Blog Entry

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:01 pm
Clark's collision with Dickson resulted in a $40,000 fine. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Tuesday there were reports that Ryan Clark and Ray Lewis could expect fines for their play in Sunday night's Ravens-Steelers game. Wednesday it became a reality; Clark was docked $40,000 and Lewis $20,000.

And not long after the fines were announced, Clark spoke frankly on the matter.

"Somebody else needs to step in ... not that I respected Roger [Goodell] before this ... but this is ridiculous," he said. "I'm not going to sit across from [the Commissioner] unless they handcuff me. which is probably the next step anyway."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette writes that Steelers head coach "was said to be furious when he learned about the fine from the league office today."

In a statement released by the team, Tomlin called the fine excessive.

"I am a proponent of player safety and the league's pursuit of improvement in this area," he said. "I, like the vast majority of people in this industry, witness daily the steep price that these young men pay to play this game on so many levels. Ryan has my full support if he chooses to appeal this in any way."

Judge for yourself:

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also supports Clark and thinks that NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith should get involved.

"It's unfortunate," he said."You never want to see one of your guys get hit, especially for that much money. I went back and watched it. If you slow down and watch it, it's about as picture-perfect of a tackle you can make. His head was down right across the chest and the back of his helmet maybe grazed the wide receivers bottom of the face mask. Someone needs to stand up and do something -- like De Smith. He is our player guy, stand up and do something for our players."

Reviewing Week 9

Fair point. Smith hasn't been seen since the lockout ended. Maybe that's why, when the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Mark Kaboly asked James Harrison Wednesday if De Smith should get involved his response was "Who's that?"

(We're pretty sure that was Harrison being sarcastic.)

But it's not just those in the Steelers organization that think Clark's punishment was exorbitant. Sports Illustrated's Peter King sent the following tweets Wednesday:

"Watched replay of Clark's hit on Dickson 20/25 times. Clark lowers head, aims for chest w/right shoulder. Clips Dickson facemask w/helmet. … This is not the kind of hit to generate a 40k fine. Clark DID hit helmet--but he clearly was aiming lower. Some fine? OK. 40? No way. … 'Fine Clark till he stops.; Stops what? Lowering his head and aiming for a guy's sternum? Bury a guy when he AIMS for head. Clark didn't."

As our colleague Will Brinson wrote earlier, the reason Clark is now out $40,000 wasn't the result of some blindfolded dart-throwing exercise down at league headquarters. It's because the NFL's fine schedule plainly states that the second offense for "Impermissible Use of the Helmet" will run you … $40,000.

The players are well aware of this. They're just apoplectic at the amount. Well, that and the arbitrary nature with with Goodell metes out punishments. Like, say, this.

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Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 1:10 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Come on Tomlin. He lead with his helmet. Even Steelers fans new a fine was coming to Ryan Clark. I watched the game and Ryan Clark clearly lead with his helmet to attention to hurt another player. The Steelers went out there and played that game for redemption and revenge and what best way to do it. Go out there and lead with your helmet. That is one reason why Ryan Clark was fined 40,000 dollars.

Lol, really?  If he lead with his helmet then why did he make contact with his shoulders in the sternum?
Of course, from the apparent definition of "leading with the helmet" that you are going by, Dickenson lead more with his helmet than Clark did. 

Since: Dec 20, 2007
Posted on: November 10, 2011 12:50 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Sorry dude, I don't know what video you're watching but it's definetly not this one.
I just watched it frame by frame (hit pause and then advance the slider on the time bar) and not only does ne not leave his feet, he makes contact with his shoulder pad to the recievers mid-section (knocking the ball loose) and the only helmet contact comes AFTER the impact when the WR's facemask comes down and makes contact withe the BACK of the defenders helmet.
Clark did not launch and did not initiate the helmet contact.
Seriously, go back and watch frame by frame from about :31 to about :36.
I'm a  Browns fan, I'd love to see these 2 teams play to a scorless tie (called after 3 qtrs. because neither side can field 11 healthy bodies) and I think the call is BS....

Since: Dec 26, 2010
Posted on: November 10, 2011 12:47 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Give the F N sissy commisioner what he wants then.........tell all the nfl defenses not to hit the reciever after the catch...matter of fact just stand there and let him score untouched.   See how the game goes then.  your defense would be that you need your paycheck as a whole If I were to tackle this receiver I could lose 40,000 dollars.  I'd rather keep my money than have some A O take my money because the receiver lowered his head as I tackled him.   pretty soon flag football people.  NATIONAL FLAG LEAGUE.  You know there are a bunch of rich people waiting on the side lines waiting to start a real mans football league,  not this whimpy stuff we have today.

