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.
This was yet another example of the biggest problem I (and most critics) have with the fines, it is completely subjective and unequal across teams and players. I shuddered when Hines got hit, but it took four camera angles until I saw the illegal part of it. It looked OK in full speed, but once I saw the angle from behind the line of scrimmage things went a’ flyin’ and obscenities were yelled. He gets $20K for that, and they fine Clark two-fold?!
I completely agree with your comments on Clark learning to play the game within the Dictators rule-book, and he does drop his head on almost every tackle. He ends up putting himself in a more dangerous position than the person he’s hitting (case in point, I don’t know how he wasn’t knocked out on this one).
Collinsworth said, “any other era, this is called a great football play”. True, but it’s 2011 and Ginger has the reins. I’ve learned to get over the excitement of the bone crushing hits of old, so Clark needs to learn how to tackle like a ginger or open his change purse. Learning how to shut his mouth wouldn’t hurt either.
Yeah, I have no idea how the fine system works and I went to CMU. I can’t imagine what its like for most of these guys who, let’s be real, didn’t go to college to learn calculus. I *though* it went 15K first offense, 30K second, but Clark got nabbed for 15 last week and this week it’s….40? Earlier this season, Kemo got nabbed back-to-back and it went (I believe) 10k for the first one and then 15k for the next.
And Troy talking on a cellphone costs 10?
That’s why I call it the Wheel O’ Justice. I truly believe Ginger spins a wheel and and just wherever it lands, that’s your fine. I wonder if his secretary looks like Vanna White?