Seahawks clearly violated concussion protocol; what will NFL do about it?

Getty Images

It’s obvious that the Seahawks violated the concussion protocol when allowing quarterback Russell Wilson to return to Thursday night’s game without a concussion evaluation. The question is whether the NFL will do anything about it.

Adam Schefter of ESPN report that the Seahawks “are expected to face consequences” for the failure. Even if they do, what will they be?

Previously, every situation involving a player who did not receive a concussion evaluation when he apparently should have did not result in discipline for anyone. Instead, the league would find a reason to excuse the irregularity by finding some obscure loophole in the rules and issuing a “don’t do that again” admonition.

The difference in this case is that, unlike prior cases, the concussion protocol was activated when the referee sent Wilson to the sideline. At that point, the Seahawks had no choice but to give Wilson an evaluation. And they didn’t.

So what will the “consequences” be? As noted on Friday, a revised policy unveiled in 2016 provides that, for a first offense, the team faces a maximum fine of $150,000. Which means it can be less than that.

Elsewhere in the policy appears an explanation that, if the league and the NFL Players Association agree that aggravating circumstances exist, the fine will be at least $50,000. Which implies that there’s a chance the outcome will be that Wilson innocently slipped through the fingers of team doctors and trainers, and that the fine could be what amounts to, for a franchise owned by one of the richest men in the world, the fine for taking a book back a day late to the library. (Google it, kids.)

To summarize, while the Seahawks may indeed face “consequences” for what occurred on Thursday night, the “consequences” for their behavior may be sufficiently minimal to prompt owner Paul Allen to shrug and say, “Consequences, shmonsequences as long as I’m really, really, really rich.”

50 responses to “Seahawks clearly violated concussion protocol; what will NFL do about it?

  1. Fraudger will investigate this as hard as he did the phantom clock-stopper last week and the Seahawks’ underinflated k-balls in 2016 – on which he is right now summoning a $5M investigation on each – and he come down as hard on them as he did for their profuse lying about Sherman on most of last season’s injury reports.

  2. Why hasn’t the NFLPA complained about this? I thought they were supposed to look out for their players? Maybe all they care about their players after all…they only care when it involves money.

  3. It’s ironic that this site has so much venom towards the league considering it’s livelihood depends on it. Quite the paradox.

  4. It’s a work in progress, I don’t think the fine is as important as getting the system right. Get the thing worked out correctly.

  5. Maybe the goal is to hold the stewards of the game accountable for engaging in a series of bad decisions, with the goal of ensuring that the dominant sport in the country won’t lose 23 percent of its audience in the 18-49 demographic in only two years oh wait.

  6. Isn’t supposedly an independant Dr’s job on the sideline to put him through the test? If true the league had better check out that Doc’s independence.

  7. Willful disregard of rules designed to keep players safe. Sounds like conduct detrimental to the shield to me. Fine of a mil, lose 1st round draft pick, Wilson suspended 4 games.

  8. When an official sends a player off the field for the concussion protocal, a mandatory time frame should be established (much like the NHL penalty box), during which the player is prohibited from re-entering the game. This time frame, pre-determined by league physicians, would be the minimum time needed for a full and adequate concussion protocol. No fine needed for re-entry violations as this rule would prevent any player from re-entering the game prior to the expiration of this time frame.

  9. This is easy for the league and Seahawks to get around. Have the ref say he didn’t send Wilson to the sidelines because he thought it was a concussion, but because he needed to get his chinstrap fixed, or thought he dislocated his jaw (or some other likely reason). It didn’t look like a concussion hit. It didn’t look like Wilson was concussed. Frankly, I don’t agree with the flag on Dansby or Walt Anderson sending Wilson off the field. Yeah, the Seahawks and Wilson broke the protocol, but the protocol shouldn’t even have been invoked in this case. Yeah Dansby’s helmet hit Wilson in the jaw but Wilson is short and Dansby’s hit would have gotten a normal sized QB in the chest. I’m for safety but I can also see why some fans complain about the wussification of the NFL.

  10. Reminds me of that time they were repeatedly caught running extra illegal practices across multiple seasons, and fined all of their Monopoly money and a 12th round pick.

  11. Simple solution going forward. When a ref sends someone to the sideline for concussion evaluation, he confiscates said players helmet and delivers it to an NFL employee to possess. When said employee, or the ref himself, is informed by the independent neurologist on the sidelines the player has cleared the protocols, he gets his helmet back. End of problem.

  12. nite2al says:
    November 12, 2017 at 9:22 am
    Edelman and cheating Pats will let you know.
    Edelman went through the concussion protocol and PASSED!! That’s the difference between the two situations, Wilson DID NOT go through the protocol!!

  13. I didn’t watch the game but sounded like this was all on Wilson. He was told to go to the sideline for the protocol, went into the tent and told the docs he was fine and ran back out on the field if what’s been posted here is correct. Didn’t sound like Pete Carroll or any of the coaching staff even had a chance to get involved.

  14. One year dynasty. Sad that team fell
    Apart so fast. I mean they won’t be back in super bowl for another 40 years.

  15. God it’s so hysterical to listen to all you sore loser team fans trying so desperately to make the Seahawks out to be cheaters. They’re better than you. Just accept that and move on. There’s less evidence the Seahawks “cheat” than there is for Trump/Russia collusion.

    Unless you count a couple of camp scrubs who didn’t make the team getting in a fight during a mini-camp practice. Yeah, that really rises to the level of deflating footballs for 8 years to reduce your fumbling.


