Pacman’s helmet antics were preceded by a throat punch from Cooper


Yes, Bengals cornerback Pacman Jones should have been suspended for removing the helmet of Raiders receiver Amari Cooper and slamming his head against it. Yes, the NFL may have opted not to pick another fight it may have lost before a truly neutral arbitrator.

Yes, Pacman was provoked by Cooper.

It doesn’t justify Pacman’s reaction, but it at least shows why he did it. A source with knowledge of Pacman’s reasoning tells PFT that Jones was upset by Cooper throwing a fist into Pacman’s throat as Pacman was pursuing the ball and Cooper was trying to keep Pacman from closing in.

Per the source, Jones also claims he didn’t realize he was slamming Cooper’s head into his own helmet, and that Pacman was simply pushing Cooper’s head.

But that’s how it goes in football. The guy who initiated it gets away with it, and the guy who retaliates gets caught. For Jones, the officials saw what he did but they didn’t eject him. They should have.

On Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, former NFL official and supervisor of officials Jim Daopoulos said that officials are reluctant to eject players because of the competitive advantages an ejection can create.

Which means that the NFL needs to do a better job of explaining its expectations to game officials.

Pacman also should have done a better job of explaining why he did what he did to Cooper. At the hearing on the appeal of his $35,000 fine, he’ll need to.

69 responses to “Pacman’s helmet antics were preceded by a throat punch from Cooper

  1. “Pacman also should have done a better job of explaining why he did what he did to Cooper.”

    But if he did that everyone would just say that he’s making excuses. Lose-lose situation.

    I almost prefer that he didn’t explain that and simply manned up to his action.

  2. Ejecting players for conduct detrimental to the game is the only way officials have of respecting the game above all else. If the officials won’t stand up for the game, then the game will die…and that is on the owners 100%. They are the ones who must demand that the game is respected over and above all players and coaches. Competitive advantages are not of a concern to the official!

  3. Thank you Mike Florio for at least explaining more of the story. I do not condone Jone’s behavior because the push (not slam) is not needed. Bad decision on his part. You are correct that it’s the retaliation that always gets caught. But it’s easy to say that in hindsight. It’s a violent game. The reason we watch the regular season and not the Pro Bowl.

  4. A bit late to the party with this one. Numerous comments on the original article pointed that out.

    Even so, smashing the back of someone’s head into a hard object is an easy way to kill someone or cause permanent brain injury.

    Someone punches you and you want to take a shot back, fine, punch him back. What PacMan did was despicable and he’s very very lucky he didn’t lose it just a little bit more than he did and kill the guy.

  5. I know I’d have a hard time not retaliating after getting punched in the throat. They’re both obviously very competitive. It’s too easy to make pacman the villain here since the coverage of him dribbling Amari’s head is so egregious.

  6. Explaining why he did what he did would just be viewed as making excuses by many. He did what he had to do, stood by it, and didn’t try to pass the buck. Kudos. He also should get some credit for not beating the tar out of Cooper. Once he had him mounted with his helmet off, he could’ve done some real damage if he had chosen to, but he didn’t.

  7. If the NFL thinks it would lose on appeal then that means he did nothing wrong…at least that is what Patriots fans would have you believe. Pacman is exonerated.

  8. Just wondering why the NFL isn’t fining Cooper as well. Isn’t this their post-game chance to correct such things?

    Regardless of Pacman’s reasons, he still should be suspended. It really doesn’t matter if he didn’t realize he was hitting Cooper’s head against his helmet because he hit Cooper’s head against his helmet.

  9. Was he really throwing a punch? Or did he push off and PacMan got hit on accident? Based on their rep, I’d say it was an accident. Pacman shoulda been ejected. Doesn’t matter if he knew his helmet was there or not. You still took his helmet off and slammed it against something.

  10. They had no problem throwing Smith Sr. out and he didn’t even throw a punch. Granted it was preseason and he was going to be out soon anyway but it was being called the new standard of zero tolerance for fighting.

    The NFL had the opportunity to explain its expectations to game officials. They could have suspended him a game. That would have sent the message to officials, players, and coaches alike. But no, the NFL bungled up so much stuff lately they seem to be too afraid.

  11. What was Cooper thinking? … A throat punch to Pac-Man’s neck? … That’s like mistaking a stick of dynamite for a birthday candle. And once you light it, you can’t blow it out.