Since: Jun 3, 2008
Posted on: November 10, 2011 12:44 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

shaslers, take off the band wagon Ravens idiot goggles.  Look at the tackle, Clark leads with his shoulder.  When dealing with momentum at any time, his helmet is pretty much always going to then contact a part of the oppenent after his shoulder hits him.  Why is pretty much every other person and/or football expert all contradicting what you just wrote?  And as for Clark leaving his feet, what is supposed to do there, the dude outweighs him by 40 pounds.  If he doesn't come with more force than the opponent, he will be the one who takes the most punishment on that collision.  If this hit is not going to be allowed in the NFL today, then just take off the helmets and let's play touch football.  He didn't make contact with Dickson's helmet first, he didn't target the head area, this is a good play for what he was trying to do, which was to dislodge the ball from the players possession.  End of story.    

Since: Nov 22, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 12:25 pm

Read the rules

Those who are defending Clark haven't read the rules. And that includes Tomlin who lies to us when he calls it picture perfect tackle. Look at the picture. Clark clearly leaves his feet, tucks his arms, and leads with his head into Dickson, who, by definition, is defenseless.

You can't quibble by claiming the helmet-to-helmet hit was incidental.  In fact, under the rules, it does not need to be present at all in order for the call.  Listen to the call by Walt Coleman on the field, which was Unnessary Roughness, Hit On A Defenseless Receiver.

There are a couple of definitions of the rule, but the rule in question is 12.2.8. Read it:

"It is an illegal launch if a player (1) leaves  both feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent, and (2) uses any part of his  helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/”hairline” parts) to initiate forcible contact against any part of his opponent’s body."

Did Clark launch? Clearly yes.  Did Clark initiate contact with his helmet? Clearly yes.  End Of Story.

For Tomlin to claim otherwise confuses the fans and apparently his own players about what constitutes a legal tackle.

Ryan only has himself to blame.  It's completely in his control to not launch himself like that.  There is no gray area about intent, or about how incidental the helmet contact was. Again, helmet contact is not even necessary. The fact that it was there in this case only makes the foul more clear under the second definition of this rule (12.2.9)

Chris Collinsworth doesn't help the situation by demonstrating his own ignorance when he immediately talks about helmet-to-helmet, which is moot in this case.  Author Ryan Wilson here also seems to not understand the rule.

Do we fans like the rule? That's certainly worth debating. But what can't be debated is what the rule states and the fact that Clark was guilty.  Memo to Tomlin: It was a textbook example of what this rule prohibits.

The implication for players is dont' launch.  Ray Lewis later in the game, in his hit on Ward, is an actual textbook tackle where he plants both feet, and wraps his arms. That probably saved him from getting a flag on the play. However, because the initial impact was to Wards' head, it should have been a penalty under the newly expanded (12.2.9) rule.  This rule should be questioned because players like Lewis, and James Harrison last year, who try to make textbook tackles, but end up with a headshot when the resceiver ducks, get nailed. It's a bad rule. The launching rule is a good one, and Clark, and Tomlin, need to learn it.

Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 12:14 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

This was no worse a hit than the hit/fine on Bernard Pollard against Jacksonville on Monday Night a few weeks back.

The Ravens LOST that game in part to some VERY bad calls, it is part of the game now; Even if everyone agrees this was BS.

The Commish needs to curtail this type of crap or the NFL is doomed to be a flag football league.

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:58 am

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

OK NFL,  you are really toeing the line on this one.  I realize that since the players are bigger stronger and faster than ever,  there is need for more player protection.  However this one was like a few others lately horrible.  He hit the man with his shoulder,  and yes there was a small amount of unavoidable helmet contact.  If this is a penalty and fine in todays NFL than this collision loving football fan might have to begin watching soccer.  Please Roger,  don't ruin the game of gladiators.

Since: Apr 27, 2008
Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:49 am

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Tomlin a cheat?  Wow, I guess people will just write anything for any reason.  Tomlin is one of the most highly respected and classiest coaches in the league.  Listen to what he says.  I've not heard him blame anyone for anything, including the refs, etc.  He accepts responsibility personally and for his team every time.  Clark was appropriately penalized.  A fine was a bit of a stretch to begin with but expected given the Commissioner's stance at this point in time.  Double the fine Lewis got?  That makes no sense at all.

Since: Apr 21, 2010
Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:23 am

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Wow what a comment! Tomlin and Bellacheat the same? And yourself became to words? You are not the sharpest guy!

Since: Aug 12, 2007
Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:06 am

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Just look at most of these comments and you can see that NFL is becoming a game for pussies.  There were good and bad calls on both sides, maybe a couple more benefitted the Ravens, but obviously if you give up a 92 yard TD drive, you deserve to lose.  I don't think I can watch any more NFL (aside from the Steelers because of my friends and the parties) or listen to any more whining.  I can see why so many other fans hate most Steelers fans, but you all have to realize that most fans in general are little bitches who would act the same way if their team won so much.

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