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Kevin Greene: NFL can’t control accidents

49ers Packers Football AP

When Packers linebacker Nick Perry found out about his $15,750 fine for a hit on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, he said that he needs to be “more focused on making a play without the head.”

Watching the play that earned Perry the fine, it doesn’t seem like he does anything particularly wrong in that regard. Perry’s technique looks sound, but his helmet appears to ride up into Luck’s. That’s enough to earn him a flag and a fine, although his position coach thinks the NFL’s decision to levy that fine is misguided.

Kevin Greene was a pretty good pass rusher back in the day and feels bad for today’s pass rushers because he thinks they play in a league that punishes players for the wrong kinds of things. Hits like Perry’s are accidental in Greene’s mind and he doesn’t believe the NFL can erase them from the game.

“I think it’s unfortunate for today’s pass rusher because a lot of times we know the rules, but the game moves at such a high, energetic, physical tempo and a lot of these hits are totally accidental – not malicious,” Greene said, via Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “People are trying to control an accident. You cannot control an accident. You can control malicious (hits). I understand fining people for malicious (hits), but you can’t control accidents – hence the world accident. It’s like a car wreck. No one wants to be in a car wreck. I don’t know a lot of people who want to maliciously wreck the car. It’s an accident. They are trying to control an accident, which is an uncontrollable occurrence. They’re trying to control it with penalties and/or fines. It can’t be done. In my 15 years, I’m convinced you cannot control an accident.”

To continue Greene’s car wreck analogy, you can control against an accident by being so cautious that it takes you three hours to go 15 miles. An NFL defender could do the same thing, although he wouldn’t continue being an NFL defender for very long if he did decide to go that route. So they’ll keep playing fast and there are going to be hits like Perry’s in the future. Greene’s almost certainly right that there’s no way to legislate such plays out of the game as long as it moves at a high speed, but it’s just as certain that the NFL is going to continue to fine the players who dish them out.

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25 Responses to “Kevin Greene: NFL can’t control accidents”
  1. dylanssongwriter says: Oct 13, 2012 8:37 AM

    meh, perry wasn’t even touched on his to sacking luck….fact is he didn’t need to lead with his helmet nor did he need to come close to his head. yes, sometimes it’s hard to avoid, but that hit wasn’t one of them.

  2. emoney826 says: Oct 13, 2012 9:58 AM

    The league is becoming a joke. Just puts flags on their belts and make it flag football. Perry clearly didn’t intentionally hit Luck with his helmet. This type of hit occured all of the time before Goodell took over and was never an issue. It just looked violent because he really got him good. I miss hits like that. What’s he suppose to do? Come free unblocked and when he’s three feet away from Luck, stop, and walk at him and drag him down.

    I’m all for player safety but hits like this is what makes the NFL so great.

  3. mistakeonthelake says: Oct 13, 2012 9:59 AM

    To continue with the car accident analogy, if you get into a car accident, by accident (hence the word accident) and it is your fault you get a ticket, which is a fine, even if it was, as mentioned, an accident. It is called ‘failure to maintain control.’ I don’t agree with these new rules, but they are the rules. Just because you think the speed limit is too low, doesn’t mean you can speed.

  4. jefe17 says: Oct 13, 2012 10:04 AM

    dylanssongwriter,

    Your point would be valid if the point of a sack was just to take down the player behind the line of scrimmage.

    But it isn’t. You try to jar the ball loose. You’d much rather have a turnover than just a sack. They are game changers. Who cares if he used his helmet. He kept it below the shoulders and square in the chest. How’s that illegal? I thought at full speed it was an illegal hit. Which the flag was ok then. But when they slowed it down it looked clean and legal.

    The fine was confusing. The NFL is just throwin out fines left and right. Just didnt think this one was warranted.

    It’s true. Defensive players can’t hit guys hard, but they can get chop blocked to end their seasons and sometime careers. Seems very fair.

  5. beedubyatoo says: Oct 13, 2012 10:05 AM

    Attention: dylanssongwriter

    You guide dog and white cane are ready for pickup.