  12. “Jim Daopoulos said that officials are reluctant to eject players because of the competitive advantages an ejection can create.”

    What about the competitive advantages created by purposefully injuring a player? That’s what Jones would have done if they weren’t separated. That’s what Cooper could have done if he’d watch Roadhouse one too many times. Eject players that attempt to injure others on purpose! You throw a punch? You’re out. You remove someone’s helmet, and slam their head into it? You’re out. It’s that simple. And they have got to do something about the instigator thing. I’m sick of watching players throw quick punches only to have the guy who fights back thrown out. That to me is something the replay official could EASILY keep track of and inform the on field ref who needs to be ejected.

  13. Nobody saw the punch, no film shows a punch, pacman is a lying piece of garbage and the NFL are backing him. Shows the nfl would rather back a criminal than to show the Raiders any love, that is for sure.

  14. Look, the dirty secret of the NFL is that almost all teams try to bully and intimidate each other. The Bengals (Pacman in particular) are just sending out a message that this is what happens when you pull that stuff on the Bengals. Everyone was quick to jump Pacman because of his reputation (from years ago) and the Bengals (because no one likes them), but I totally side with them here. If you don’t stand up to the bullying, it’ll never stop.

  15. whats your point, somebody can throw a jab while they are running at 4.4 speed downfield…. just an fyi in football this is known as blocking.

    tearing a dudes helmet off and grabbing his skull and hitting it against his helmet is known as assault.

  16. It would be insane if these kinds of extracurricular activities that are outside of the game of football would result in arrest… during the game! There is always police presence at the games, usually state troopers – just saying, that would be crazy if that actually happened. Violence outside the game of playing football–> arrest.

  17. If Adam Jones were cut today over this, he’d probably be in a Raiders or Cowboys jersey tomorrow.

    How do you punish somebody who will be rewarded from the punishment.

    There’s only one question to ask. Where is Roger Goodell now?

  18. NFL is such a joke when it comes to player discipline. Smoke weed- suspension. Assault a player- small fine

  19. Any Bengals fan who called the Patriots cheaters and ever mentioned anything about cellphones or text messages should have his own head examined if attempting to justify slamming a head on to a helmet he first pulled off. Good gawd.

  20. For all the uninformed….Yes there is video proof.It`s on the all 22 coaches film if you have the package from for everyone to i said Monday stop depending on what the media tells you and the 7 second video highlight world.And to all the soft people crying assault and acting like he slugged him with a helmet get real.He got punched in the throat and had his face mask grabbed so he threw him to the ground pushed his facemask causing the helmet to come off and then pushed his head into the OPEN helmet that his head fit into which is why Cooper didn`t realize his head even hit it.He should`ve been ejected like the 2nd guy does but there it was nothing like people are making it out to be.

  21. Cooper didn’t throw a punch to Jones’ throat; he was trying to block down field and his arm went up high on Jones. There was zero intention to hurt Jones.

    Jones on the other hand was trying to hurt Cooper by smashing his head into his helmet. I can’t understand how the NFL didn’t suspend him for this. Trying to hurt a player or being too violent is a major issue and the league cannot allow someone to get away with that, especially someone with Pacman’s history.

  22. Riiiight a “source”. If Cooper really intentionally punched him in the throat don’t you think we’d see a video by now? It was most likely Cooper blocking or positioning for the ball and his hand hit Jones in the throat, and Jones like he normally does over-reacted.

  23. Or you can just search for “Amari Cooper throat punch” and you’ll see a link to Vine at the top. He didn’t punch him. He was running downfield and trying to jam pacman in the chest but it slipped up to his throat. Definitely not in the same league as ripping a player’s helmet off and slamming his head against it. Pacman should be suspended for several games due to his history of these antics and his inability to even say it won’t happen again.

  24. If they start penalizing players for punching each other in the throats there will be a flag on almost every play.
    Part of being an offensive player is you get those protections that defensive players dont. If Pacman Jones was on a DFS the NFL would protect him too.
    Do you think they aren’t aiming for the throat when they stiff arm or shove off a defender?
    That is standard procedure for O-Linemen and wideouts…

  25. Watch one of the older seasons for Hard Knocks, like the Ravens or Cowboys in ’01 or ’02.. I swear I can remember a vet saying it to a rookie O-Lineman or TE in front of the camera. Im sure the NFL has edited that out of the Sound FX segment almost every single week.
    It’s like Stick-em your gloves, just dont be obvious and don’t talk about it and you’ll be fine.

