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Earl Thomas fined for controversial hit on Ryan Tannehill

Seattle Seahawks v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

The Seahawks, who picked up a win in September via one of the worst calls in recent NFL history, were upset that a potential game-clinching interception against the Dolphins was wiped out by a roughing the passer call on safety Earl Thomas.

It just looked wrong,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after the game.  “A very big call to make when the guy wasn’t intending to hit the quarterback or anything like that.”

The league office apparently disagrees with Seattle’s complaints.  Thomas has been fined $15,000 for the hit on Ryan Tannehill.

And it was the right call.  Quarterbacks are protected against forcible blows to the head, whether in or out of the pocket.  Thomas, who jumped to block the pass, hit Tannehill forcibly in the head as Thomas was landing.

It’s that simple.  Fans of the teams who draw such penalties may not like it, but the rules protect all quarterbacks, including Russell Wilson.

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52 Responses to “Earl Thomas fined for controversial hit on Ryan Tannehill”
  1. nflgridirongossip says: Nov 28, 2012 5:37 PM

    Seattle, meet Karma. Karma, Seattle.

  2. 8to80texansblog says: Nov 28, 2012 5:40 PM

    Doesn’t mind so much when it goes the other way does he…

  3. hutch119 says: Nov 28, 2012 5:46 PM

    I’m fine with making the game safer and all but this has gone to far. Shouldn’t have even been a flag and now to throw 15k on top of that. This is ludicrous.

  4. FinFan68 says: Nov 28, 2012 5:49 PM

    Why does every penalty seem to generate a fine? I agree with the penalty but not this fine. Fines should be reserved for intentional/egregious violations. If the NFL is really trying to adjust behavior by fining everybody, they should fine the teams as well. At that point the team (and likely teammates) will start policing themselves.

  5. thejohnsmith1122 says: Nov 28, 2012 5:50 PM

    Good comparison by bringing up Russell Wilson. I wish players and coaches would stop complaining about these roughing the passer or “illegal hits”. For some reason it’s OKAY when their players do it to another team but it’s ILLEGAL when their on the receiving end.

  6. doe22us says: Nov 28, 2012 5:51 PM

    Hey Pete, what is that you are saying, scream a little louder we cant hear you. Its funny how things are when calls/or blown calls dont go your way right Pete?

  7. sargentseahawk says: Nov 28, 2012 5:52 PM

    Try stopping in mid air, after running full speed! So you coach the players to run half speed at the QB? The game is getting soft and the rule sucks! Was he hurt? How did the rule protect him? It affected the game and I’ve seen more contact in basketball, baseball, and soccer. Maybe we put flags on the QB or red jerseys (no contact)? Or maybe we change the rule for more common sense application?

  8. hutch119 says: Nov 28, 2012 5:52 PM

    P.S. QBs should start pump faking and then running underneath the player who jumped if they are going to start calling this roughing the passer.

    At some point the player has to protect themselves.

  9. 93warchant says: Nov 28, 2012 5:52 PM

    zzzzzz. huh what your talking about the seachickens. here’s a interesting fact about the seabags.zzzzzz.

  10. raqaiw says: Nov 28, 2012 5:55 PM

    It’s that simple. Fans of the teams who draw such penalties may not like it, but the rules protect all quarterbacks, including Russell Wilson.
    ———————————
    BS. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. Mobile QBs like Roethlisberger,Vick,and Newton get crushed repeatedly with no flags. Roethlisberger’s nose got busted by a big forearm to the face from Ngata-no flag. Loved that his nose got busted,but hated the ambiguity of the way penalties are applied. London Fletcher sacked Brady and got flagged for making a textbook play in a close game last year. The knee-jerk penalties by the refs anytime someone gets tackled is one of my biggest gripes with the NFL.

  11. aaroncurryisbust says: Nov 28, 2012 5:56 PM

    It’s official, the NFL is now a joke.

  12. closisgood says: Nov 28, 2012 5:57 PM

    This NFL is becoming WAY too wussy.
    Geez, I’m only 27 and I already find myself saying back in the day…they really used to play football.

