Hefty Fines, Possible Suspensions Should Help NFL Cut Down on Head Shots

The fines that the NFL normally hands out for head shots and unnecessary roughness penalties are usually a joke.  Before Sunday, it wasn’t uncommon for a player to be fined anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 for an illegal or dangerous hit during a game.  Take into account the fact that most of these guys make millions, and you get a vision of a player laughing sarcastically while writing a check.  That’s assuming the team even makes the player pay it.

While it may come as a shock to some, the NFL got serious about punishing players for head shots on Monday.  Pittsburgh’s James Harrison was fined $75,000 for his hit on the Browns’ Mohamed Massaquoi, Atlanta’s Dunta Robinson was fined $50,000 for his hit on DeSean Jackson, and New England’s Brandon Meriweather was fined $50,000 for a brutal helmet-to-helmet shot on Baltimore’s Todd Heap.

Heap was able to return to the game after Meriweather cracked him, but Massaquoi was forced to leave with a concussion as were both Robinson and Jackson after their collision.  But how much of a hole will the fines burn in the players’ pockets?  For Meriweather and Harrison, a pretty significant one.

Robinson has a base salary of $5 million, so the $50,000 fine he was given represents only a small portion of his salary.  However, the fines to Meriweather and Harrison make up more than a full game check.  Granted, Harrison has a huge extension waiting to kick in, but the sum of the fines is a step in the right direction for the league.

[Read more...]

Brett Favre and Agent Bus Cook Meet with NFL, Wisely Avoid Media

The moment of truth came for Brett Favre on Tuesday. Not really, but it was fun to say it anyway. Number four met with NFL Security vice president Milt Ahlerich to discuss the allegations that he sent sexually explicit picture messages and left voice mails for former Jets employee, Jenn Sterger. The meeting took place in Winter Park, inside the Vikings’ practice facility.

If you wanted to know how it went, don’t count on an answer from Favre or his agent, Bus Cook. According to the Star Tribune, “Bus Cook left Winter Park driving the same car that Favre arrived in Tuesday morning. Reporters waiting outside did not see Favre in the vehicle, but Cook’s presence means it’s obvious the meeting took place inside Winter Park.”

It’s possible that Favre was ducking down in the car to avoid the media, but we can’t really be sure. What we do know is that the NFL might have a tough time suspending (or punishing) Favre if they don’t have any cooperation from Sterger. If Favre admitted to sending the pictures, voice mails, and MySpace messages, then he’d be in trouble. But without Sterger’s side or cooperation, the NFL would have a tough time proving anything.

You may be asking why Sterger won’t cooperate with the league’s investigation. My guess is she’s holding out for a $ettlement from Favre, considering the investigation is her leverage. See, the last thing Favre wants is to be punished by the league. It would be prudent of him to pay her some money to go away and never talk about the incident again. That’s probably what will end up happening if it hasn’t already.

Chad Ochocinco Plans Touchdown Celebration with Props, Sent Atl a Package

chad.dont.fine.meIt’s been a down year for the receiver formerly known as Johnson. Chad Ochocinco has just 26 catches for 316 yards and a touchdown through five games this year and recently lamented how different he’s become. After watching an old NFL Films clip of himself, he vowed to get back to the “Chad of old.” And guess what? He’s already back to the same goof ball ways we got used to seeing years ago.

Chad tweeted on Tuesday: “The old Chad is back, i sent the entire Falcon defense a nice gift and i have a special prop in place in each endzone for sunday. … I really hope the Falcons players accept my gift, went through alot for them and look forward to playing against them sunday … ATL i love you all and will show my appreciation in a way none have ever seen before, im literally bringing the jungle to u *wink*”

Chad hyped us up back before week one when he promised to fire off the Patriots’ cannon if he scored. He did get his first and only touchdown of the season against them, but I don’t recall hearing any cannons go off. Hopefully he’ll find the end zone and not let us down this time.

Honestly, as much talking as Chad is doing, the team’s problems are not on him but rather the quarterback. If Carson Palmer could get him the ball back like the old days, then he’d have his confidence back and he’d be planning celebrations and awesome shenanigans like this, this, this, and this.

UPDATE: TMZ reports Chad sent them t-shirts. Lame.

Jeff Fisher: Titans Ran Up Score After ESPN Requested More TV Timeouts

Many football fans probably missed the end of the Jags-Titans game on Monday night. First off, the game was a total dud because Jacksonville failed to show up. Matters weren’t helped when each team’s starting quarterback got hurt, leaving us with the delightful Trent Edwards-Kerry Collins struggle (first to two field goals wins!). Once things got to 20-0 in the third quarter, fans probably switched over to TBS to watch Cliff Lee and the Rangers against the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS. I kept checking back with the football game, but I missed the very end when Chris Johnson scored a touchdown to make it 30-3 in the final two minutes. I was shocked to see that he had scored that TD, and now I realize it’s become a controversy.