  6. santolonius says: Oct 13, 2012 10:09 AM

    if the defensive player was the only one moving and the offensive player was frozen in time and space… then and only then could refs and the league make these blanket assessments about the defender’s helmet. but it’s not like that. over and over when i see the slow-mo on tv, the offensive player’s last second micro-movements are what turned the defensive player’s helmet into a battering ram. but here comes the flag and the fine anyway.

  7. cidman2001 says: Oct 13, 2012 10:18 AM

    I’ve thought the same thing for quite some time. Hits like the one Perry made should draw a flag, but not a fine. 99% of the time you can tell by watching the replay whether the player was being aggressive or the helmet to helmet was incidental. 15 yards is a good strong warning to a player that they need to be more careful. A $15,000 fine for an accidental hit makes you want to not tackle and inhibits the game.

  8. phillyphannn83 says: Oct 13, 2012 10:32 AM

    The owners should ante up for some of the bogus fines. Legitimate ones n way, but these bogus ones absolutely.

  9. brashranter says: Oct 13, 2012 10:32 AM

    The guy is spot on. Even though this interpretation will ultimately boil down to subjectivity I think most any astute observer can ascertain whether the play was an accident or intentional. Will they always get it right? No, but this to me reeks of the NFL making a cash grab and extorting the players at ever turn. It’s always about the money, and the NFL has proven that the bottom line is the the bottom line with them. Always.

  10. mistakeonthelake says: Oct 13, 2012 10:48 AM

    As I understand it, the fines go to charity not the league. Thus, there is no financial incentive to fine the players. I agree that the fines are getting out of hand and the players union has failed the players in this regard, but the league is not doing this to profit.

  11. thehatefulnerd says: Oct 13, 2012 11:09 AM

    These rules have nothing to do with protecting players and EVERYTHING to do with benefiting the offense and creating higher scoring games.

    Goodell’s going for the NBA model. And he’s destroying the integrity of the game.

  12. truefootballinsight says: Oct 13, 2012 11:31 AM

    Once we start seeing UVA type games in the NFL, I’m going to quit, a lead means nothing if you can just send 5 receivers on go routes and score in 8 seconds. High scoring games are fun if they are being done against a good defense, and that means a good pass rush. Stop weighing down these guys with fines and suspensions because it’s just part of the game. Anyone who has played on the Dline will know that this kind of stuff happens from pop Warner to the pros. Pretty soon the nfl will eliminate tackles and start playing flag football. After that become “dangerous” when some players break their wrists from pulling flags, they just play 7-on-7 football.

    Fun stuff.

    The thing is tho, the NfL doesn’t care what we think. As long as they have the rating and the people watching they will do whatever they want as they stuff their pockets. The only way to stop the fines is to make it a public forum and let the nfl know that we will not watch the nfl until they stop changing the game so much. And then stop watching the nfl, which will never happen. Sure, protect the players, but keep the game the same.

    But like I said no one is going to stop watching the game. So roll nfl, roll.

    R.I.P. the nfl we knew and fell in love with

  13. wiley16350 says: Oct 13, 2012 11:34 AM

    These rules have nothing to do with protecting players and EVERYTHING to do with benefiting the offense and creating higher scoring games.

    Goodell’s going for the NBA model. And he’s destroying the integrity of the game.
    __________________________________
    What’s your evidence for that? Because the evidence is that these rules and enforcements came after the concussion lawsuits and not after Goodell became the commissioner. Therefore the most logical conclusion is that the NFL implemented these efforts to avoid future lawsuits and maybe help them in the current lawsuit.
    I agree that some of these fines and penalties seem to go to far but the blame doesn’t go onto Goodell. The blame should go onto the concussion lawsuit and the 1,000’s of former players that are suing the league. Many of whom are just out for money and taking advantage of a few players that actually had severe problems resulting from concussions or being forced to play with concussions.

  14. sultan420 says: Oct 13, 2012 11:51 AM

    The evidence is the avg scoring per season has gone up. How about four 5000 yard passers?? Duh

  15. illadelphiasphinest says: Oct 13, 2012 12:02 PM

    A member of the packers is upset with officiating?….. No…. That cant be true. They are all so good and professional up there in cheese land. Lol. Shut up already packers!!! Your team is hands down the biggest group of cry babies in the entire league!! Assume responibility, shut up, n play the game!!

