NFL began immediate investigation of failure to remove Case Keenum from play

It was obvious to everyone (except the officials and the ATC spotter) that Rams quarterback Case Keenum should have been removed from play and checked for a concussion after hitting his helmet on the turf late in Sunday’s game at Baltimore. It also was obvious to the league office.

“Promptly after the conclusion of yesterday’s game, we began a review to determine the facts of the injury to St. Louis quarterback Case Keenum and why he was not removed from the game for the necessary evaluation by a team physician or the unaffiliated neuro-trauma consultant as required by our concussion protocols,” the NFL said in a statement issued on Monday. “We are continuing that review today, which includes discussions with the Rams and their medical staff, the ATC spotter, the game officials, our medical advisors and the NFLPA.  In the meantime, prior to this week’s games, we will reinforce with all involved the need to ensure that these injuries are properly identified and addressed in a manner consistent with our protocols.”

On Sunday, all responsible parties failed to protect Keenum. The fact that the ATC spotter has the ultimate power to stop the game from a vantage point no one on the field possesses means that the ATC spotter had the ultimate responsibility to act. If the ATC spotter can’t or won’t do the job the way it needs to be done, the NFL needs to relieve that ATC spotter of his or her duties and hire someone else.

And if the NFL has any hesitation about removing a player who appears to be in distress but who actually doesn’t have a concussion for five or 10 minutes of real time during crunch time due to competitive advantage, the NFL needs to admit that to itself, and to everyone else.

93 responses to “NFL began immediate investigation of failure to remove Case Keenum from play

  1. It was obvious the moment he grabbed his head that he should have been pulled. Then trying to struggle to his feet… Was the spotter out getting a dog and a beer?

  2. So they cheated. I’m assuming they’ll lose a couple draft picks. Maybe a million bucks or so. Too bad.

  3. The spotter should use replay… Put a spotter on each sideline and have one in the press box.

  4. Oh noes oh noes we might have created some liability for the league !!!!

    Goodell Super Cops must spring into action immediately !!!!!

  5. Playing football is like smoking cigarettes, except one gets paid $$$ to do it, while the other pays $$$ to do it.

    Both know the dangers, both CHOOSE to engage in the activity.

    We all know brain damage can be a result of the game like cancer can be a result of smoking.

    You don’t hear the smokers whining about their illnesses anymore, do you?

  6. Investigator – “Why wasn’t he pulled out?”

    ATC spotter – ” I didn’t see him.”

    Investigator – “Ok, investigation over.”

  7. With the ATC spotter in place, can a team really be at fault for not removing a player if the spotter didn’t instruct them to do so? Curious to see how that plays out in the “investigation”

  8. “And if the NFL has any hesitation about removing a player who appears to be in distress but who actually doesn’t have a concussion for five or 10 minutes of real time during crunch time due to competitive advantage, the NFL needs to admit that to itself, and to everyone else.”

    Beautifully written but they will never admit this. The ATC spotter will be the scapegoat but this is a league wide problem that due to competition & excitement for fans will always be a 2 headed snake.

    Anyone else thought Edelman displayed signs of a head injury late in the Super Bowl that seemed to be completely ignored?

  9. In a few years Case Keenum’s lawyer will have to send a thank you note to the NFL/Rams for providing him with exhibit #1 in their case against the League for Case’s head trauma.

  10. Its obvious the officials didn’t want to force the Rams to use one of their precious time outs since they always do their best to make sure the Ravens lose.

  11. this should be answered after the review of the colt’s tampering with their injury report from over a month ago

    translation: since its not the patriots will will keep telling people we are reviewing it until everyone forgets about it

  12. let’s get one thing clear:

    The NFL has no plans to admit anything about anything

  13. The ATC spotter was probably busy texting someone on their cell phone, happens all the time.

  14. “Promptly after the conclusion of yesterdays game…” is nothing more than covering their rears after PFT wrote their article and the issue started gaining momentum on Twitter. The entire world saw this, and yet even though all game and league officials saw this as well and didn’t act, it’s further revelation of Fisher’s character to leave him in.

  15. Sure, the ATC spotter missed it. But what about the coaching staff that put a concussed player back on the field. That is abhorrent.

  16. >>>holla2626 says:
    Nov 23, 2015 2:10 PM
    Investigator – “Why wasn’t he pulled out?”

    ATC spotter – ” I didn’t see him.”

    Investigator – “Ok, investigation over.”

    ————————————————-

    Not quite.
    Investigator – it’s your job to watch for this. You only have to “do your job” (i.e. look at players taking a head hit) at the end of each play. Most plays don’t result in head hits/bangs, so it’s not like you are over taxed.

    1. Who employs the ATC spotter?
    2. Does the league need another one, in case the first one isn’t paying attention.
    3. Should officials have the authority to call the ATC spotter and ask him to take a look.

