When Seahawks receiver Golden Tate applied what John Madden would call a “decleater” to Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, plenty of football fans made sounds and noises that trace back to our Neanderthalian ancestors.
But the NFL now reacts to some of those plays by removing human-made currency from the pocket of the perpetrator.
In this specific case, the hit falls within the rule that makes a player who receives a “blindside” block a “defenseless player.”
As our pal Paulie Pabst, executive producer of The Dan Patrick Show, tweeted earlier today, an NFL spokesman has provided this explanation: “It was an illegal blindside block against a defenseless player. Page 67 of the rule book. Unnecessary contact against a defenseless player is prohibited. That includes ‘a player who receives a ‘blindside’ block when the blocker is moving toward or parallel to his own end line and approaches the opponent form behind or from the side.’”
This year, the NFL expanded the protection to include a player who not only is moving toward his own end zone (like Lee was) but also parallel to it. If — and only if — Lee had been moving toward the Seattle end zone at the time of the contact, he would not have been protected.
Many fans don’t like this rule, because it runs counter to the notion of keeping your head on a proverbial swivel. In this case, the video shows that Lee was at covering Tate as quarterback Russell Wilson scrambled right to left. Lee then peeled away from Tate as Wilson ran to the line of scrimmage. Tate, as it turned out, had run ahead of Lee in an effort to get open, pivoting back toward Lee and applying the blindside block as Lee was running toward Wilson.
In that situation, blocking the guy is permitted. But because Lee was regarded as “defenseless,” Tate was prohibited from hitting Lee in the helmet or neck, hitting Lee with Tate’s helmet, and/or launching into Lee. The video shows Tate going helmet-to-chin on Lee. If Tate had merely dropped a shoulder into Lee’s chest, there would have been no violation.
One last point. Am I the only one who thinks it’s inconsistent to gripe about rules like this and also to gripe about the way the Buccaneers handled the final play of Sunday’s game against the Giants?