Ravens safety Bernard Pollard (also known in some circles as The Man Who Blew Up Tom Brady’s Knee) drew a flag Monday night for what appeared to be a legal hit. Pollard said Wednesday that he has yet to receive notice from the league office of a fine for the infraction. He also said he doesn’t expect to be fined.
“If you ask me to go do it again this Sunday, I’m doing the same thing,” Pollard told reporters, via MASN.com. “So they’re going to either keep flagging us, or they’re going to have to do something about this rule.”
The problem seems to be that the officials are instructed to err on the side of throwing the flag, when it comes to hits on defenseless players. So if the officials make an error, it’s more likely to be a flag that shouldn’t have been thrown.
“I think at the end of the day, the league is trying to protect players, but at the same time . . . this is a sport that’s violent,” Pollard said. “You can’t say, ‘Go get in a car crash, but be careful.’ You can’t do that. We know and understand that this is a car crash every single play. We know how to take care of our bodies as far as what’s a violent shot and what’s a necessary violent shot. So, football is football.”
Pollard is right. And whether the fix involves (as we’ve suggested in the past) the use of a safety official who can institute an automatic review of plays involving potentially illegal hits or a clarification of the rules and/or procedures, the league needs to do something to avoid the accidental award of 15 yards of field position, all in the name of protecting players from hits that didn’t violate the rules.