    By the time i have kids who are grown and watching football, they’ll be playing with flags, or touch sensors.

  13. miriam45 says: Nov 28, 2012 6:01 PM

    Pete Carroll ain’t laughing anymore as he trots off the field

  14. offthelows says: Nov 28, 2012 6:02 PM

    I think the complaint was more about the rule itself, not the call on the field. There’s some questionable protections for a QB scrambling out of the pocket that puts him at a unreasonable advantage. It didn’t happen in this play, but imagine a QB sees a defender flying towards him but away from his head, the QB could move his helmet towards the defender who at that point is helpless and draw a flag. The NFL believing its players are stars in ‘The Matrix’ has made watching more difficult to watch. That hit on MNF by Greg Hardy on Celek, not to the head, was another groan-worthy example of oh my god, the receiver was hit too hard, let’s throw a flag.

  15. bobhk says: Nov 28, 2012 6:03 PM

    Carroll and seahag fans were giddy when the call went for them in GB game

  16. rabbi187 says: Nov 28, 2012 6:07 PM

    Terrible fine to protect a terrible call from a ref. That being said, it’s hard to feel bad for Seattle after that GB game. On a side note, Roger Goodell is ruining the NFL. It’s not even football anymore…

  17. pftisterrible says: Nov 28, 2012 6:11 PM

    The speed that Earl Thomas displayed on that play was absolutely ridiculous.

    I’m not sure I would call that a “forcible blow.” He barely touched his helmet as he fell in to him. What is a defender supposed to do? Horrible fine likely handed down because Pete Carroll complained about the call after the game.

  18. beastmode5150 says: Nov 28, 2012 6:12 PM

    Those of you hating, go look at the “hit” and tell me that deserved even a flag, let alone a fine. Put flags on these guys, what a joke.

  19. seahawkfan4evr says: Nov 28, 2012 6:15 PM

    nflgridirongossip says:
    Nov 28, 2012 5:37 PM
    Seattle, meet Karma. Karma, Seattle.

    wow bro its ridiculous the things seattle fans have suffered through and yet you all just keep getting upset that their was a little justice early this year.

  20. sactown9er916 says: Nov 28, 2012 6:19 PM

    I haven’t seen the play but I think all these fines for penalties are definately getting out of hand but then again somebody has to pay for all that gas money for the buses in those Play 60 commercials.

  21. chipwade says: Nov 28, 2012 6:24 PM

    Don’t all fines go to charity? Which means these players can write them off on their taxes? Which charities do the fines go to?

  22. swaggyy says: Nov 28, 2012 6:30 PM

    And why does Seattle get the blame for the controversial catch? We as Seahawks fans and people of Seattle don’t make the calls. Blame the replacement ref. Jeez.

  23. dannyreneau says: Nov 28, 2012 6:44 PM

    bobhk says:
    Nov 28, 2012 6:03 PM
    Carroll and seahag fans were giddy when the call went for them in GB game

    ————————————————

    No we weren’t cause we knew we would have to put up with crappy commentary like this for the rest of the season. Seattle didn’t make the call, the refs did. We were just happy a call went in our favor for once, like every other fan of every other team would.

  24. ghjjf says: Nov 28, 2012 6:44 PM

    What is controversial about a defender who launched himself into the air, as if he was superman, into the quarterback’s head?

  25. mathomp3 says: Nov 28, 2012 6:53 PM

    You people really need to get over the Green Bay game…I am pretty sure the Packers have.

  26. bradjones1982 says: Nov 28, 2012 7:04 PM

    Let’s be real. He jumped to block the pass and ran into the qb. If this rates a fine then we need to remove helmets and put flags on. The only attitude change needed is to tell the defense to stop trying. Flag them when they make amazing plays that put people at risk unintentionally. The game is becoming worse than the NBA with refs controlling the outcome of the game regardless of your team.

  27. spfripp says: Nov 28, 2012 7:09 PM

    I don’t think he should have been fined but in a way I can’t blame the NFL for fining him. If they don’t than you’ll have fans saying see, it should not have been penalty. I also think even if they were to change the rule where it was left up to the officials discretion you are still going to have fans cry that a call should or shouldn’t have been made. It really is a no win situation but me personally I would prefer the officials make the call just to get away from these ticky tack calls.