Pro Football Talk’s Gregg Rosenthal pointed out via the Titans Insider that Titans coach Jeff Fisher says he only ran the ball late because ESPN had asked the coaches to call timeouts so the network could air more commercials. Going back over the boxscore, it’s quite curious that Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio called timeouts after two Chris Johnson runs inside the two minute warning. Why would a coach down 20 points with two minutes left begin burning timeouts?

Fisher explained it after the game, “My understanding is they needed network timeouts, and that’s why Jack used his timeouts. They came over and asked me to do it, but I said, ‘I was hoping to get a first down and kneel on it.’”

Had Del Rio not called the two timeouts, the Titans likely would have been able to kneel on the ball and run out the clock. Instead, they poured on the extra touchdown, helping out Chris Johnson fantasy owners in the process. Sports by Brooks says ESPN is denying the claim, but what would you expect them to say? Why would a league like to have the impression that TV controls its product, even if we all already know that’s the case?

The only logical explanation for why Del Rio took the extra timeouts was to see if his team could get the ball back to give Trent Edwards some more game experience with his new team. Now that is semi-plausible.

UPDATE: It appears as if Jeff Fisher was just making a joke.

Photo Credit: J. Meric/Getty Images

Where Will Bill Parcells Go Next?

Bill Parcells has been relatively quiet this year — at least as far as Parcells goes. Back in September, he announced he was stepping aside as the Miami Dolphins’ VP of Football Operations, handing his job over to GM Jeff Ireland. Though Parcells said he would remain with the organization as a consultant, he is either already stepping away, or at least somewhat separating himself from the organization.

ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter reported the following on twitter, “Consultant Bill Parcells has packed his bags and moved out of Dolphins offices. Miami knew this move was coming, just not this soon.”

Since winning two Super Bowls with the Giants, the Big Tuna has coached the Patriots, Jets, Cowboys, and run Miami’s front office. For a guy who doesn’t stay places very long, you have to wonder what’s next. At 69 years old, Parcells is getting up there and didn’t appear to be interested in coaching. Maybe another rebuilding project will intrigue him since he appears to enjoy challenges.

My money’s on Buffalo; that would complete his trip around the AFC East, and we know Parcells only does East Coast teams (except for the Cowboys, reunion possibly?). Where do you think the Tuna will end up next? You know there are plenty of teams that would love to have him around.

Jon Gruden Slips Maurice Jones-Drew the Secret Handshake

Any time Jon Gruden is on TV breaking down film with a player, I’m watching. I love seeing what he’s like as a coach and what it’s like being in his office breaking down film.

Prior to Monday night’s game between the Titans and Jaguars, ESPN aired a clip of Gruden visiting with Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew. The two broke down film, discussed mascots, Gruden gave a shout out to Ryan Grant, and he paid tribute to Maurice by comparing him with Barry Sanders. It was a fun chat, and you could tell Gruden was fond of Maurice. Then at the end of the interview, the two men shook hands but Chucky slipped Maurice the secret handshake highlighted by the extended index finger. MJD appeared to do the same, though his hand was covered:

Is this an NFL fraternity shake? An elite running back club shake? I dunno what club they’re a part of, but I sure want in. Gruden also caused some ripples from viewers going overboard gushing over Maurice’s large thighs. Hey, he was talking running backs — I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, but others were freaking out. Just to satisfy other people’s complaints, I’ll give Gruden a pause for that.

Undrafted Saints RB Chris Ivory Is a Player

A memo to Scott Sicko and anyone else who pouted after not being drafted by an NFL team: you can still have plenty of success in the league, quickly. Max Hall became the fastest undrafted player to start at quarterback in a game when he started last weekend against the Saints and won. Another undrafted rookie stood out in the game — Saints running back Chris Ivory, who was already on our radar because of his smooth play.

The undrafted rookie running back truly broke out in week six, leading the league with 158 yards rushing on just 15 carries. Ivory pounded the Buccaneers with bruising runs between the tackles, and he also showed his speed turning the corner on several runs to the outside. Sure it was against Tampa Bay’s defense, but Ivory looked impressive as the Saints churned out their highest rushing total of the season.

158 yard rushing totals don’t just come out of nowhere, but Ivory sure seemed to. So just who is this guy?

Chris Ivory is from Longview, Texas and he played college ball at Washington State. He only played 22 games in three seasons for the Cougars because of injuries and wound up kicked off the team because of his role in a 2009 fight. Ivory then transferred to D-II Tiffin University in Ohio where he played five games before hurting his knee. Despite all the injuries, the Saints gave Ivory a look and signed him to their practice squad. Thanks to Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush injuries, Ivory received an opportunity to play and has been sharing carries with Ladell Betts.
Ivory separated himself with his play on Sunday and has earned a larger role in the Saints offense moving forward, even when the other running backs return from injury. Not bad for an undrafted rookie out of Tiffin.