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  • The System Works; Ed Reed Wins Appeal



    In an interesting turn of events, Ed Reed won his appeal of a one-game suspension for his helmet-to-helmet hits in recent times.

    This event is proof that the new system works. While Roger Goodell remains as the judge and jury for off the field matters as Bountygate was deemed to be, the process for on the field issues changed with the new CBA. Merton Hanks, the NFL rules enforcer, stated that Reed was to be suspended one game because of a three strikes policy that did not seem to be publicly known.

    The player has 72 hours to appeal punishment from Hanks and is promised a speedy answer. Reed got his within 24 hours after his appeal was heard by Ted Cottrell, a man who is jointly appointed by the league and the NFLPA. Reed will save more than $400,000 due to the ruling.

    Comments 11 Comments
    1. darvon's Avatar
      While Roger Goodell remains as the judge and jury for off the field matters as Bountygate was deemed to be, the process for on the field issues changed with the new CBA.

      I don't think this was new to the CBA. See below.

      N.F.L. Reduces Three Big Fines for Hits to the Head
      By JUDY BATTISTA

      Ted Cottrell, who oversees player appeals of fines, cut those for Atlanta’s Dunta Robinson, New England’s Brandon Meriweather and Pittsburgh’s James Harrison.
      December 31, 2010, Friday
      I think Ted Cottrell was in place in the last CBA. And so was Merton Hanks.



      ==============

      Also I think the system doesn't work, as we have no clue what the punishment is for the crime ahead of time, and what exactly is the crime. Although the video I saw towards the end of the season last year was actually pretty good.

      Even in Judicial matters, a high overturn rate doesn't mean the system works, but rather the opposite. It means that two different judges, with the same data, can't reach a consistant conclusion. That's not a good thing.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      After your post, I re-listened to the portion of Mike and Mike I listened to for the "change in the CBA" portion. I did know that Hanks has been in office for a while now. It seems that the only difference now is that Cottrell is now a co-appointed. Of course, I now don't have any reason to believe that that is the case, either.

      But, you did get to some more points that I feel your knowledge can help with. I am curious as to why you feel the system does not work. I think that it could be defined more, but I do not feel it is broken, plus on the field and off the field issues are completely separate. I want to discuss on-the-field issues.

      As I understand it, the system has a set of defined rules and the NFL says that players will/can be fined if they break them. There is no decision tree othat the league uses and I get that that could be annoying, but I do not think it shows a system that doesn't work. Now, what I am curious about is whether the NFL sets a limit on their fines at all. IF not, then that is something else to be argued.

      With conscious decisions such as uniform violations, I think the NFL is completely in the right. Now, where I think players can focus on and should focus on is the unconscious decision to make a tackle. Whether a conscious decision has been made is usually defined pretty well by the tape as it will show the amount of time before a hit and a the distance run before the hit and the angle the player took towards the ball carrier. The decision to make the tackle cannot be changed, a player would be out of a job. I think constant training has made it an unconscious decision as well that is part of the job description.

      Where do you think the arguments from the players should start? What role do you think conscious and unconscious decision should play? In a game that goes so fast on the field, how do you think a proper decision tree can be acheived?
    1. Ragar's Avatar
      Ultimately, the NFL should create a system of "Grades" for type of hits, say being 1 for out-of-control incidental's -such as when a reciever loweres his head and helps casue a HtH, up to say Grade 4 for egregious hits. Fines are then based off of percentage of salary, with suspensions only for Grade 4. From there you add in qualifiers for repeat offender, maybe each repeat of Grade is a x1.5 multiplier to teh fine amount, and add in additional severity for the repeats, such as two Grade 3 hits in a calendar year upgrades to the second hit to a Grade 4 and suspension, as an example. This way, when a fine is appealed for this type of action, what you are appealing is the severity of the crime, the fine amount should be set as it is in the uniform violations in the CBA.

      With this type of system, there is still punishment for the ridiculous stuff, and repeat offenders are more severely punished, however if you are on good behavior for a while, the system then become smore lenient on you over time (as the offenses are wiped off the books)

      edit: of course this would have to be part of the CBA - so there's no almsot chance of that happening mid-stream
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Ragar View Post
      Ultimately, the NFL should create a system of "Grades" for type of hits, say being 1 for out-of-control incidental's -such as when a reciever loweres his head and helps casue a HtH, up to say Grade 4 for egregious hits. Fines are then based off of percentage of salary, with suspensions only for Grade 4. From there you add in qualifiers for repeat offender, maybe each repeat of Grade is a x1.5 multiplier to teh fine amount, and add in additional severity for the repeats, such as two Grade 3 hits in a calendar year upgrades to the second hit to a Grade 4 and suspension, as an example. This way, when a fine is appealed for this type of action, what you are appealing is the severity of the crime, the fine amount should be set as it is in the uniform violations in the CBA.

