There were a number of ridiculous calls in last Sunday’s game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. The most inexplicable series of events involved Ryan Clark and Ray Lewis. Clark was flagged for “hitting a defenseless receiver” when he popped tight end Ed Dickson going down the middle of the field. You can watch the hit in question by clicking here. Meanwhile, Stabby knocked Hines Ward out of the game with a vicious blow to the head (if you watch a replay, it looked more like a forearm than helmet-to-helmet). No flag was thrown.
Naturally, Roger Goodell seized on these events to partake in his favorite hobby, fining players. And, as usual, the Steelers ended up with a losing spin of his Wheel O’ Justice. Lewis was fined $20,000 for knocking Hines out of the game. Clark was fined $40,000 for brushing up against Dickson in an aggressive fashion.
And he’s not happy about it.
Cryin’ Ryan went off on the Ginger Dictator in the interview you can hear by clicking the above audio. If you thought James Harrison had some scathing words for Ginger, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Clark goes on an inflammatory tirade where among other things he says, “With due respect to Commissioner Goodell, I mean Roger, not that I respected Roger before this...” and then muses in the future instead of spearing a guy with his helmet, he’ll simply “put him to sleep for real.” Yikes.
As my longtime readers know, nobody has been more critical of the Ginger Dictator than me. I think he’s the worst Commissioner in all of sports (disclaimer: I don’t watch nor care about the NBA) and I for damn sure think he has it out for the Steelers. I also don’t think Clark’s hit was a personal foul, let alone a $40K offense. A “defenseless receiver” is one in the air with his body exposed or going over the middle with his head turned toward the quarterback. Dickson was running STRAIGHT AHEAD and Clark hit him square in the sternum. If that’s an illegal hit, Heath Miller gets personal fouled two or three times every game.
All that said, I’m not really upset about this fine.
No, it’s not because I find Ryan Clark to be a loudmouth idiot. I’m not upset about it because despite his asinine ranting and raving, he brought this upon himself. Watch Clark closely, he comes flying in head-first on EVERY PLAY. How he made it all the way from PeeWee to JV to Varsity to College and then into the NFL without learning how to properly tackle is beyond me. But if he continues attempting to bring guys down with the crown of his helmet, he’s going to continue being fined (which I really don’t care about) and the Steelers will continue to get flagged (which I do care about).
Feeding into Cryin’ Ryan’s over-inflated level of outrage is the way the team has rallied to his defense. Mike Tomlin, in particular, was said to be furious after he actually showed the play to the team as an example of a perfect hit. If that’s true, Tomlin is pretty clueless. Last season, when Harrison was getting fined at a record pace, he eventually pulled James aside and told him to clean up his technique. And it’s worked as Harrison has not been fined this season.
By the way, Silverback delivers another contender for Quote of the Year with this gem when asked his thoughts on Clark being fined:
They leave me alone, I leave them alone. My name is Bennett and I ain’t in it right now.
As for Clark, all I have to say about him is STOP WHINING. Instead of tilting at ginger windmills, learn to tackle properly and you won’t get fined. These new rules are idiotic but they’ve been in place for almost two years now. Yet Clark remains the only Steeler I see hitting with his head down on every play. Well, sorry, I’m fresh out of sympathy for someone who would rather run his mouth than fix his game. Man up, pay your fine, and adjust your style or the Steelers will find another safety to play Robin to Troy Polmalu‘s Batman.