NFL fines Golden Tate $21,000 for block on Sean Lee

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When Seahawks receiver Golden Tate jacked up Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee with a brutal block on Sunday, he wasn’t flagged. But the league office has decided that was an oversight by the replacement officials.

The NFL fined Tate $21,000 for the block, according to Tim MacMahon of The league office says the block was illegal because Tate launched himself into Lee, striking him in the chest and chin with the crown of his helmet. Tate said after the game that he didn’t think — but didn’t know for sure — that the block was illegal.

“I knew that I didn’t hit him in his helmet,” Tate said. “I hit him somewhere down here [at chest level]. But the rules change so much that you never really know.”

It’s hard to blame Tate for not knowing the hit was illegal, considering the officials obviously didn’t know either. But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be glad Tate was fined, as Jones called for the fine after the game.

For his part, Lee has said he thinks hits like Tate’s are part of football. But he also seemed to be annoyed by the way Tate got up and started celebrating afterward.

“Crackback hits, that’s not a definition of toughness,” Lee said. “A definition of toughness is hitting, squaring up, being able to do your job as hard as you can every single play. That’s at least what I believe. Anybody can crackback block.”

And anybody who crackback blocks the way Tate did is going to get fined.

116 responses to “NFL fines Golden Tate $21,000 for block on Sean Lee

  1. that wasnt a illegal block, wooow the nfl is getting too soft, gotta keep yr head on a swivel as they say!!!

  2. It was a brutal hit, he led with the crown of his helmet, and he delivered a devastating and unnecessary blow to Sean Lee’s head. The fines for these guys are laughable. Suspend him for a game and dock him a game check. You’d dramatically reduce those types of hits.

    Also, Ray Edwards should have IMMEDIATELY been ejected for his theatrics on Monday night. Throw him out of the game and if he doesn’t like it and still wants to act like an uncaged zoo animal, have the Atlanta PD remove him from the field.

    These replacement refs, as bad as they’ve been, could take a lot of heat off themselves, albeit briefly, if they just started tossing guys. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you see an overcorrection coming on Sunday and see someone get tossed by about 1:10 p.m. ET.

  3. Lee was the only defender near the ball carrier. It’s a complete JOKE that he can be classified as a ‘defenseless player’. He should be fully expecting that as the man closest to the ball carrier and the one that can make a play, there are 10 other guys coming to block him.

    That should be the EXPECTATION. Now the penalty is on Tate, because LEE took it upon himself to NOT pay attention?

    Complete and utter nonsense.

    Why should defenders even pay attention to blockers anymore? They should just get hit and flop like Soccer players faking hits and injuries if this is the outcome.

    Not to mention the fact that tate hit him in the CHEST, and the only reason their helmets touch is because Lee isn’t paying attention so when he gets blocked (as he should be expecting too) his body flops around like a rubber chicken.

    Sure hope Lee mans up and sents Golden a check for 10.5k at least to make up for the fact that he wasn’t paying any attention.

  4. The only reason his chin was anywhere near Tate’s helmet is becasue of his whip lash from getting JACKED UP!!! The crown of Tate’s helmet was in Lee’s left shoulder. Such a joke that he was fined. Lee was trying to take Wilson’s head off and got jacked up in the process. Just goes to show how much pull Jerry Jones has.

  5. Sean Lee took the hit like a champ,and would have been an awesome block if he led with his shoulder not the crown of helmet,the rule is really not that hard to understand!

  6. Its just an opportunity for a guy who gets hit to deliver the hit back. Cant blame him. I didnt see the full replay but i agree with those fines if they have nothing to do with the play. If he was still in striking distance of the ball then game on.

  7. I don’t know how Tate didn’t get flagged for that. He clearly bent his knees and then launched himself, helmet first, towards Lee’s head. Similar to a defensive player launching into a defensless receiver.

    Luckily, Lee got up and was ok.