  16. skinsfaninnebraska says: Oct 13, 2012 12:09 PM

    One of the biggest problems in the whole helmet-to-helmet mess is this: a tackler comes in waist-high to make a legal hit, but the ball carrier ducks his head at the last second, so now you have helmet contact. It’s a sequence that is as old as football but suddenly nowadays it draws a flag and a fine. That’s just plain wrong!

    (I know that wasnt the case on this hit to Luck’s chin. Just a general observation on how messed up the rules have become.)

  17. leafeaterx says: Oct 13, 2012 12:25 PM

    I agree with K. Greene on some of the hits that he’s describing. I get that the game is too fast to process intent by the refs 100% of the time, but with fines the league has the time, money, and manpower to decide fines based on intent.

    They should give the players tax write offs if their fines are going to charity as donations instead of the league getting them. Basically, the league is a middle-man that gets the whole benefit, odd in normal business, not in a totalitarian regime though… Lol

  18. wiley16350 says: Oct 13, 2012 12:49 PM

    I meant aggresiveness of CB’s in the above post.

  19. markbul says: Oct 13, 2012 12:59 PM

    I’ve been driving for 40 years, and I’ve never caused an accident. And I don’t drive at 15 mph. I just don’t do stupid things. I pay attention, and follow the rules of the road. And that includes when I’m constantly driving over the posted speed limit, just like everyone else. Rugby players don’t smash each other’s heads when they tackle – don’t tell me it’s impossible to avoid for football players.

  20. dylanssongwriter says: Oct 13, 2012 1:50 PM

    jefe17 says: Oct 13, 2012 10:04 AM

    dylanssongwriter,

    Your point would be valid if the point of a sack was just to take down the player behind the line of scrimmage.

    But it isn’t. You try to jar the ball loose. You’d much rather have a turnover than just a sack. They are game changers. Who cares if he used his helmet. He kept it below the shoulders and square in the chest. How’s that illegal? I thought at full speed it was an illegal hit. Which the flag was ok then. But when they slowed it down it looked clean and legal.

    The fine was confusing. The NFL is just throwin out fines left and right. Just didnt think this one was warranted.

    It’s true. Defensive players can’t hit guys hard, but they can get chop blocked to end their seasons and sometime careers. Seems very fair.
    —————————————————-

    all he had to do was put his head a little to the side. not that difficult considering he was untouched. adapt of get left behind. he led with his helmet…not that difficult to understand.

  21. dylanssongwriter says: Oct 13, 2012 1:51 PM

    beedubyatoo says: Oct 13, 2012 10:05 AM

    Attention: dylanssongwriter

    You guide dog and white cane are ready for pickup.
    —————————————————–

    your reading glasses are ready for you because evidently you don’t know the rules.

  22. Pacific NW Mark says: Oct 13, 2012 4:24 PM

    I just wish the application of these rules was a little less random.

    Perry’s hit on Luck seemed both more intentional and to catch more of the helmet than Golden Tate’s block on Sean Lee several weeks back, and Tate’s fine was $21,000 – $5,000 more.

    I guess a linebacker running free down the field is more defenseless than a quarterback in the pocket?

  23. csilojohnson says: Oct 13, 2012 4:40 PM

    I’ve been saying this from the jump. It has nothing to do with player safety, all about PR. Goodell will keep fining players to pay for this frivolous lawsuit players have brought. Bottom line is passing sells……in the short term. The problem is you take all the competitive nature out of the game. Which will drive serious fans away. The integrity of the game is lost piece by piece the more the rules favor one side of the ball. This league had quickly become a joke and it makes me sad. Now if only I had some hockey to watch instead!!!!

  24. djcoreylee says: Oct 13, 2012 4:58 PM

    Time for flag football ladies!

  25. axespray says: Oct 14, 2012 5:16 PM

    illadelphiasphinest says:
    Oct 13, 2012 12:02 PM
    “A member of the packers is upset with officiating?”
    —————————–
    Sam Shields and Nick Perry would have every right to be upset…

    WRs keep shoving Shields, refs throw a flag for “defensive PI” …

    Nick Perry gets a sack, flexes his muscles – penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct…
    Gets another “CLEAN” sack – penalty for “Roughing the Passer.”

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