I’m all for penalizing unnecessary roughness on the football field and discouraging late hits or helmet-to-helmet hits, but I believe the NFL has become too aggressive in doling out fines to defensive players. Take for instance the fine on Eric Smith of the Jets. Smith was just laying a normal hit on Anquan Boldin of the Cardinals, it just so happens that Boldin was severely injured on the play. No reason to fine Smith for the hit, but the NFL did. They’ve become fine-happy with guys like Hines Ward and have all but sent a message that players should think twice before delivering hard hits. At least that’s how 49ers linebacker Takeo Spikes said he felt when he was a guest on The Monty Show on Sporting News Radio:
I think some of the fines have been kinda high as far as what’s been going on lately with defensive players. A lot of times when you go in to hit a quarterback or you’re going up to make a big hit on the receiver to try knock the ball away from him, as a defensive player you never want to think — you just want to react. That’s just the standard role of a defensive player. But now you find yourself doing that at times and that’s not good.
I completely agree with Spikes on the matter. They’ve made it so one-sided now where it seems like defensive players might be thinking twice about delivering hits because the NFL has made it clear they don’t want the play to get too rough. Aside from penalties, you know if you keep that motor going you could be facing some serious fines for delivering big hits. That’s not the way the league should be going. Only blatantly late hits, illegal hits, or helmet-to-helmet hits should be fined so as to maintain the integrity of the game and not compromise the mentality of defensive players.