  8. Loved the hit couldn’t care less if he’d been fined or flagged game was over anyways I’d rather have Tate do that to people than har it don’t to him. As far as this linebacker goes I’m sure he’d do the same thing to an olineman or any receiver/qb when there was a turnover so whatever

  9. So a player can only be blocked if he sees it coming??? God this league is going to hell. Thanks Roger. In 10 years we will be watching NFL films longing for the good old days of the NFL. This is pathetic

  10. He launched? Go back and stop the video at the point of contact. Both feet on the ground. And he led with his shoulder to the chest. His helmet MAY have grazed the bottom of the facemask, but that certainly doesn’t deserve a fine. Ridiculous.

    Anybody that hits a Cowboy that hard and clean is OK by me.

  11. Pandering to the Cryboy masses. Tate hit the bigger man hard, fair, and beautifully. Lee isn’t whining about it, so why is Jones?

    This commissioner doesn’t have a freaking clue about what constitutes football and what’s over the line. He just levies fines based on who whines the most.

  12. Anybody whos ever played the game before knows that was NOT an illegal block. And anyone whos ever played WR knows that crackbacks are a way to get back at guys who not only out weigh us by 50 pounds, but lick their chops when we come across the middle. Totally different game then when I grew up playing (not long ago).

  13. I thought the block was clean. Delivered with the shoulder not the helmet. This is certainly not your Daddy’s NFL…..

  14. Lee learn waht a crackback block is, that was not a crackback. You were covering him, left him to try and tackle the QB, and he knocked you on your behind.

    There was no helmet to helmet, there was nothing cheap about it. You want to be the bringer on a play like that, not the one getting it. Funny how that hit is still legal in High School, but not the NFL.

    Hopefully I did not upset any of the Cowboy fans and my comment does not get removed. Seems like when you say something against “America’s Team” the comment disappears.

  15. Total B.S. ruling by the NFL on this one. What was Tate supposed to do? Hit him softer? I guarantee that any other player in that same situation would have done the same thing. “No Fun League” rearing it’s head again!

  16. Fined $21,000 for playing football. I swear when I watch a game and see a good hit, I wait for a flag. Think about all the great defensive players that would be banned if they played their game these days

  17. Just in case any Cowboy fans don’t know what a crackback block is, here is the definition.

    A block by an offensive player who is usually spread out away from the main body of the formation and runs back in towards the ball at the snap, blocking an opponent back toward the original position of the ball at the snap.

  18. I am no fan of “The Donut Thief”but that was a good block. Football as we know it is dying a slow death. Too many cannot do this or that anymore. Might as well be soccer.

  19. Was not illegal block , was not crack back, no flag yet again God-del and his cronies go on the war path. How about cleaning up the bounty crap and let the players play.

  20. Let em get this straight. Jerruh whines about the kneel down (conveniently, since it was the Giants), despite Romo doing it the week before and says kneeling should be outlawed. Then whined for a fine on Tate and gets it. Sounds like he wants everything his way at all times.

  21. First of all, I’d like to know how it’s possible to block the forward momentum of a 250lb man without launching yourself forward. Media guys and armchair fans that never played think they know, but in reality they have no idea.

    Second of all, funny how these same people have a problem with a defender using the crown of his helmet, but have no problem with offensive players (mainly Rb’s, FB’s, and blocking TE’s) doing the same thing to spear a defender.

    Thirdly, I’d you’ve never played football then don’t talk about football. You just look stupid.

  22. I guess he should have blocked him with foul language, or just stood in his way.

    I know Hines Ward was smiling that stupid smile of his somewhere when he saw the block.

  23. Seahawks are appealing the fine, but even if it sticks I’m guessing that hit may have earned Golden much more than $21K in endorsements. Did Slim Jim ever get a replacement for the Macho Man?

  24. It was a brutal block and would have been legal 4-5 years ago. The rules have changed such that it is illegal now.

    1) He launched at the player
    2) He led with his helmet
    3) He landed his helmet right on the chin, which many apparently don’t know that is part of your head and not your chest.