      With this type of system, there is still punishment for the ridiculous stuff, and repeat offenders are more severely punished, however if you are on good behavior for a while, the system then become smore lenient on you over time (as the offenses are wiped off the books)

      edit: of course this would have to be part of the CBA - so there's no almsot chance of that happening mid-stream
      That seems pretty darn good. And fair. One thing should be clear. On the field, I don't think there is a way to stop calling the penalty for any helmet contact. It sucks for the teams that receive bad calls, but I do not think there is any other way. I think forcing judgment on the field is bad, so I support the league's initiative to have officials call anything HtH.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Your article was about "the system works" I took it to be about the NFL appellate system. I don't think this example is an example of it working. In the legal world, an appeal court is to reverse decisions when new facts are given which change the judgement, or when the lower court made an error in law.

      In the NFL On-field-player appeals, there is no more facts given. So assuming a "correct" ruling exists, When Judge A is overruled on appeal by Judge B with no new facts, then the only condition is that either Judge A is wrong, Judge B is wrong, or both. A maximum 50% completion rate for the judges ain't a working system. We are talking Tebow level accuracy here.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      I think Ragars grading system is fine, and I also think your comment about the refs just need to keep the illegal hit calls simple on the field is correct.

      BUT I have a significant difference from almost all of the opinions I have heard.

      Roy Anderson, Head of Football Operations for NFL, stated on that Mike and Mike show that "The fines don't work, we keep having these hits, so we needed to do something else."


      I agree with that, but the NFL's actions don't align with the statement.

      From Oct, 2010 to now, the NFL has used League based, excalating fines of the players. Per Roy, that isn't a successful deterrent. In the last 2 years, probably a few million dollars of illegal hit fines have been handed out to the players. Question: What penalties have been assessed to the teams? Answer: Zip.

      Think about it. The NFL has stated several times that defensive players have to learn how to hit differently to avoid concussions. And what is the name of the position which TEACHES and TRAINS the players. Coaches. Teams.

      So how about penalizing TEAMS for those illegal hits?


      Think about what the NFL did to Ed Reed, this time in their initial punishment.

      They fined him $500,000.
      They made his teammates play without him for 1 game.

      The first, while a huge jump from $25,000, is still a fine to the player. What incentive does Baltimore Management have to teach him to tackle differently (and maybe less effectively)? Zero. What incentive do they have to take time from game prep to reinforce safer tackling techniques? Zero. What incentive do they have to berate Ed Reed in the film room, when he uses a technique which produces more dropped balls and fumbles, but is more probable to get a League fine? Zero. What incentive do they have to give less playing time to players who continue to play in a way which has higher fumbles but more concussions? Zero. What incentive does a team have to change their roster to lower the number of players that use High Fumble/High Concussion techniques? Zero.


      So how about giving the discipline to the TEAM, not the player, because as Roy has said, player discipline through fines isn't working.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      One thing should be clear. On the field, I don't think there is a way to stop calling the penalty for any helmet contact. It sucks for the teams that receive bad calls, but I do not think there is any other way. I think forcing judgment on the field is bad, so I support the league's initiative to have officials call anything HtH.
      I agree with that with 1 exception.

      I strongly believe realtime wifi sensors in the helmet measuring G force is needed immediately.

      It will radically simplify the game and give some more controls during the game.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      While I appreciate what the NFL is trying to do with these fines, they really need to look at this whole system. If a defensive player intends to hit the offensive player in his chest and the offensive player lowers his body to put his head in harm's way, then there is no way the defensive player should be held responsible for a helmet-to-helmet hit. In addition, they need to look at some of the offensive blocking, especially the chop blocking. If the NFL is really concerned about player safety, they need to look out for the defensive players also.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      If a defensive player intends to hit the offensive player in his chest and the offensive player lowers his body to put his head in harm's way, then there is no way the defensive player should be held responsible for a helmet-to-helmet hit.
      That exact point was addressed by Roy on M&M. He was very frank and should be commended for it. He simply said the NFL will hold the defensive player responsible for H2H on a receiver (i.e. "defenseless player"). He realizes situations may occur where the defensive player doesn't have the time to modify his path, but that doesn't change the leagues mind. A truly honest answer.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by darvon View Post
      I agree with that with 1 exception.

      I strongly believe realtime wifi sensors in the helmet measuring G force is needed immediately.

      It will radically simplify the game and give some more controls during the game.
      I am going by what is feasible now. I would love for that addition to occur once research is conducted to the point of relative agreement in the community. I do wonder if we will find out in the future if differences in each person's biology will set a different baseline for each player.

      Heck, maybe this is happening and we don't know it yet. I sure hope so and am trying to get my hands on all the research articles I can on the subject. Understanding them is another subject.

      G force monitoring opens another line of dialog needed, I think.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Rich, it doesn't need that research. It can be done within 30 days.

      I know that I need to explain what I mean. I am gathering facts to do an article.