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Ray Rice fined for a stiff arm

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

I’ve always been a fan of the stiff arm, so it’s with a measure of disappointment that I pass along word from Ravens running back Ray Rice that the NFL fined him for a stiff arm this season.

Rice told 105.7 The Fan that he was fined $7,500 for a stiff arm against the Rams. Video of the play is here, and although it was actually Rams cornerback Bradley Fletcher who was called for a facemasking penalty on the play, Rice also grabbed Fletcher’s facemask, and that’s why Rice was fined.

Fining an offensive player for grabbing a defensive player’s facemask during a stiff arm isn’t unprecedented: Devin Hester, Joe Webb and Kevin Ogletree are among the players who have previously been fined for the same infraction.

But Rice’s fine is a reminder of one of the ways the game has changed. One of my favorite NFL Films features is this celebration of the stiff arm, which includes dozens of images of running backs sticking their hands in the faces of their opponents.

“The game has changed, but the stiff arm remains what it’s always been: A tough and trusty tool,” narrator Steve Sabol says.

But it’s not just a tough and trusty tool anymore. Now it can also be a penalty.

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48 Responses to “Ray Rice fined for a stiff arm”
  1. hineswardcriesafterfumbling says: Oct 14, 2011 11:31 AM

    It’s only a penalty if you grab the facemask, which isn’t new.

  2. ravensfan4life52 says: Oct 14, 2011 11:31 AM

    this is dumb. Goodell did a good job during the lockout but he’s getting out of control with these fines.

  3. gcsuk says: Oct 14, 2011 11:33 AM

    Wow. Ridiculous. Hope the NFL is planning on doing good things with the new cash cow of player fines. They are going to get more from that than the television rights.

  4. ravensfreak00 says: Oct 14, 2011 11:33 AM

    The fines this year are out of control. This is getting ridiculous. You can’t play a football game without getting fined for something.

  5. jjacks1122 says: Oct 14, 2011 11:34 AM

    pretty soon offensive players will be fined for blocking “defenseless” defensive players…

  6. sundog05 says: Oct 14, 2011 11:36 AM

    Rubbish! If the NFL keeps this up, they can stick it. What happened to 14-7 games? Those defensive gems that REAL football fans loved? The game is changing….in a bad way.

  7. getyourownname says: Oct 14, 2011 11:36 AM

    Next, NFL fines the Heisman Committee for that objectionable stiff arm pose.

  8. rushmatic says: Oct 14, 2011 11:37 AM

    Wow.

    That comes with a rather LARGE measure of disappointment to me.

  9. profootballwalk says: Oct 14, 2011 11:39 AM

    Grabbing a face mask is not part of a stiff arm. A classic stiff arm is an open palm with the heel of the hand used like a punch. Why should you be surprised when an offensive player is called for facemasking? Any time you grab the facemask, it should be a penalty.

  10. FinFan68 says: Oct 14, 2011 11:39 AM

    he got fined for the facemask, not the stiff-arm

  11. ducksouped says: Oct 14, 2011 11:40 AM

    This is embarrassing…goodell can sit on it and rotate

  12. kbrebner says: Oct 14, 2011 11:41 AM

    ‘“The game has changed, but the stiff arm remains what it’s always been: A tough and trusty tool,” narrator Steve Sabol says.

    But it’s not just a tough and trusty tool anymore. Now it can also be a penalty.’

    yea… the video mentions the penalty aspect of it too..

  13. cannonballdookie says: Oct 14, 2011 11:42 AM

    I’ve always thought it’s kind of unfair that offensive players are allowed to face mask when they stiff arm yet nothing is ever done about it.

  14. orakpownd says: Oct 14, 2011 11:42 AM

    How about not fine the stiff arm or the facemask…lets call it a 5-15 yard penalty and call it a day.

  15. kiopta1 says: Oct 14, 2011 11:43 AM

    Man the NFL is becoming like a major bank. BofA anyone?

  16. das14 says: Oct 14, 2011 11:47 AM

    I think football is going to suffer from all these fines. Generations to come will not want to play in a game that does this sort of things to its players.

  17. ou812ahole says: Oct 14, 2011 11:48 AM

    Exactly… You can stiff arm to the facemask, but you cannot “grab” the facemask. Which is obviously what the league thought happened.