  25. This was a legal hit. he launched into the chest and the head followed. If you want to say he should have had his head up, then ok. However when do offensive players have time to practice these hits with such little practice time?

    Time to wear skirts

    Goddell and the owners should be fined for this awful product on the field.

  26. “…because Tate launched himself into Lee”

    I thought launching required that you leave your feet to make a tackle. I watched the replay dozens of times, and didn’t see Tate leave either feet until the force of the collision knocked him over. What I saw was that he planted both feet and stopped his forward progress just before the collision.

  27. Put me in at RB.

    I’ll close my eyes and run backwards toward the endzone. If anyone touches me, it will be a blatant violation of my safety as I’m clearly smaller and not as fast, strong or talented. Every opponent will be suspended an entire season until my team is the only one left standing.

  28. Goodell is trying to protect himself from future lawsuits like the ones the NFL is already facing with regards to concussions. Having said that, football by definition is a violent sport, and those who step onto the gridiron accept the consequences that go along with it. I’m sure Goodell being a lawyer can find a defence including the fact that players impliedly consent to violence and it’s potential consequences when they step between the lines. Instead he’s taken it upon himself to change the game and there comes a point in time where the game ceases to be football – while still given that moniker.

    In short, Goodell is trying to cover his ass but in the process has changed the game of football. As someone who played the sport and loves the sport, I am disappointed and saddened to see it disappearing.

  29. not a fan of either team, but its clear he launched. watch it again. watch him squat and extend his legs to a straight position as he makes contact, plus his heels leaving the turf. that is launching. his feet didnt have to completely leave the ground. Tate was overtaking Lee, and could have tackled him less violently and had the same effect. i agree with the fine

  30. That was no illegal hit. He hit from the front and didn’t make contact with the head.
    What’s the difference between that hit and the hit that bobby mcCray put on Kurt Warner? The nfl looked at that hit as well and didn’t deem a penalty or fine was worthy. They stated that it was a clean hit. So was the NFL an accomplice to the bounty program in New Orleans if they now say this hit was illegal and that one wasn’t. Pull both hits up on YouTube and see for yourselves.

  31. Lee was chasing a play that would likely be over by the time he arrived. So, in the tradition of Hines (Look at Me!) Ward, Tate took on the punk role and took a cheap shot.
    Teams on the Seahawks schedule are going to be ready for golden boy. I can’t wait for the clip!

    Certainly Seahawks fans love Tate’s toughness. I hope they realize he will probably not help his team with such cowardly acts in the future. But hey, with Rah-Rah Coach Pete Care-Less leading the old college try, who knows what awaits.

  32. Lee took Tate’s best blindside shot and came back for more. THAT’S tough. Tate took a cheap shot, and then celebrated a fallen player like the immature coward that he is. Remember the phrase, “see what you hit” Tate. The next time you lead with your helmet like that, you could end up paralyzed. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, even a punk like you…..

  33. Actually Golden Tate is not a highly paid player (as football players go). He makes $490,000 a year. That fine represents roughly 4.5% of his salary. I’d hate losing 4.5% of my salary on something the refs didn’t even call as a penalty. That would be like getting fined at work for something that is not against the Personnel Policy but the Manager decides he didn’t like what you did anyway. I’m not saying the fine isn’t deserved. He didn’t leave his feet but he did hit him with his helmet first. The fine was mandatory but awfully steep.

  34. I’m not sure what’s a bigger joke, the fine or your article. Having seen the play multiple times and looked at MANY close up photographs, it was obviously a shoulder to chest hit and perfectly legal.

    This isn’t the National Fine League. It isn’t the Girls Football League and it isn’t the ballet. The refs got it completely right.

    What a joke.

  35. Goodell is a little b!tch. Golden tate was just making a legal block it’s not like he was playing the role of Hines Ward!

  36. The NFL needs to revisit this. It’s natural to raise yourself to someones height when administering hit like this. Don’t know if it’s the fear of flipping the guy or not. But it’s unnatural to remain flatfooted.