    People need to also realize that bad calls are part of the game. Even with the help of replay there are bad calls.

  28. bigbadal21 says: Nov 28, 2012 7:25 PM

    swaggyy says:Nov 28, 2012 6:30 PM

    And why does Seattle get the blame for the controversial catch? We as Seahawks fans and people of Seattle don’t make the calls. Blame the replacement ref. Jeez.

    This coming from a Seahawk fan! You’re still complaining about your Superbowl loss.

  29. namaths5thofwhiskey says: Nov 28, 2012 7:44 PM

    Another 15k added to the pot the NFL will be handing over to the ex-players.

  30. theguywhotoldtimtebowtoshutthefup says: Nov 28, 2012 7:44 PM

    No different than Tito Santana’s Flying Forearm Smash back in the 80′s

  31. tfaulk says: Nov 28, 2012 7:45 PM

    “Those of you hating, go look at the “hit” and tell me that deserved even a flag, let alone a fine.”

    I see a guy run at top speed from 10 yards away, arrive too late to block the pass, but nonetheless he jumps (again at full speed) such that the bulk of his mass lands in the face/neck region of the quarterback who is defenseless because he is standing into the pass and who subsequently crumples to the ground.

    How is that not illegal?

  32. liddogg33 says: Nov 28, 2012 7:59 PM

    ahhhhh all the seattle hate just cracks me up.. ill tell all of you this… get your cracks in while you can because this seattle team is set to win tons of games in the comming years!!! just imagine pete and john going into drafts with the flexibility to pick the highest rated players on their draft board???? Just keep on hating because we in the emerald city are set up for some fun nfl seasons!!!

  33. judsonjr says: Nov 28, 2012 8:11 PM

    I will say that the roughing call & fine seems bogus on Thomas’ hit.

    The worst part is that the league seems to assign random criteria for when things are worthy of a fine or flag. You have Aaron Rodgers get his helmet ripped off, but that doesn’t get a flag or fine.

    You have Nick Perry fined/flagged when he didn’t hit the QB in the head, his facemask hit a shoulder. Supposedly it was a fine for launching info a defenseless player, however the QB had not started the process of passing the ball and thus isn’t a defenseless player under the rules of the NFL.

    But who cares, it’s just Goodell covering his rear for a lack of action on head trauma over the previous decade. This stuff happens all the time in the corporate world. Ignore a problem until you get sued or are under government investigation, and then quickly over correct so you can say “See, we care, look at everything we are doing to make the game safe”.

  34. savvybynature says: Nov 28, 2012 8:15 PM

    One of the worst calls in history?

    It was the wrong call, but I don’t know about that. How about giving a guy an 80 yard touchdown run when he was clearly down (3 separate body parts all touched the ground) after 8 yards?

    At least the Seahawks TD call was a tough call to make. I’ve seen the regular refs blow way easier calls of all manner since then, but the media just doesn’t make a big deal out of it because it’s not as good of a story as “NFL greed allows replacement refs to destroy the game.”

  35. tfaulk says: Nov 28, 2012 8:18 PM

    Seriously, can anyone provide a logical explanation for why this should be legal (other than — they used to do it)?

  36. Scott says: Nov 28, 2012 8:22 PM

    Tannehill was hit in the head. Right or wrong, that is what the rules are. Thomas knows the rules too. Did he mean to hit the qb in the head? I’m pretty certain the answer is no, but his intent doesn’t matter. Seattle fans, this was not a terrible call (like the one by the replacement ref). This was the correct call according to today’s NFL rules. Is it a stupid rule? Sure is, but it is what it is.

  37. hooterdawg says: Nov 28, 2012 8:51 PM

    YA gotta love these perennial loser Seahawk fans whining about every little call that doesn’t go their way. They applauded all those early season Golden Tate plays that resulted in blown calls and/or fines. But now they expect the refs to read minds for intention – instead of reading the rulebook themselves.