  17. An investigation? I wonder how many millions this will cost? I’m also guessing it is more probable than not that the Rams coaches were generally aware that the QB got his bell rung and needed to be removed from the game. For integrity purposes, draft picks must be taken, fines must be levied. What about the keeeeds? Integrity is paramount. Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity! Integrity!

  18. jaxbeachjagfan says:
    Nov 23, 2015 2:10 PM
    Playing football is like smoking cigarettes, except one gets paid $$$ to do it, while the other pays $$$ to do it.

    Both know the dangers, both CHOOSE to engage in the activity.

    We all know brain damage can be a result of the game like cancer can be a result of smoking.

    You don’t hear the smokers whining about their illnesses anymore, do you?
    ***************************
    I get what you are trying to say, however it is apples to oranges comparison.
    Player with a concussion is not expected to be able to make the decision to play or not by the very nature of a concussion.
    In other words, if they are concussed they won’t know about it.

  19. jaxbeachjagfan says:
    Nov 23, 2015 2:10 PM
    Playing football is like smoking cigarettes, except one gets paid $$$ to do it, while the other pays $$$ to do it.

    Both know the dangers, both CHOOSE to engage in the activity.

    We all know brain damage can be a result of the game like cancer can be a result of smoking.

    You don’t hear the smokers whining about their illnesses anymore, do you?
    ***************************
    I get what you are trying to say, however it is apples to oranges comparison.
    Player with a concussion is not expected to be able to make the decision to play or not by the very nature of a concussion.
    In other words, if they are concussed they won’t know about it.

  20. ravenmuscle says:
    Nov 23, 2015 2:13 PM
    Its obvious the officials didn’t want to force the Rams to use one of their precious time outs since they always do their best to make sure the Ravens lose.

    Please. The Ravens don’t need any help losing! They’re a bad team, deal with it and stop making excuses

  21. Years ago James Harrison blew up Colt McCoy. Tough guy that McCoy. Anyhow, next play he is trotting back in, everyone new he was blown up. Hologram “left it to the team doctor”. The team doctor was busy lookin at some kid’s ankle and never saw McCoy.

    Harrison got fined and suspended.
    Hologram and the sideline crew got off Without even a warning from the league.
    McCoy’s dad called out that bunch for the weasels that they are.

  22. Nick Foles saw it – even TV cameras showed him running to grab his helmet and head into the game. No excuse for the Rams coaches for sure, but at least now we know they try to permanently injure all QBs, not just the opposing ones.

  23. Beacuse the game was on the line…

    If your not going to take Edelman out in the Superbowl how can you take out the Rams QB at crunch time in an important game.

    Owners care about safety… unless it could cost them the a win

  24. It was obvious to every fan and media as well, after the game, twitter blew up with what was obvious. After social media blasting the league for being hypocrites, then the league immediately started an investigation. They are clueless, they don’t care, and they are only responding to the outcry. The NFL is heading downhill fast.

  25. I don’t recall this site having that opinion when it came to the Patriots leaving a concussed Edelman in the Super Bowl.

  26. That was embarrassing. I was watching the game live was in complete shock that not one of the officials, doctors, coaches, or players thought to stop the game. First thing he dead was grab his head, could stand on his own, and clearly was concussed. They even had the backup QB start warming up. The NFL has made strides but that was a huge step back in their fight against concussions

  27. Players often stay in until the end of a possession, or even until the conclusion of the game, after receiving a concussion. I find it hypocritical that we are dwelling on this, yet nobody bats an eye when Flacco leads the game winning drive, of the same game, on one leg.

  28. How can this article fail to mention Jeff Fisher? You know, the “respected member of the Competition Committee which is 100% committed to improving player safety” that somehow manages to leave concussed QBs in the game, has a bunch of cheap shot artists in the lineup, and was the only coach unwilling to protect Wes Welker from himself.

  29. In the meantime, prior to this week’s games, we will reinforce with all involved the need to ensure that these injuries are properly identified and addressed in a manner consistent with our protocols…in order to protect ourselves against future lawsuits and liability.”

  30. Multiple blame, including the spotter, doctors and Houston’s head coach. The replay was shown and you could see the force of the head impact and how groggy he initially was. It’s amazing that no one took him out of the game. Just a major fail at every level. Fortunately he didn’t take a second hit to the head in the remaining time.

  31. Greg Olsen gets the bright side of the “unnecessary roughness call”…
    AJ Green gets no call, at all.
    AJ Green about lost his head, no foul.
    190lb DB leads with an elbow on Greg Olsen, and its yellow flag, paradise.
    Hurray consistency.