    He did not aim for the head or even truly left his feet…leave this one alone NFL.

  37. tackled him less violently and had the same effect. i agree with the fine
    What? Do you have any clue about football? Lee wasn’t the ball carrier idiot, Tate would be flagged for holding if he tackled him.

  38. Tate did not launch and hit Lee in the chest. The only reason there was any contact with his chin was Lee’s head coming down on Tate’s helmet after the initial impact.

    One thing we learned from Sunday…

    The Cowboys are SOFT SOFT SOFT.

  39. The NFL says they are committed to player safety yet keep these garbage replacement refs. They have the heads up campaign yet when a guy keeps his head up sees his target and fires through the mans chest which caused the crown of his helmet to hit the bottom of lees face mask beautiful hit kept his head up oh and no flag was thrown for it. Oh and jerry says there should be a fine but the refs who he says are doing a great job didn’t throw a flag on the play. Goodell and all of the owners are a bunch of hypocrites

  40. U people are idiots his pads were not the first thing to make contact with lee it was his helmet look at it when I played I hit someone the same way in semi-pro stayed on my feet the whole time and made contact with nothing but my shoulder and got same results team mates loved it . Plus the celebration for that illegal hit probably played a role in the decision to fine him

  41. its one of those hits that are sitting on the fence. you can make a case for both sides. i think the nfl fined him because hes an offensive player to show players that not only defense will be fined.

  42. rwhited2 says: Sep 19, 2012 6:32 PM

    Lee took Tate’s best blindside shot and came back for more. THAT’S tough. Tate took a cheap shot, and then celebrated a fallen player like the immature coward that he is. Remember the phrase, “see what you hit” Tate. The next time you lead with your helmet like that, you could end up paralyzed. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, even a punk like you…..

    27-7. Welcome back to earth.

  43. I love the constant WHY IS FOOTBALL SO SOFT NOW??? comments. You know NFL players die early, right?

    He got underneath his helmet. Then celebrated like a clown.

    It is not a legal block to drive your helmet into someone else’s head.

    “Shoulder to chest hit?” get out of here. homer.

  44. Anyone who thinks that was a clean hit is an effin moron. If you watch it, without being a biased cowboy hater, you will CLEARLY see the crown of Tates helmet make contact directly on Lee’s chin. Not his chest. Not his shoulder. His chin. I read these comments and am astounded at how many of you are either morons or simply just post without having paid any attention to the actual play. Then Tate wants to act tough. What a joke. Almost as much of a joke as Cowboys were in that game.

  45. Good for the NFL it is definitely a warranted fine and if was your team that happened to all of y’all would be whining about it! Smh

  46. I’d venture to guess that the vast number of guys on here wanting more violence and questioning the rules trying to protect players and calling guys who are blindsided wusses or worse – HAVE NEVER PLAYED THE GAME above pee wee league.

    Back when you played the game at 60 pounds in peewee league you couldn’t generate enough force to even knock the wind out of anyone. Back in the 60’s and 70’s Jim Marshall played DE at 235 lbs. Now that’s a normal safety or WR now, with far more speed. And most of these guys have near world class speed. The strength of human joints and soft tissue do not increase linearly with size. It takes about the same amount of force to concuss a 6’4″ 250 LB as it does to concuss a 6′ 0″ 195 LB from 40 years ago. Except now these guys are generating far more force with their weight and speed. Without the rules changing for safety sake someone could get killed very easily.

  47. Tate clearly went for the chest, didn’t launch himself, and the momentum of Lee getting completely demolished by a 5’10” WR sent his head into Tate’s.

  48. Enjoy what remains of the game of football while it lasts. In another 10-15 years even today’s (deteriorating) state of the game will be unrecognizable. It sure ain’t what it used to be.

  49. Sean Lee even said it was a hit to his chest, not chin.

    From another site’s article:

    “In the Cowboys’ locker room, Lee, who would return to the field, confirmed that the hit was to his chest, not his chin.”