  38. westcoastbias12 says: Nov 28, 2012 9:05 PM

    Ok look it. As a Seahawk fan the call on the field is fine. I get that, it’s a bang bang play and Earl landed on Tannehill after the ball was out. It was frustrating but that happens.

    But to fine the guy shows that there is a major problem in the system. Earl came running full speed jumped up to block the pass as Tannehill threw it, turned his body to avoid contact and may not even contacted his head more than light touching.

    It’s frustrating to see. The fines should teach players or provide an example. That was hardly worthy of a fine.

    And on the Tate play, have fun continuing to play that up for years. Another bang bang play most officials would struggle to call, and still isn’t an absolute thing after watching 80 times, despite what ESPN talking heads immediately went too. If it was the other way around the story is viewed far differently. And of course the Kam PI call was terrible too.

    We’ve dealt with SB XL for years, the Packers lost one regular season game and you’d think the world was ending. /Endrant

    Anyways the point is if you actually showed the play on here Florio people might have an idea what the hit actually looked like. But whatever, you get page hits, and stupid people like me comment on it.

  39. beerbudsnbevo says: Nov 28, 2012 9:19 PM

    I understand the whole safety argument by the NFL, although I think it has really gone too far…

    But here is a different twist….

    Has the NFL found a way (using safety as an excuse) to tap into a reserve of money?

    Kinda like cell phone and seat belt laws…

    Using safety as an excuse to milk you of your money

  40. tiredofyoureferringtoateamaswe says: Nov 28, 2012 9:27 PM

    As a Packer’s fan, let me say this…It is not the Seahawks fans that caused the anger about the blown call on the “catch.” The problem was with Pete jumping around acting like they had just won the Super Bowl after the play. It was his interviews where he acted like a donkey. It was Tate’s interview where he acted like a bigger donkey. When asked if he pushed off he said twice, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” then proceeded to act like he was king poo of poo hill. That is what caused the anger against the Seahawks. If not for the poor sportsmanship shown afterword, the anger would have been only with the ref’s. To any Seahawk fan who doesn’t pretend that the play was called correctly and is caught in the crossfire, I do say “Sorry, I don’t blame you at all. Continue to support your team.” I think what some are saying here is that Pete and his players acted like they won the Super Bowl when a bad call went their way, now that the shoe is on the other foot they are all mad and are complaining.

  41. bradjones1982 says: Nov 28, 2012 9:56 PM

    All these calls on thomas, ed reed, and several others are terrible calls. Setting up defensive players to get hurt. We strap helmets on them for a reason. I dont see an outcry to take care of Marines and soldiers suffering worse and more concussions. We just compare the NFL to gladiators which is a joke. More people die crossing the street than due to nfl hits. Stop coddling these millionaires and let them play the game. I’m not suggesting we revert back to all the old school stuff but we’re setting the nfl up for qb’s flopping in order to change the outcome of games. As a fan thats not what I pay to watch. If these players are worried about their safety they can decide not to accept the millions and find another profession. Its a contact sport like mma and boxing. What should we pay them to fight without punching to the head. Last I checked living life came with risk. Play the game or just outlaw it.

  42. miamatt says: Nov 28, 2012 10:07 PM

    Dolphins fan here.

    I’d be the first in line to say that this type of hit is not malicious and in years past wouldn’t even have been noticed. Defensive players really have it tough out there.

    That being said, the call was 100% consistent with how the rules have been applied the past couple of seasons. Any hit to a quarterback’s head- no matter how minor- is going to get flagged. Not only that, a defensive player cannot leave his feet to hit the QB. Thomas was blatant on both counts, and we’ve seen lesser instances- such as a few fingers brushing a QB’s helmet- get called. This was a forearm to Tannehill’s head all the way to the ground. While Thomas could not change his momentum once in the air, the point is a player cannot jump through the quarterback to bat a pass.

    Also, to call it a “game clinching” interception is a bit much. There was 8:13 on the clock at the time. Not only that, Seattle returned the ensuing kickoff for a TD, puting them back up by 7. I’ll agree that a pick in the endzone would have been a major momentum shift, but Tannehill and Miami’s D on the last Seahawk drive decided this game- not the refs.