  18. cmich2006 says: Oct 14, 2011 11:51 AM

    Never understood why only runners are allowed to jam their hands into the face mask of other players…any other player(offense and defense) does it and it is an illegal hands to the face penalty.

  19. jimbobobjr says: Oct 14, 2011 11:53 AM

    …and crybaby Harbaugh threw a tantrum.

  20. supashug says: Oct 14, 2011 11:53 AM

    I dont think get fined for a facemasks. That would be like very other penalty

  21. Stupid Raiders Fan says: Oct 14, 2011 12:01 PM

    He should have been fined for shaking #20 out of his shoes.

    That had to be illegal.

  22. dayumyou says: Oct 14, 2011 12:01 PM

    and here we go again…..none of you cried or cared when Harrison was fined…….we warned you all it was a slippery slope…..welcome to our world!!!!

    GO STEELERS!!!

  23. peopletrains says: Oct 14, 2011 12:02 PM

    So he gets fined after the game because the refs missed the call during the game? Hey NFL, ever hear of a statute of limitations?

  24. rando74 says: Oct 14, 2011 12:04 PM

    What a joke. And Goodell is the punchline. Just give them all flags and be done with it. Im going to go watch some hockey.

  25. horatio69 says: Oct 14, 2011 12:05 PM

    Next step in Goodell’s Evil Plan to Instigate an 18-Game Season: fines for tackling.

  26. wannabeqb says: Oct 14, 2011 12:06 PM

    I have no problem with this. Grabbing another player by the facemask, no matter what the situation, should be a penalty.

  27. canadianvikingfaniii says: Oct 14, 2011 12:06 PM

    I am surprised Adrian Peterson hasn’t been fined for his stiff arms. He doesn’t grab the face mask, but it has to be illegal to have the power he has when using the stiff arm. He throws defenders, remember 2009 opener against the Browns, and then this year against the Lions he did the same thing.

  28. dasmol says: Oct 14, 2011 12:07 PM

    LT

    The stiff arm king.

  29. 4gone says: Oct 14, 2011 12:11 PM

    A Facemask should be a penalty, not a fine.

  30. hineswardcriesafterfumbling says: Oct 14, 2011 12:14 PM

    The facemask is a penalty, but it shouldn’t be fined. I don’t understand fining players for every penalty they commit. Helmet to helmet, eh, it’s sort of a slippery slope, but a facemask? Will the league eventually fine guys for delay of games or false starts?

  31. thegonz13 says: Oct 14, 2011 12:21 PM

    This just in… Roger Goodell has announced that any player who runs on the field during pregame introductions will be fined $10,000.

    Film at 11!

  32. 52crabcakes says: Oct 14, 2011 12:24 PM

    I just want my old football back. Is that too much to ask?

  33. weneedlinemen42 says: Oct 14, 2011 12:26 PM

    I may be going out on a line here, but it is perfectly possible to stiff arm someone without grabbing on the face mask.

    Now, from that replay, it looks as though Rice got jobbed. The defenders appears to move back because the stiff arm gains leverage on the bottom of the face mask. Still, there is nothing in this fine that marks the end of the stiff arm. It’s just one bad decision by the NFL.

    I’ve got no problem with offensive players who grab onto a face mask being penalised. During the Redskins-Cowboys game, Witten got knocked down by McIntosh. Witten just grabbed on to McIntosh’s facemask and dragged the linebacker down with him. No penalty. Had a defensive player done the same thing, it would have been flagged.

    I am all for protecting “helpless” receivers and QBs from deliberate head-shots but defenders deserve protection as well. Blockers shouldn’t be allowed to aim for a defender’s knees and ball carriers shouldn’t be allowed to cling onto their tackler’s facemask.

  34. steelerfanjo says: Oct 14, 2011 12:48 PM

    Wait,… A Raven was fined? Goodells favorite team and he allowed a fine? Must be a mistake. Ray Lewis will not have a team-mate fined!

  35. threedeep1998 says: Oct 14, 2011 12:51 PM

    Funniest thing about the Joe Webb stiff arm play. Webb jukes the hell out of a Philly defender and causes him to break his ankle.