  50. I need to buy stock in the Sports Authority and Dicks Sporting Goods. So when the NFL cuts the deal to buy the flags the players will be wearing, I can bring in some heavy coin.

  51. If Tate could read Lee’s head in the microseconds after he turned but before he blocked and actually avoided contact, he would not have been doing his job. Instead he turned and immediately threw a block which was exactly his job. If you watch the whole sequence and don’t just judge by the single pic of Lee’s body crumpling, he led with his shoulder not his helmet. It was completely legal and what was expected of him in that situation.

    Jerry Jones previous outburst clearly affected the front office decision to fine and they appeased his infantile behavior. Bravo for making Jerry happy along with Jerry’s kids.

  52. @giahead33

    i respectfully disagree

    per the rules:
    Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8:

    (i) if a player illegally launches into a defenseless opponent. It is an illegal launch if a playyer (1) leaves both feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent, and (2) uses any part of his helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/”hairline” parts) to initiate forcible contact against any part of his opponent’s body.

    the rule does not mention his feet have to completely leave the turf. Tate was on the tips of his toes, launched his body, lead with the helmet and made contact to the neck/chin area (evident by Lees chinstrap sliding up his face.) the replay matches this definition.

  53. Hopefully Tate wins his appeal. It’s sad he even needs to appeal the block, that was clean as can be. People just need to put their big boy pants on and realize that tough football is not dirty football.

  54. Hire replacement refs, when they make a good call, throw them under the bus because jerry jones whines…
    If you are going to hire them, back them up. If you feel that they made an incorrect call, retrain/penalize the referee, don’t try to revise the game after the fact.
    Right or wrong, the play was called, had zero effect on the outcome of the game.

  55. I honestly don’t know what play some of you are watching. Tate clearly launched himself, and clearly struck the player in the chin/head with the top of his helmet – no matter what area he was targeting. Asking Lee to remember where the strike occured is ridiculous.

    I wonder how many who are claiming there should be no fine for this were whining over the Bucs trying for a fumble on the last play of the game against the Giants.

  56. “Right or wrong, the play was called, had zero effect on the outcome of the game.”

    It could have. If called, it would have offset the tap on the shoulder that got called on the Dallas DB for touching the runner out of bounds. Game was still in reach.

  57. It’s always amusing how certain fans feel one way about something when it’s their team. I would wager a great deal of people who think this was a legal hit would say the exact opposite if it were 2 years ago when Hines ward put the exact same hit on Keith Rivers of the Bengals. Fans used to say Hines Ward was a cheap shot artist because he would crackback defenders defensive player ashamed to be hit that hard by a offensive player, and a small one at that. And now so many fans are saying “Wow what a great hit by Tate”. It’s the exact same hit. It all comes down to who the player is and not the hit. People hated Hines so his hit was cheap. The NFL created the crack back rule because of the hit Hines put on Rivers. All I’m saying is try to be objective. I agree with all the posters who say that it was a awesome hit. I loved it but i was shocked it wasnt flagged because i remembered the new rule. You may hate the rule (as do i) , but just as players have to adjust, we as fans have to adjust and not get bent out of shape when players break the new rules Goodell has changed the game I grew up with, and now says that this type of hit is illegal.

  58. Loved watching Lee get lit up, but Tate definitely speared him in the middle of the chest. From a Hawk fan

  59. @koenig

    What makes you think the people supporting Tate’s hit are Seahawks fans? I support that hit 100% and I’m the farthest thing from a Seahawks fan. And the Ward shot on Rivers was totally clean. The only reason his jaw got broke is because his head snapped forward toward the point of contact……where the crown of Ward’s helmet was planted on his upper chest. Be glad I can’t post still images on this thread. The film isn’t on your side on that one.

    And as has been stated…….even Lee said the point of contact was his chest. You’re wrong.

