The news that the appeal process resulted in the scuttling of the $21,000 fine imposed on Saints safety Rafael Bush for his postseason hit on Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin has prompted some Saints fans to assume (reasonably) no penalty should have been called on the play.
Which, if accurate, means the Seahawks on the opening drive of the game would have been facing fourth and 11 from the Saints’ 41.
But that’s not necessarily the case. As a source with knowledge of the appeal process explained it to PFT, fines apply only for egregious violations. A violation can still happen, but without rising to the level of something for which the player should be fined.
In this specific case, Bush didn’t apply a classic helmet-to-helmet hit on Harvin, at a time when he was a defenseless receiver. Bush led with his shoulder.
Still, in real time, it appeared that the blow was delivered to Harvin’s head/neck area. On appeal, the determination was made that, while there may have been incidental contact with the head/neck area, the blow was not forcible to the head/neck area.
So while a violation justifying a penalty may have occurred, it wasn’t enough to result in a fine that was upheld on appeal. Which means the overturning of the fine doesn’t necessarily mean the flag shouldn’t have been thrown.