As we’ve previously mentioned, the NFL required every player on all 32 teams to watch a training video with examples of hits that are illegal and hits that are OK. Here’s a complete list of the nine hits shown in the video:
1. Panthers safety Sherrod Martin on Giants tight end Kevin Boss. Martin wasn’t penalized but was fined $5,000. Boss, who suffered a concussion on the play, said this week that he supports the NFL’s increased emphasis on player safety.
2. Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis on Browns tight end Evan Moore. Lewis was flagged and fined; Moore got a concussion.
3. Browns safety T.J. Ward on Bengals receiver Jordan Shipley. Ward got a penalty and a $15,000 fine, but he also got support from Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who praised Ward for “hitting him the way we teach him.”
4. Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson on Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson. Both players suffered concussions in the collision; Robinson was penalized and fined $50,000. Narrating the video, NFL Executive V.P. of Football Operations Ray Anderson says, “It’s bang-bang but still illegal. The receiver is defenseless and in the act of attempting to catch a pass.”
5. Steelers linebacker James Harrison on Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. The collision, which didn’t draw a penalty flag, concussed Massaquoi and brought Harrison a $75,000 fine, the largest fine in the league this season.
6. Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather on Ravens tight end Todd Heap. “This play is inexcusable. Severe discipline will result in these types of illegal hits,” Anderson said while narrating the video. Meriweather was flagged and fined $50,000.
7. Bears receiver and special teams player Earl Bennett on Seahawks punter Jon Ryan. “Now take a look at some positive plays,” Anderson says while Bennett’s hit is being shown. “These plays show hard, effective hits can be delivered within the rules. A punter pursuing on a kick play is a defenseless player under the rule. The Chicago player avoids an illegal hit by going shoulder-to-chest, yet delivers a solid blow that takes the punter out of the play. Nice adjustment made here to play within the rules and avoid blowing an opponent up.” It probably comes as news to Ryan that Bennett avoided blowing him up, considering that Bennett’s block sent Ryan flying and left him lying on the field for several minutes with a rib injury.
8. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis on Jets tight end Dustin Keller. “A great player making a great play,” Anderson said. “No launching, no neck or head impact, clean football, proper technique that minimizes the risk to the opponent.”
9. Chiefs safety Jarrad Page on Giants receiver Steve Smith. This play, from 2009, is a textbook example of the officials failing to properly apply the rules: It drew a 15-yard penalty on Page for unnecessary roughness even though Anderson now calls it “An effective result, accomplished within the rules.” Page said last year that the NFL sent him a letter apologizing for the penalty, but Page added, “It doesn’t do us any good now.” Smith wasn’t hurt on the play.
So there you have it: Nine collisions, six dirty and three clean according to the NFL. Four of the six dirty hits drew penalty flags, as did one of the three clean hits. We’re sure all 18 players involved in the hits were the stars of their respective teams’ meeting rooms this week.