  36. anxovies says: Oct 14, 2011 12:57 PM

    Why not just put them out there with no pads and stuff a flag in the runner’s back pocket. This is where it is heading. If I want to see a contact sport I watch baseball. Those runner-catcher collisions at home plate are a lot more fun to watch than NFL penalties for playing too rough on the playground.

  37. whoisgonnasing says: Oct 14, 2011 1:13 PM

    Keep it up, Roger. Soon, none of us will recognize this game…

  38. 7thlombardiontheway says: Oct 14, 2011 1:25 PM

    More proof that the Steelers are superior. Wow…

  39. nflfollower says: Oct 14, 2011 1:38 PM

    It’s about time they fine an offensive player. Also, it should be a 15 yd personal foul anytime a RB touches a defender’s facemask—Just like it is if the defense touches the ballcarrier’s facemask.

    I’m sick of the double standards favoring the offense. Don’t even get me started on illegal contact. If a WR touches a DB past 5 yards, it should be automatic illegal contact on the offense. That’ll never happen.

    signed,
    one of the few fans who still enjoys defense

  40. ampatsisahypocrite says: Oct 14, 2011 1:40 PM

    Hey tyler, where are you to tell us that since the Texans will be missing both Johnson and Williams, and with Schaub hurt badly, any Ravens win will be considered garbage? Oh wait, I forgot, you only talk about injuries when OTHER teams get the benefit of them.

  41. ninjapleazee says: Oct 14, 2011 2:29 PM

    so where do all these FINE money go to? NFL is cashing in big for every little thing.. like sock violations….

  42. Deb says: Oct 14, 2011 2:33 PM

    Offensive players are allowed to push against the defender’s facemask when stiff-arming–they just can’t grab the facemask. Unfortunately, the shot wasn’t close enough to tell one way or the other. To me, it looked as though Rice was just pushing against the facemask–and it must have looked that way to officials on the field, too, or they’d have thrown the flag.

    But if we couldn’t see clearly that he grabbed the facemask rather than just pushing it, how could Goodell see it well enough to issue a fine? And is this the new norm now? Are players going to be fined as well as flagged for every infraction? This has gotten out of control. Goodell is a nightmare.

  43. chocolatebaconbutter says: Oct 14, 2011 2:56 PM

    “Ray Rice fined for a stiff arm”

    Was it a stiff third arm? OWWWWWWWW!!!

  44. jeepin08 says: Oct 14, 2011 3:07 PM

    Goodell is saying, if you don’t like the sport, then take up golf. Now, I will say this. I would rather watch paint dry than to watch golf. When I have insomnia, I watch golf and fall right to sleep. At least I am not hearing golfer’s getting fined everytime they putt the ball.
    As I have said many times, sooner than later, Goodell will run this sport into the ground and all fans will find something else to do on Sundays.
    Then, and only then will he relize this game is for the fans and not his greedy charities.

  45. dikshuttle says: Oct 14, 2011 3:12 PM

    I really don’t have a problem with the fine, necessarily. If the defender can’t grab the facemask, why should the runner be able to?

    It’s not a fine against the stiff-arm, it’s a fine against the placement.

    That said, a 7.5k tax deduction to put some fear into an opposing safety? Might be worth it.

    Now – you want to discuss the definition of what a catch is, I’m with you there.

  46. pigskinswag says: Oct 14, 2011 4:04 PM

    I thought that it was obvious that if you grab or touch the facemask of another player you’re going to get penalized or fined. You would have thought that it would have been incredibly obvious a few years back when they got rid of the “incidental facemask” penalty of five yards and made every facemask a fifteen yard personal foul call. Guess it wasn’t obvious enough.

  47. zippy33 says: Oct 14, 2011 6:35 PM

    @jimbdayumyou says:
    @jimbobobjr says:
    @dayumyou says:
    @steelerfanjo says
    @7thlombardiontheway says:
    No one really hates the Steelers organization, just some of the dumd ass “fans”. Get a life.
    Sorry Deb, not you, just the classless who can’t see past the game.

  48. bebopa says: Oct 15, 2011 8:02 PM

    this is going too far, no way Rice should be fined. Nit picking at its best.

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