Did the NFL admit it made a mistake by penalizing Ahmad Brooks for his hit on Drew Brees during a Week 11 contest between the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints? That’s still uncertain, but what we do know is that Brooks says he won his appeal of the $15,750 fine for the hit.
CSN Bay Area reports that Brooks told them he won his appeal and won’t be fined. That means neither Ray Lewis nor Tedy Bruschi will have to chip in to pay Brooks’ bill like they wanted to, not that the Niners linebacker would have allowed it.
Brooks sacked Brees on a 3rd-and-2 play with 3:11 left in the game and Patrick Willis recovered the ball, but Brooks was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. The Saints were allowed to maintain possession and got an automatic first down. They kicked a field goal to tie the game, then SF went 3-and-out, and the Saints kicked a field goal to win it 23-20 as time expired.
The call in the game was critical. San Francisco is currently a game behind the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC standings and hold a tiebreaker over them because they have a better division record. That means had they won that game, they would likely be the top seed in the NFC playoffs. With a loss, the Saints would be in jeopardy of missing the playoffs. They would be 9-6 and would miss the playoffs if the Arizona Cardinals beat the 49ers in Week 17.
Obviously we can’t go back and change the outcome of the game, but Brooks winning his appeal seems to be a sign that the NFL at least realized the hit wasn’t as bad as they made it out to be.