The league’s first reaction to one of Sunday’s big hits was that the contact didn’t merit a fine. The league has since changed its mind.
Titans tailback Jackie Battle rammed Texans safety Danieal Manning with the crown of Battle’s helmet. The elements were there to constitute a violation of the new rule prohibiting the use of the crown of the helmet, but the league’s initial conclusion was that the contact didn’t occur clearly outside the tackle box.
On Monday, the league changed its mind.
That’s why Battle was fined $21,000. On appeal, however, Battle should argue that, if the league initially thought he wasn’t clearly outside the tackle box, then there’s no way he was clearly outside the tackle box.
A separate issue arises from the use of rules that the league office can’t instantly determine were, or weren’t, violated.
“I think it’s a problem for the officials when it takes the office a couple if days to decide if its a foul,” NBC’s Tony Dungy told PFT via email. “We need to make their jobs easier.”
When it comes to applying the crown of the helmet rule, the Battle fine makes their jobs harder. “Clearly outside” the tackle box doesn’t mean “clearly.”