In the days of Jack Tatum and Dick Butkus, the NFL was known as the most physical, if not at times brutal, sport out of the four major sports in America (basketball, baseball, and NASCAR). However in today’s day and age, the sport of football was somewhat lose some of that toughness by NFL executives and a commissioner who seem a little too eager to fine their players for the slightest hard hit or an often entertaining touchdown celebration. Some of the most notable players that have been fined are Hines Ward, Terrell “TO” Owens, and Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson, all who have been fined for things that has often left one scratching one’s head in utter confusion.
Let’s start with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward has been fined $15,000 within the past month for “unnecessary roughness” in games versus the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars. In the game against the Ravens, Ward was fined $5,000 for simply stepping over Ravens cornerback Corey Ivy and fined $10,000 for another move that one is very unsure of considering the fact I still do not know what Ward did wrong even after watching Youtube clips of the game. There also one more thing that makes things interesting: Hines Ward was not penalized at the time of play when the incidents happened. With that in mind, it’s really hard for me to understand why the NFL would fine someone for an incident that neither the officials nor the opposing team saw themselves. To many NFL fans, Hines Ward is known as the most physical wide receiver in the game who often baits defenders into one-on-one physical contests with the defender often losing the battle. The NFL apparently does not acknowledge this fact and has fined Ward for these hard hits or as I see, a lack there of. And from the looks of it, he’s not going to change his style of football anytime soon and doesn’t really care what the NFL has to say about it.
Another case of excessive fining are the touchdown celebrations. Now I am sure that the names Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson are drilled into the minds of sport fans everywhere so everyone should know what these two players do on the field besides putting defenders to shame at times. Owens and Johnson are both known for their exciting, if at times, over the top touchdown celebrations. Owens was fined last year for pretending to hold a video camera behind the goal post at a game last year versus the Miami Dolphins (he was poking fun at the New England Patriots after “Spygate” had happened). With Johnson, there’s so many touchdown celebrations to think of that he either got fined for or received a lot of harsh criticism from NFL executives who accuse him of being too extravagant and a showoff. Okay, now I know the reader is going both Owens and Johnson are way too extravagant and complete showoffs. I will not disagree with you on that but let me ask you one question: What wide receivers in the NFL aren’t? These are just a few of the traits that go into the persona of a wide receiver. In other words, we shouldn’t fine these players for showing off just a little bit after making a touchdown. Perhaps to stop the “excessive touchdown celebrations,” we should start fining the defenders who let these wide receivers blow right past them en route to scoring the touchdown. Maybe that way, we won’t have the touchdown celebrations that so many complain about.
Now as a hardcore football fan, I find it quite annoying when I hear players getting fined for hard hits and celebrating in the end zone when their team scores. NEWSFLASH! That’s what the NFL is about! The punishing, hard hits that make you jump out of your seat and cringe and the celebratory touchdowns made when our team scores that puts the team on top. However, the more and more the NFL enforces these fines that many fans find to be crazy and downright idiotic at times, the more the NFL appears to lose some of that toughness and that is someone I do not want to happen as a diehard fan. So as a plea to the commissioner for the NFL, I say this: let’s get back to the basics of football and let these guys play like who their suppose to play like: football players and nothing less.