No fine for Cedric Thornton

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Cowboys defensive lineman Cedric Thornton avoided a flag for whacking Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford in the head last Thursday night. Thornton also has avoided a fine.

Per the NFL, Thornton was not financially penalized for his unpenalized instance of roughing the passer on the two-point try that would have forced overtime.

It’s hard to know with any uncertainty what a decision to not fine a player means. Does it reflect a belief that the blow to the head was not forcible and thus not a penalty? Or was it possibly forcible enough for a flag but not for a fine?

Regardless, the decision not to fine Thornton keeps the NFL from implicitly admitting that referee Tony Corrente got it wrong last Thursday night. And it seems in recent weeks that the league has made a shift, deliberate or otherwise, away from openly acknowledging officiating errors. (Indeed, the Week 13 media video from senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino addresses two plays from the Cowboys-Vikings game, but make no mention of the missed call on the fateful two-point conversion.)

On one hand, the transparency is admirable. On the other hand, it’s troubling — to the extent that the NFL is wallowing in a slop of flaws that it’s doing little to correct, either by using full-time officials, enhanced replay review, or a video official who would bridge the gap in real time between what seven officials don’t see on the field and what millions watching at home do.

29 responses to “No fine for Cedric Thornton

  1. You can bet if it was Erin Rogers who got hit or not hit in the head there would have been a flag and a fine. Another one of the NFL’s problems is the unabashed bias the officials have for the g/b and dallas.

  2. There is nothing to harp on here. The “blow” was to the facemask, which isn’t as obvious if the player’s head doesn’t get pulled in the process (which also means that against non-QBs this wouldn’t have been a fasemask penalty under any circumstances). Because it IS contact with the head, if noticed it is a clear penalty, but it understandably wasn’t noticed.

    Blows to the head that result in fines are supposed to be REAL blows to the head. Most of the time, when a flailing defender catches the facemask, it is just a hand being slightly out of place, and even on replay we could see there was little real force behind the “hit”. So the verdict is: penalty according to the letter of the law, understandable that in real time the “hit” might not have been seen, and no fine because even if it had been a penalty there was nothing potentially injurious about the contact made. Clear now?

  3. I could handle the refs missing a call here and there better if they would stop making penalty calls on plays where there isn’t one. ie last year’s facemask call against Detroit on Rodgers that wasn’t… Those are the calls that make me pause when people say the games are fixed.

    I would be in favor of a limited use of video officiating in the final 2 minutes or maybe the entire 4th quarter when its way more difficult to overcome a blown call by the refs.

  4. False start on the left tackle during that play. So it should have been placed at the 12 yard line, and reattempt. Yet, nobody talks about what should have been 2 straight false starts.

  5. Further proof that the whole system is a cluster bomb.
    If this was Tom Brady, there would have been a flag and a fine.

    Isn’t it the number one issue, player safety?
    Get another ref on the other side of the field to protect the QB.

  6. Well if this is graze to the face mask is worthy of several stories on why it wasn’t called then I’ll just start waiting on the story or stories of why there was no flag for twisting Cole Beasley’s head around by his face mask in the game against Pittsburgh. Go ahead PFT I’m anxious to hear your take on that no call….not that I expect it to happen

  7. It wasn’t even a “blow” to the head. His arm was coming up and Bradford’s head was coming down. It was incidental contact to the facemask. What, was he supposed to freeze a fraction of a second before contact? Or make his arm disappear? What was an actual penalty was the left guard who had a false start with the ref looking right at him. I believe it was #67, Zac Kerin in on that play.

  8. sddartman says:
    Dec 9, 2016 5:46 PM
    You can bet if it was Erin Rogers who got hit or not hit in the head there would have been a flag and a fine. Another one of the NFL’s problems is the unabashed bias the officials have for the g/b and dallas.
    ===================================
    I’ve also heard someone upset on PFT that Dallas gets more home games than others.

    The league does do more to protect certain superstars at times, it seems. Teams? Not so much. It’s usually the opinions of silly fans that hate a particular team that think the officials favor that team. These are often the same people who think that the refs are biased against their team. Yet, when their team gets a call that they shouldn’t, you won’t hear a thing from them.

  9. frank booth Dallas gets more home games than others? Each team gets 8 home and 8 away games. I wouldn’t take somebody’s whiny rant on here to be any more than what it is. A whiny rant.

  10. gmen5280 says:
    Dec 9, 2016 6:18 PM
    Further proof that the whole system is a cluster bomb.
    If this was Tom Brady, there would have been a flag and a fine.

    Isn’t it the number one issue, player safety?
    Get another ref on the other side of the field to protect the QB.
    —————————————————-
    Haven’t you been paying attention? If it was Brady, they would have penalized Brady for hitting the defenders hand with his helmet. And taken away a draft pick, fined them $500,000. dollars and given it to Mara.

  11. Considering the amount of non-calls we witness every weekend on a regular basis, I fail to see why anyone finds this surprising. the game is already rife with play stoppages for more important things like say, penalties for making snow angels. Why would we want to break up the flow foi the game for bonk the QB on his head?

    The horror, the horror…..

    The NFL continues to be dragged down the hole of pettiness and superficial appearances..thanks, Rog.

  12. No comment also about the face mask on Dak in that game, also uncalled. Nice article about ‘player safety’ because poor Sam Bradford received an unintentional and non-injurious slap on the helmet. Cry me a river Bradford and others. Let’s all protect his feelings.

  13. There are still 2 days before the next game, so hey, you have time for 3 maybe 4 more articles bemoaning this non-call. Maybe even a video interviewing a millennial from Minnesota who feels psychologically damaged from the lack of an official’s flag.

    Freaking out for days about something that didn’t get called against Dallas has become part of the PFT schtick. Started with that Detroit game…

  14. No hit or swipe of the head would cause the ball to be that overthrown so it didn’t cause the 2-pointer to even up the score.
    What about the missed call on the Vikings-Cowboys game where clearly, Beasley had his helmet turned around as he caught the ball; the refs later made up for it on a lesser, still a penalty call on Jason Whitten for having his face mask pulled.
    Every year, the calls seem to get worse; the ones called & the ones not called. It truly takes away from the game along with the games where excessive calls are made.
    A billion-dollar, multi-billion dollar enterprise can’t get this right??

  15. I personally think that if a player is fined for an uncalled infraction, the official that missed that call should also be fined. It’s time that the NFL stop shielding the Ref’s mistakes and start demanding accountability.

  16. Anything that riles up the emotions of the Viking fans gets my approval. It’s not like they are lacking excuse making ability but this just provides more fodder for the off season, their 56th in a row where they will be claiming the paper off season championship yet again.

  17. The core issue is the horrific job week after week by the referees. The NFL, by not doing something to correct the problem that can be seen by the entire football world, is complicit in the farce that is NFL officiating.

    If they won’t admit to a problem, they won’t bother to fix it.

  18. Remember when the NFL gift wrapped a win for GB over the Lions when the defender tackled Aaron by the shoulder and threw him down like a rag doll but the official called a “face mask”. That was funny.. They probably fined that defender for touching precious Aaron.

  19. There wasn’t a fine because there wasn’t a call, and there wasn’t a missed call because nothing was missed.

  20. If anyone should be fined it’s Tony Corrente. He stood right there and watched it and there should have been a flag. Players breath on erin rodgers and get flagged all the time.

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