  32. Another blatant failure by the NFL. I mean, its a shame no ref on the field or fellow player even realized it. The limeman trying to help him up looked like he was pulling up a ragdoll

  33. In 1973 John Unitas was benched for Dan Fouts.
    (Unitas was playing for the Chargers) against the Steelers.

    Steelers were up 38 – 0. Fouts lead the Chargers to 3 scores. The game ended 38-21 Steelers.

    Unitas never saw the field again and Fouts went on to HOF career.

    No one was concerned about being disrespect to Unitas. He couldn’t play anymore.

  34. Just think if they pulled him they would have went into overtime and had a chance to win….but the NFL is investigating, this should end well…..

  35. Just g oo gel or you tube Chris culliver hit on greg olsen.

    Now enjoy that flag, that in essence was a 14-point swing in roughly four minutes of football.

  36. Don’t worry. They NFL has put it’s Top Men on the case.

    Top Men.

    They are still a little busy with the whole Andrew Luck/Injury Report investigation, but they will get to this. Don’t worry.

  37. Ted Wells is looking for a job…he could do an independent investigation of this and conclude exactly what the NFL tells him to. And could get it done in 4 months for only $5 million.

  38. Don Humphrey says:
    Nov 23, 2015 2:52 PM
    ebdug says:
    Nov 23, 2015 2:38 PM
    Has anybody ever seen one of these spotters?

    ——-

    They were downstairs checking air pressure
    ________________________

    Since October began that is only being done indoors

  39. Fisher says let him play regardless bc that’s who he is. Carma to the Rams for cheating all year round with a dispicable d coordinator and cheating head coach who wants the players to play to hurt others.

  40. Edelman was checked by a physician , during the super bowl game, who determined he did not have any signs or symptoms of a concussion. There were no concussion spotters until this year.

  41. I bet Fitzpatrick was too in the Jets – Texans game. As soon as he scored that rushing touchdown that got his helmet knocked off his head, he had to be helped up and stumbled. When he looked into the camera, he had a blank look in his eyes. Everyone I was watching the game with saw it. Then he promptly went out and threw 2 bad INTs. But the training staff and everyone let him go back in. I’d be interested in hearing the reason for that.

  42. To everyone watching the game live on tv, i immediately said to my buddy what the hell is Keenum still doing out there, failure on the team, spotter or whatever, disgusting.

  43. Cmon the ATC Spotter was doing his job. He observed and noted that none of the Ravens’ cheerleaders exhibited Symptons related to a concussion or traumatic head injury.

  44. Meh! Another “Coach Fish” controversy. Fisher belongs in the unemployment line along with Whisenhunt. Dude (Keenum) “…was seein’ stars…” when he managed to pick himself up off the field. The back of his head smacked into the ground from the tackle. Very scary thing to see.

  45. Kam hit Edelman’s shoulder pads, not his head. He was checked by a physician. Saying he needed to be removed is silly and I’m a life long Hawk fan.

    Now,Edelman’s blatant OPI on his TD in the fourth quarter is another story…

  46. Both Keenum and Fitzpatrick for the Yets were seeing flowers and should have been taken out of the game. Both QB’s ended up costing their teams a victory and costing me money.

  47. idioticidiom says:
    Nov 23, 2015 2:42 PM

    Players often stay in until the end of a possession, or even until the conclusion of the game, after receiving a concussion. I find it hypocritical that we are dwelling on this, yet nobody bats an eye when Flacco leads the game winning drive, of the same game, on one leg.

    “dwelling” on a brain bruise that can have permanent repercussions on a person as opposed to a knee injury that can heal is a tad more important Skippy.

  48. Disgraceful lack of concern by the Rams for not looking after their QB. The irony is that the lack of concern may have cost them the game. Hope Keenum is well.

  49. It was obvious to anyone watching that he had a concussion. Therefore the only conclusion we can draw is that the ATC spotter wasn’t watching.

    You had ONE JOB!

  50. plum54 says:
    Nov 23, 2015 3:03 PM
    Edelman was checked by a physician , during the super bowl game, who determined he did not have any signs or symptoms of a concussion. There were no concussion spotters until this year.
    ___________________

    ATC spotters were put in place at the end of 2011. It was only this year that they became employees of the League versus the teams.

  51. Maybe Jeff Fisher, who’s part of the competition committee and has nothing but respect for the league rules (as he made us fully aware a few weeks ago) can explain how he let Keenum stay in the game?

  52. It’s the pressure of making the right call versus changing the outcome of a game. A tie ballgame, late in the 4th quarter, and the spotter didn’t want to pull a starting quarterback off the field. It’s that simple. There isn’t a person in the world that will be able to convince me that the spotter didn’t notice the laundry list of symptoms. Then again, I’m not a doctor. Oh, I forgot. The trained spotters are “independent”. That term “independent” seems to get tossed around by the league fairly liberally.

