Ray Rice fined for a stiff arm

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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.

48 responses to “Ray Rice fined for a stiff arm

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

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. ‘“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..

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!!!

  11. 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?

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

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

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. @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.

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