield took, yet the league’s financial discipline defends one “star” quarterback but now a lower-tier backup? Apparently, a former first-overall pick is more important to the league’s on-field product than a guy scratching by, trying to make ends meat and stay in the league for another year. I guess it’s also important to note that the money-driven league has no problem lightening the wallets of aggressive-defensive players just trying to do their jobs, for the sake of their own annual profits.
The NFL was made on lights-out hits from the likes of guys like hall-of-famer Ronnie Lott. Heck, the late Sean Taylor hit opposing players like a runaway freight train! That’s what gets fans UP OUT OF THEIR SEATS! But now, after softening the game and watering it down to a glorified game of “flag” football (no pun intended), league officials and business execs wonder why their ratings are down…
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