    While we’re on it. I feel like I have at least a basic understanding of what a guy looks like when he has sustained noticeable head trauma. Can I be hired? Seriously, I would have seen that he should have come out. I don’t have a PHD, but I do have a BA. That should be good enough, right? After all, I’m just sitting there watching football, right?

  53. Unfortunately, the new concussion protocols provide a big incentive to take a head shot at the quarterback.

    Let’s say Tom Brady gets the ball with a minute to go, and the Patriots down four. No timeouts.

    On the first play, a defender blasts Brady with a head shot. He will have to be taken off the field and put through the protocol.

    No Brady. Game over. Patriots lose.

    The same logic applies to every great quarterback. The bigger the game, the bigger the incentive to force him out of it.

    15 yards is a small price to pay to trade Brady for Garapalo at crunch time.

  54. “Anyone else thought Edelman displayed signs of a head injury late in the Super Bowl that seemed to be completely ignored?”

    What the one he went through the concussion protocol for and passed ?

    Also the reason he was having trouble getting up after one play was a hip injury he’d had for a couple weeks at least, was listed on the injury report as such, and was clearly giving him trouble.

  55. I was at the game but didn’t actually see the injury. It had to come at about the 2:10 mark, because the refs [who were horrible all day] whistled the clock dead for “an on the field injury”, and we saw players milling around on both sides of the line of scrimmage, but the clock kept running down to the two minute warning. I have never heard of a time-out for an on the filed injury except for inside the two minute mark. The whole game was bizarre, ref-wise.

  56. Who gets the Gregg Williams bounty payout in a case like this?

    Dirty, dirty Rams. Bad for other players. Bad for their own.

  57. It was clear to everyone watching that Keenum was a tad goofy after his head banged off the turf. Bad body language, stumbling etc…

    Glad they left him in to play as it helped my Ravens win when he threw an errant pass immediately following. But more glad he wasn’t hurt, and I hope he is ok.

  58. This happens more than the NFL wants to admit. I saw JR Sweezy knocked out cold on a run play last year. He was pulling to the right on a sweep play and was unconscious before he hit the ground right in front of the officials and the Seahawks sideline. His arms went stiff and he fell still for about 2 seconds. Then he jumped up and they made him go to the sideline. He returned a play or 2 later.

  59. schmitty2 says:
    Nov 23, 2015 3:21 PM
    idioticidiom says:
    Nov 23, 2015 2:42 PM

    Players often stay in until the end of a possession, or even until the conclusion of the game, after receiving a concussion. I find it hypocritical that we are dwelling on this, yet nobody bats an eye when Flacco leads the game winning drive, of the same game, on one leg.

    “dwelling” on a brain bruise that can have permanent repercussions on a person as opposed to a knee injury that can heal is a tad more important Skippy.

    ————–

    But he does bring up a good point. A torn ACL destroys the stability of your knee. A hit to Flacco could have had permanent repercussions that couldn’t heal. There’s a reason you’re automatically out for the year with a torn ACL. I’m not comparing a head injury to a knee injury but a test could have been performed on the sideline that pointed to an ACL injury.

  60. Wonder if it has anything to do with the fact the fisher is on the competition committee. You KNOW he’s a dirty SOB that would probably have someone’s job for disrespecting his wishes.

  61. The officials should have been suspicious when they asked him how he felt and he answered “which way did they go, George? Which way did they go”

  62. More alarming is that Keenum was allowed to stay in the game. Regardless of whether he was concussed or not, and it sure looked like he was, Keenum should have been taken out of the game. At the very least, the Rams should have wanted to give him some time to gather himself, and in his next two plays looked as though he wasn’t right.

    If Keenum does indeed have a concussion, this is the type of event that costs someone their job.

  63. This gives the impression that the ATC spotter is likely an unemployable nephew of the commissioner that he found a spot on the payroll for. Too busy eyeing up the babes in the stands.

  64. I didn’t see the game or the play but after reading the article and seeing which Team this is, I’m a little confused. Why is it that whenever Bill Belichick or The Patriots sneeze the wrong way everyone wants to try to expose them as cheaters. But nobody ever calls out Fisher for his dirty coaching???

    Giants fan!!!

  65. couple of weeks ago Josh McCown took a helmet shot to the chin, laid on the ground for 10 plus seconds holding his head and was never taken out of the game.

    If it had been Brady and Manning instead of McCown and Keenum they would have called in a chopper to get them to the hospital. The NFL will protect its money makers but average Joe get up and walk it off.

  66. I saw him get popped to the ground and then it seemed like he staggered twice to get up. Then next he is getting back up under the QB and I am thinking “did I just see that where 20 millions other fans watching, didn’t see?”. We were all surprised?

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