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Fines for on-field misconduct totaled $2.9 million in 2010


One of the major stories of this preseason has been the same as one of the major stories of the last regular season: The NFL is cracking down on illegal hits, and fining players who break the rules. But while fines make the headlines every week of the season, the total amount of the fines — and where the money goes — isn’t as well understood.

So we asked some questions to some NFL sources, who told PFT that in 2010, the net contribution to charity from on-field fines was $2.9 million. On average, that means the typical NFL game results in about $10,000 in fines.

When a player is fined for on-field misconduct, that money goes to charities and programs for retired players. Money is distributed by NFL Charities to the NFL Player Care Foundation and the NFLPAโ€™s Players Assistance Trust, as well as the Brian Piccolo Memorial Fund and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Care Center.

On average, fine money has been about $3 million a year for the last four years. So while it may have seemed like 2010 featured more fines than ever before, that’s not the case. What was really different last year is the attention that was paid to a few hefty fines, especially the $75,000 fine leveled at James Harrison for a hit on Mohamed Massaquoi.

We started digging into the total dollar amounts of on-field fines after seeing a report from the San Diego Union-Tribune saying fines in 2010 totaled $2.12 million. That figure is incorrect, a league source tells us.

Also incorrect is the Union-Tribune‘s report that fines increased nearly tenfold since 2001, when players were fined a total of $265,000. In reality, the source says, on-field fines in 2001 netted slightly less than $2 million. Considering that player compensation and the salary cap have nearly doubled in the last decade, player fines actually represent a smaller percentage of player pay now than 10 years ago.

It’s not clear how the Union-Tribune compiled its numbers, but they match the numbers available at, which has a list of hundreds of NFL fines from the last decade. The Union-Tribune appears to have taken the numbers without noticing that the site never claims that its numbers are comprehensive. We contacted the Union-Tribune to inquire about their numbers and did not get a reply.

In any event, the $2.9 million in fines from 2010 represents a significant donation to some worthy charities. Which probably doesn’t cheer up James Harrison.

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18 Responses to “Fines for on-field misconduct totaled $2.9 million in 2010”
  1. drgfri says: Aug 30, 2011 3:23 PM

    Yet no fines for a Steelers QB who rapes a Georgia coed and gets away with it? Hipocracy!

  2. homelanddefense says: Aug 30, 2011 3:40 PM

    at least the $ goes to chairty

  3. suhnum1fan says: Aug 30, 2011 3:40 PM

    I know James Harrison would love to lay a good hit on Roger Goodell ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. footballpoetry says: Aug 30, 2011 3:43 PM

    Maybe all of that 2.9 million could go towards retired player benefits. They’re the ones taking the ‘illegal’ and ‘violent’ hits.

  5. medtxpack says: Aug 30, 2011 3:46 PM

    Goodell is pissed they didnt reach 3 mil….

  6. randolph32 says: Aug 30, 2011 3:51 PM

    I’m a certified 403 organization, donations accepted….

  7. bengalsown says: Aug 30, 2011 3:53 PM

    Do players get to deduct their fines, since they are basically donations to charities?

  8. clear2me says: Aug 30, 2011 3:55 PM

    It’s too bad Suh and Harrison don’t play opposite each other. If they played few times a year on the same field, that would really increase the “donations.”

  9. pattyarbuccholz says: Aug 30, 2011 3:59 PM

    Without James Harrison, the total would be around $500K.

  10. Broncofanatic7 says: Aug 30, 2011 4:47 PM

    So if it goes to Charity does that mean that Harrison had a big tax write off last year??

  11. rajbais says: Aug 30, 2011 4:48 PM

    Note to Commish: Chill out, dude!!!

  12. Broncofanatic7 says: Aug 30, 2011 4:51 PM

    That picture of Harrison hitting that receiver was a huge fine and flagged as an illegal hit.
    The next day that picture was up on for sale as a picture or poster.
    Double standards??
    My how Goodell must love Harrison.

  13. hartjk says: Aug 30, 2011 4:55 PM

    Yet no fines for a Steelers QB who rapes a Georgia coed and gets away with it? Hipocracy!


    You know players don’t get game checks if they’re suspended right? So he forfeited several million dollars for his 4 game suspension. I’m not some steelers’ homer or anything, but i think the word “hypocrisy” would better describe how Ben was simply accused of a crime and got suspended whereas other guys are actually charged and enter a plea deal and get nothing.

  14. quiettexan says: Aug 30, 2011 5:17 PM

    someone seems to be callin the tribune out.

    hard to believe the nfl got 2 mil in fines in ’01…but okay.

  15. Deb says: Aug 30, 2011 6:06 PM

    โ€œFines for on-field misconduct totaled $2.9 million in 2010โ€

    Ummm …

    “Fines for misconduct and minutia totaled $2.9 million in 2010”

    There … fixed it for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. dumbaseinstien says: Aug 30, 2011 6:29 PM

    By worthwhile, you mean the 10% paid toward actual benefits of the charities, not the 90% paid to the entities driving Mazeratis who milk the “charities”…right???

  17. nesuperfan says: Aug 30, 2011 6:56 PM

    homelanddefense says:Aug 30, 2011 3:40 PM

    at least the $ goes to Charity

    What do you want to bet there is a “Roger Goodell Retirement Charity Fund” out there? It does not have that name, but we know where the money really goes. Either that, or Charity is a stripper.

  18. nesuperfan says: Aug 30, 2011 6:57 PM

    BTW, I became suspicious when Goodell asked for the fines to be paid in singles. ๐Ÿ™‚

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