  60. You guys, they changed the rule. These hits are unnecessary. You don’t need to concuss or maim a guy who isn’t looking to give an effective block. Even if the player isnt keeping his head on a swivel.

    Those hits used to be exciting but like Lee said, the test of manhood is sizing up a guy who is looking. It isn’t launching your head into someone’s chest when they aren’t looking and don’t have the ball.

  61. Punk hit for a no class punk team. We will see who is where in 5 years. Lee is a class act, and is on his way to an all-pro career. Tate is a Golden turd of a 2nd round bust with 609 yards receiving in three years and a weak 56 catches. Enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame scrub. At least when Hines Ward made his cheap shots, he didn’t clown like you did. Act like you been some place before.

  62. For the record I hated Ward’s hit at the time and I don’t like Tate’s either. Tate to his credit did not end up injuring Lee, unlike Ward breaking the guy’s jaw.

    I really don’t respect Ward or Harrison on the Steelers. Those guys think those kinds of helmet to helmet hits are part of the game and that’s awful. I hope someone lays it on them.

  63. The worst part was the post launch gesticulation and ejaculation on Lee’s chest. Sean Lee deserves better.

  64. It was a cowardly move. It was a sucker punch.

    You guys thinking Tate’s hit is the real spirit of the game make me sick.

    It was a cheap shot, one that he had the nerve to prance around about afterward.

    Any coward can throw a sucker punch. The guy has no class at all.

    Real toughness is standing up man to man and not taking cheap shots. Same goes for tackling – guys these days just want to take the easy way out and launch themselves; it takes much more strength and skill to wrap a guy up and bring him down.

    Those of you celebrating these kinds of hits aren’t defending “real” football. Your defending dumb, unskilled football played by weak cowards.

  65. Mr. Wright, you’re still talking smack?

    24-17. In NJ. On National TV. And a miracle away from being 0-2. Welcome to last place as the Giants own no tiebreakers.

  66. Golden did his job.

    Defenders running full speed should be ready to be met in the direction they are running. This was not from any other direction.

    Defenders should be ready for a shoulderpad to the chest. That is textbook and it was what Golden did.

    Lee crumpled because he lost himself in time and space and didn’t mentally track where he was and who was around him before he turned to chase the QB full speed.

    After he crumpled his drooped head/through dropped to where the pic that has been floated around looks like that’s where Golden aimed. The picture is completely misleading and out of context to what happened in the game.

    Golden should aim to do that every time. Most of the time players will be ready for it. Occasionally you’ll get some poorly coached, poorly skilled player who won’t be in the league long who looks one way and runs another.

    Owners should not be dictating to the office who gets fined. Jerry Jones and his organization need to be put in their place.

  67. Next time just go low for the side of the knee. Same effectivness. No flag or fine. Plus you won’t have to worry about him playing defense for the rest of the year.

  68. It was a great, tough-nosed hit. There was no intent to hit Lee’s head…if you watch the video one can CLEARLY see Tate deliberately drop down lower in an attempt to make contact with the Lee’s chest, but the momentum did cause the helmet to slide up after contact. I suspect if Tate had not celebrated so much afterwards, doing the crab-walk and pointing to his name on the back of his jersey, his fine would likely have been considerably less. Without regard to all this however, I love the brand of football Seattle is playing now!

  69. kevpft says:
    Sep 19, 2012 11:27 PM

    Real toughness is standing up man to man and not taking cheap shots. Same goes for tackling – guys these days just want to take the easy way out and launch themselves; it takes much more strength and skill to wrap a guy up and bring him down.


    are you saying Golden should have “wrapped him up” and actually tackled a player that wasn’t carrying the ball? Doesn’t that make it a hold instead of a block?

    it was a solid hit and it’s a part of football. the helmets collided, but all you can really say is “it is what it is” and take the fine.

    the defenseless player/cheap shot talk is crap. lee wasn’t looking where he was running and ran into a 5’10” brick wall. you can’t have a blind spot in front of you.

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