  26. I see a stiff arm in the video but it is unclear if it was a punch. Even so you don’t slam someones helmet-less head into any object let alone a very hard helmet. Jones needs to control his emotions.

  27. Jones should not be playing football. What he does on the field is not football on the professional level. He’s playing street football with no rules. His history speaks for itself. He should have been ejected, suspended and fined. Goodell is running scared now and afraid to make any decisions. If Cooper throat punched you, then let’s see it. You’re a POS, always was and always will be. You don’t deserve to play in the NFL.

  28. The comments about Jones do have a root in his history off the field. Adam Jones shouldn’t have grabbed Cooper by the head and forced it down (watch the video, no slam). Cooper shouldn’t have punched Jones in the throat. I wonder how all these haters of Jones would react to getting punched in the throat. I’m sure they would all say “I would have complained to the refs”. Jones, as in the case when Steve Smith grabbed his facemask, didn’t complain to the media or make any excuses. He took care of it between himself and Cooper.

  29. lets be honest for one minute for those of you that are butt hurt and trying to defend Pacmans actions.

    Q. What is more common and accepted in the NFL

    #1- blocking downfield and using a strait arm?


    #2 ripping a guys helmet off and crushing his skull into it?

  30. I remember when football was a gladiator sport played by real men.Now even the fans are so soft it`s pathetic.Amari was much less likely to get injured by having his head pushed down like that than someone is by a cut block or a Suh stomp.Stop with he should be out of the league for it crap.He should`ve been ejected but no way was he being suspended.
    I find it hard to believe people even really believe the crap they put on here.Amari started it and Pacman finished it.Then Amari and the Raiders took the fetal position while Jones had a career high 11 tackles and the Bengals rolled them.If you want the players on your team to get punched in throat and grabbed by the face mask by a rookie and just take it fine but then don`t cry when they lose every game because you can`t be that soft and win NFL games.I`ll take a player who plays hard and crosses the line every 2-3 years over soft any day.

  31. BWWAAAHHHHAAAHHHAAAHHHAA! Adam Jones would have done nothing if Cooper hadn’t thrown the punch then grabbed his face mask! It happened…I watched the entire game, saw it happen, and saw it replayed.
    To Johnc44:
    Your exactly right. I too remember when football was a gladiator sport, played by tough as nails men! Nowadays, the players are ratcheted back by that poser Goodell, cheating is rewarded time and time again, and most of the fans are softer than a roll of Charmin. To quote Johnc44, “Cooper started it, Pacman finished it!” Don’t kick the bear if you don’t want your a$$ chewed on! Football is a rough, violent sport. Which is why we watch all games except the Pro Bowl! Maybe Oakland should sign some of their fans or 49ers fans to play. Lord know they have more nads than anybody on that roster!

  32. F these Cinic Coward Crybabies.
    It’s done on every single play of every single NFL game.
    Cini fans are sobbing and crying because their criminal got blocked downfield sob!!
    Meanwhile their guys rips of the helmet and SLAMs his head into it with both hands.
    Raiders get a Personal Foul for clearing his bich ass off of our guy. Typical.
    CIN is a dirty, coward team. Violently attacking a rookie should never be allowed and our OLine should have wreck PacBich for life after that bs.

  33. its so obvious how many of you have never even once suited up and payed a down of football at any level, much less nfl. completely clueless

  34. There was no punch in the throat. Cooper was blocking on a long run by a Olawale. Cooper got in-between Olawale and Jones who was giving chase. Cooper was running full speed with Jones catching up so Cooper reached backwards to shove Jones away so Jones wouldn’t catch up to Olawale to make the tackle. You can clearly see that Jones’ head gets pushed back which means Cooper basically just stuffed armed him on Jones’ helmet.

    But now all of a sudden its a throat punch. If anyone is trying to say Cooper maliciously throat punched Jones on purpose then they also need to get explain why Cooper didn’t get into a fight with Jones after Jones pinned Cooper on the ground and slammed his bare head into his helmet. Explain why Cooper just stood up and walked away while Jones and other Bengals and Raiders kept fighting.

