Donte Whitner: Any big hit in the NFL is automatically a flag


San Francisco safety Donte Whitner was penalized on the first play of Sunday’s loss to the Colts. He wasn’t happy about it.

It was a bad call,” Whitner told “I guess it was a big hit. Any big hit now in the National Football League is automatically a flag.”

Whitner drilled Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw after Bradshaw picked up three yards on a short pass and a flag flew immediately. Referee Terry McAulay announced, “Personal foul, unnecessary roughness, illegal contact with the crown of the helmet by the defender,” and marched off 15 yards for the Colts.

But replays showed that Whitner led with his shoulder, not the crown of his helmet. Whitner is right: The officials called a penalty not because he led with the crown of his helmet, but because he hit Bradshaw hard, and NFL officials have been so conditioned to look for helmet-to-helmet contact that sometimes they see that contact even when it isn’t there.

46 responses to “Donte Whitner: Any big hit in the NFL is automatically a flag

  1. Boycott the nfl… The players should go on strike( they won’t because the money is too good) but when the fans stop watching They will listen.

    What’s the point of having a defense?its ironic how they want “competitive-balance” with teams yet the “balance” on both sides of the ball are wayyyyy off

  2. The sad truth is he’s right. The League and the Refs don’t care about “blowing a call” like this one. I’m glad “headhunting” is outlawed, but they have gone way too far in the other direction.

  3. Seahawk fan here but it was a perfectly legal hit and the refs are out of control. If they insist on this a review official ought to look at all personal foul hits immediately and stop play if it was called wrong.

  4. This happened several times yesterday. It was ridiculous.

    Then again, if former players want to continue suing the NFL for head trauma, the league has to at least pretend like they can make football a safe sport.

  5. I think the NFL should send all refs a video of Mike Carey’s crew from the Panthers-Giants game yesterday. Mundy, the safety from the Giants put a vicious hit on one of the Panthers, but he led with his shoulder and made proper contact. The refs immediately threw the flag but after a quick meeting, picked up the flag without penalty. Not sure how the refs determined that it was not indeed a penalty, but even if they cheated a bit and looked at the in-stadium screen, it was a fair call and quick thinking. Gave me a little hope about the new tiles.

  6. Donte Whitner needs to learn how to use his hard, strong, glistening, throbbing muscles to tackle other football players while still playing within the rules.

    Am I right?

  7. Pretty accurate assessment. Hard to tell what will draw a flag anymore. I understand the head shots, just can’t understand big hits where the head isn’t even involved.

    How many Hall of Famers wouldn’t be in the hall if they were forced to play under these new rules? Remember all the NFL produced highlight videos that glorified these now illegal big hits? Seems pretty hypocritical in hindsight.

  8. Ladies and Gentlemen, you are witnessing the beginning of the end of the NFL. Get rid of the hard-shell helmets and strap on the old leather relics before there is no game left to save. Gesundheit.

  9. The fact that P.I. and personal fouls have become such a big part of the game, I believe both should be reviewable. These are pure judgment calls that change games.. In fairness to the ref’s, allow teams to review them!

  10. Funny thing about that hit was that Bradshaw got up like he never felt it and it was Whitner who got up as if he wasn’t gonna make the ten count. Oh the irony!

  11. FWIW, Whitner commented on the call only after being asked in the CSNBayArea post-game interview.

    The bulk of the interview is Whitner acknowledging that the defense needs to play with more discipline and passion. He didn’t think that they got fooled, but that they just got outplayed. And he wasn’t whining about the call — only commented on it when he got asked.

  12. This call and the one in the Lions game are ruining the game. Can’t even imagine what a pain in the butt this is for the defensive players

  13. I’m pretty sure lurchpapa just acknowledged that he is one of the Glee viewers.

    Also, It’s pretty hilarious that Packers fans are pissing and moaning in the comments of a story that has nothing to do with their team.

  14. The solution is so simple but the NFL is too damn stubborn to institute it. Have a replay ref in the booth who reviews penalties like this one. He would have seen it was NOT leading with the helmet, could have radioed it down to the field and the flag would have been picked up. Dumb and dumber.

  15. defensive players and coaches should all get together and uniformly protest by standing lined up along the sidelines and allow the offenses be out there by themselves on the first drive of each half. I mean just literally just stand along the sidelines arm crossed or hold a sign saying NO MORE

  16. Another easy way for the corrupt nfl to make money these days. Fine players big money for hard hits. NFL has everyone fooled if you think they seriously are concerned with a players safety.

  17. Gotta make these penalties reviewable, these refs are having a HUGE impact on games. A little biased here, but TB would not be 0-3 in this case. That team has been the worst recipient of these misplaced UR calls

  18. Whitner should be more concerned with his inability to cover anyone on the field. Remember him getting torched in the Super Bowl?

  19. I know it doesn’t hurt much watching from the recliner, but please folks give the “flag/touch football” idiocy a rest. JerMichael Finley nearly had his neck broken Sunday in Cincy. No flag.

  20. urchpapa says: Sep 23, 2013 8:23 PM

    Donte Whitner needs to learn how to use his hard, strong, glistening, throbbing muscles to tackle other football players while still playing within the rules.

    Am I right?


    San Fran and all

  21. The NFL is turning into “touch” football.

    I’ve taken an interest in watching Premier League soccer on NBC Sports Channel. Very entertaining. The game is still played as it was 100 years ago.

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