  43. sweetnlow44 says: Nov 28, 2012 10:45 PM

    hooterdawg, what team has fans that don’t complain about questionable/bad calls?

    Oh, none? Weird. Thanks for contributing anyway.

  44. thelastpieceofcheese says: Nov 28, 2012 11:08 PM

    The seachicks are nothing but whiners and losers. That’swhy this team has never won anything and never will.

  45. nofaceangler718 says: Nov 29, 2012 12:00 AM

    That kind of play shouldn’t be a penalty, let alone deserve a fine. Thomas went up in the air to try to deflect the pass and came down barely itting Tannehill as the qb contorted his body in a way that led to a bit of contact with his helmet. How can you give a guy a penalty for that. I am all for protecting the qb from real blows to the head but that wasnt one of them.

  46. hillc33 says: Nov 29, 2012 1:29 AM

    I got the frame by frame pics of Thomas not hitting the head of Tannehill if anyone wants them. He hits him right underneath the facemask in the throat area with his forearm. I dont think that constitutes a blow to the head for roughing the passer. He actually is trying to avoid Tannehill altogether.

  47. justcuz15 says: Nov 29, 2012 1:59 AM

    This was a teribble call. And stop b!tching about karma or whatever, we dint make that call, and seahawks fans still retain the right to complain the most about bad calls due to the childhood ruining super bowl XL.
    Thomas was making a play on the ball (thats what they pay him to do) so he was flying through the air, when he saw tanahill had thrown the ball he tried to twist away from the QB (pretty much all u can do when ur flying through the air) to avoid a BS call, but his arm still hit tanahill in the head, tanahill was fine, he got right back up with no problem.
    The call was bad enough, but then u add insult to injury by giving him this BS fine, sheesh.

  48. justcuz15 says: Nov 29, 2012 2:16 AM

    I dont know if Ive ever seen the nfl fanbase turn as quickly on a team as they have on the seahawks. What did the hawks do wrong, I mean wouldnt u be exieted if u saw play and u just knew that the refs made the wrong call and were just waiting for them to make ur loss official… And then out of nowhere…boom! u just picked up a win vs. one if the best teams in the league. I was jumping and screaming, i can only imagine how pete carrol felt .
    In one night the hawks went from lovable losers to despised cheaters who deserve whatever crap comes flying at them. Well hate away cuz with no sherman or browner, and thier defensive style being cramped, the seattle seahawks are not going to the playoffs this year. But watch out in 2013.

  49. chikiboy says: Nov 29, 2012 3:17 AM

    Packers fans, Steeler fans and Patriots fans all need ot get over themselves. Your teams have benefited from bad officiating for years, even to the point of winning Championships in some cases, yet should your teams be on the other end of a bad call it’s the biggest injustice in the history of the game.

    I recall quite a few calls and non-calls going Green Bay’s way in that Seattle game earlier this year that seem to go unmentioned but did lead to points on the scoreboard.

    Steelers fans only wanted to cry about almost losing in the ’95 playoffs to Peyton Manning and the Colts because of the bad call on Troy Polamalu’s would-be INT.

    And lastly the Pats fans cry about practically any call that goes against them even though their entire Superbowl dynasty was predicated on arguably the worst call in the history of the NFL Playoffs.

    Bad calls happen to EVERYONE and not just YOUR team. Get over it…everyone else does.

  50. hehateme2 says: Nov 29, 2012 8:00 AM

    I think some of you need to switch to decaf. That is all.

  51. monico1964 says: Nov 30, 2012 12:54 PM

    By rule, it was the correct call as it has been written. The fine is what I have issue with. While I fully understand the rule. I question it as a rule. The fine should only be issued out, only if there was intent. I miss old school “REAL” football.

  52. desertman1 says: Nov 30, 2012 2:06 PM

    I believe in protecting players, but this call was ridiculous. An open handed swipe when trying to block the pass. That ball was intercepted and that would have sealed the game for the Seahawks. The refs gave this game to Miami. Seahawks would have been 7-4 and now 6-5 and might not make playoffs. Thanks a lot Zebra boys.

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