  35. I can understand how some of you like the sensational story – and Jones was definitely in the wrong. But let’s get real, you can’t simultaneously say that the “punch” was just Cooper blocking and then continue to say that Jones “slammed” his head into a helmet. Both of those would be exaggeration.

    Jones is an emotional player, like he has already said, and a block that ends up under his helmet is enough to piss off any player.

    Jones needs to be better than his reaction, but it wasn’t out of nowhere or malicious.

  36. WWE has more convincing “slams” than that. Also the “sucker punch” by IK. Why does the media keep doing this?

  37. This perenial turd always has an excuse, like when you knocked out a woman outside a bar last year because “she threw a drink on me.”

    If she really threw a drink on him, he asked for it.

  38. If you have the NFL game pass online, you can watch their coaches view feature and see the angle of the play from the end zone.
    There was no throat punch.
    Cooper was blocking and at the end Cooper hit jones’s shoulder pad with an open palm, this is what he took exception to and is claiming was a “throat punch”.
    You know how hard it would be to punch someone in the throat with all of their pads and face mask? It’s almost as if it is designed to protect the player?
    You might get a throat poke in, but not a punch.
    Like I said if you watch the end zone view, a throat punch just didn’t happen.

  39. Again, Cooper is 6’1, Pacman Jones is 5’8, 5’9. Watch the clip, Cooper is running FULL speed & blocking. Because of the height disparity when he extends his arm to block, it ACCIDENTALLY goes into Pacman’s throat. It wasn’t a “punch”, & for those who keep bringing it up you are as sick as Pacman Jones.

    I’m sorry NFL, you can’t spin this. You fine Marshawn Lynch $75K for not SPEAKING to the media, but this idiot & REPEAT offender tries to paralyze, seriously injure a rookie, & this is all you can come up with.

    When you’re the sport’s highest level, & this is tolerated, stop with the excuses, it’s a problem. I’m a Titans fan, but I seriously couldn’t “enjoy” any other game after I saw this. Cooper is a fine young man, hope he’s alright.

  40. Gotta love what a reputation will do to you. Pac has a bad rep in the league, therefore, no matter what Amari did, Pac was in the wrong. Right? No, not right. Yes Pac has a bad rep. I get it. But Amari learned the hard way what cheap shots will get you in the NFL. Most players would have gone after Amari for doing that. They just so happened to end up on the ground and that’s where it all happened. Otherwise, there would have been a lot of shoving and jawing if they stayed standing. However, both players were in the wrong. Just because Amari doesn’t have the rep that Pac has (yet), doesn’t mean what he did was any more acceptable than what Pac did. If he continues to throw cheap shots and blocks like that, he will continue to have guys going after him. However, it’s also funny how all the cheap shots and late hits from the sore losers (Faders) are being forgotten and written off. They played a dirty game because they were getting bullied all over the field. Let’s not forget that.

  41. I always love this argument. Yes, he was totally out of line. Yes, he was in the wrong. Yes, he should be punished……….. BUT, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah….

    ALWAYS the argument of the person without a defense.


  42. Richard Greene says:
    Sep 17, 2015 11:29 PM

    I’m a Titans fan, but I seriously couldn’t “enjoy” any other game after I saw this. Cooper is a fine young man, hope he’s alright.
    If your THAT soft why are watching football anyway?
    He`s alright.He didn`t even miss a freakin play!
    He said himself he didn`t even know his head hit the helmet.If you can`t “enjoy” any other games because of that then stop watching because your pathetic.
    Go watch a game of 2 hand touch somewhere until you grow up.

  43. Hilarious.
    You watch the film, you see Cooper straight arming Jones while running full speed to get in front of him. His hand hits Jones face mask and jerks his head back.
    Bengals fan sees Cooper “punching him in the throat….INTENTIONALLY.” How they see it as a punch (they all must have better vision than the rest of the nation) and somehow know it’s “intentional” is beyond me. Bengals fans must be clarevoyant. Way to go Bengals fans seeing what 95% of us don’t see!

  44. Cooper stiff-armed Pacman. It’s a legitimate blocking tactic, wherever his hand may have wound up landing while two world-class athletes are speeding downfield. It’s irrelevant.

    Pacman ripped off Cooper’s helmet IN A RAGE and slammed his bare head into the very thing that was supposed to be protecting it.

    There was no provocation here. Only a very dangerous situation initiated solely by a guy who can’t keep himself from initiating very dangerous situations. Muzzle the dog, please.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.