  16. chc4 says:
    November 12, 2017 at 8:09 am

    It’s ironic that this site has so much venom towards the league considering it’s livelihood depends on it. Quite the paradox.

    It’s quite refreshing. If I wanted biased reporting, I’d go to ESPN.

  17. Mike Florio says:
    November 12, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Maybe the goal is to hold the stewards of the game accountable…

    That’s an admirable goal unfortunately that ship has sailed. The ‘stewards of the game’ are all gone. The likes of Pete Rozelle, Wellington Mara, Ralph Wilson, Rooney Sr. and Lamarr Hunt aren’t coming through the door ever again. It’s nothing but a cash cow to the majority of today’s owners and by the time they are done poor old desiccated Bessie will be lucky to yield powdered milk.

  18. Haha Please, Seahawks are an average team now. Nobody fears that old slow defense anymore. Offensive line is just embarrassing, for years. Like the Packers, Seahawks had a nice run with no depth, bad drafts and sheep like fans who wouldn’t know any better. A couple years from now Seahawks will move to LA.

  19. poor seahawk Mike embarrasses himself by posting there was “deflating of footballs”, he apparently still doesn’t understand 7th grade science , because if he had paid attention in 7th grade science class he would understand there was “no deflating of footballs”

  20. The punishment will be the same as what the team got each week when Dick Sherman held or committed PI on every play and was seldom called.

  21. Yeah, that really rises to the level of deflating footballs for 8 years to reduce your fumbling.

    Agreed, The amount of pats homerism in this thread is sickening

  22. seahawkboymike says:
    November 12, 2017 at 11:00 am

    God it’s so hysterical to listen to all you sore loser team fans…

    You know what’s really hysterical? That coming from sehawkboymike/mbara/oursis who still trolls New England on a regular basis. Hypocrite

  23. I understand that mistakes can happen and some players can escape scrutiny and slip through the cracks. That is NOT the case here. IMHO, this was a deliberate attempt to ignore the safety rule. The fact that he went into the tent (and passed) before the next series is irrelevant and shouldn’t hold the weight the league will likely give it. The referee SENT him to the sidelines. At that point, the team has no choice but to immediately go through ALL of the concussion procedures thoroughly. They didn’t, and anyone who saw the sequence knew it. The league should enforce the maximum fine for a first offense (unless there is a prior offense I can’t recall). Any other action allows future lawyers to strengthen their claims.

    On a side note: The NFL needs to fix the procedures. IF an official sends a player to the sideline for a concussion check then there should be an official time out (regardless of when it occurs) and the protocols can be performed during the commercial break. The game wouldn’t really be extended if that stoppage replaces a normally scheduled TV timeout.

  24. The refs clearly violated the ‘fair play’ Act of 1989. What is the league looking to do about that? 1 whole drive held up by flagged failed 3rd down attempts over and over and over and over. How about a 25,000 fine for that back judge missing Wilsons facemask sack on the 3rd play of the game. He agenda is obvious. How about force the refs to watch both teams instead of just anticipating a penalty on one.

  25. Well run organizations would have a punishment in place when they put the violation in place. And the punishment should be harsh enough that the consequences of breaking it are greater than the rewards.

  26. “poor seahawk Mike embarrasses himself by posting there was “deflating of footballs”, he apparently still doesn’t understand 7th grade science , because if he had paid attention in 7th grade science class he would understand there was “no deflating of footballs””

    He also apparently doesn’t know the year after deflategate the Pats had the lowest fumble rate in the league. Of course actual facts are never considered by people like him.

  27. If you set a rule and it doesn’t immediately change the behavior it is too lax or too ambiguous. Here the latter is not the case. If those making rules see them ineffective and don’t make a change they do not actually want the behavior to change. Instead rules become the public facing veneer to keep customers happy and strategize for future law suits. This is all a very conscious dynamic to keep the product on the field and minimize exposure when their weak rules still cause harm to the product.

  28. Even though I’d love to pile on the Seahawks for this considering their fans have trolled New England for years that wasn’t the only sketchy thing that happened during that game. There was an entire drive upheld by flags to keep it within 1 possession. The officials were just as sketchy as Wilson was. Those officials should be fired and Wilson needs to be the one fined and suspended for this not the Seahawks organization.

  29. News flash: He didn’t have a concussion. Hence, he shouldn’t have had to go through the protocol. I know it cuts the legs out from under this entire uproar but should be noted.

  30. If the officials were so adamant of Wilson leaving the game to get checked (and the whole world saw he didn’t) Then why did the refs let him back in the game? The concussion guy upstairs can buzz down and stop the game…Yet they didn’t. The NFL should review the SHODDY officiating it’s not like they weren’t making bad calls all night. Seems too easy for old Zebra to say “I think you have a concussion you need to leave the game” Smells like H.S. to me.

  31. @patsfan1820…I was at the game with my gf who is a Cards fan. Even she was saying that the entire sequence of flags on that drive was weak and suspicious. The incentive to keep a Thursday night game close is obvious. Did they do that? Who knows? Wilson did come back too quickly I admit, but he wasn’t even concussed. So in this scenario, the Seahawks are getting hurt by the referee as opposed to the ref actually helping Wilson. This article takes the position that Seattle or Wilson did something wrong when in fact they were the victims of an over zealous referee. They were also the victims of several bad calls on the touchdown drive you mentioned.

  32. So just to get this straight–no other team has ever been punished for this, but for the Seahawks you believe that they should be fined, docked draft picks, and should force Wilson to sit for 4-6 games. Yeah, that’s fair.

Leave a Reply

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