For years, NFL officials resisted ejecting players for unnecessary roughness. In the past two weeks, two players have been sent to the showers.
The hit from Falcons safety Damontae Kazee on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton resulted in ejection for unnecessary roughness, not for lowering of the helmet and initiating contact. The NFL has confirmed via email the announcement made by referee Bill Vinovich from the field.
It could have been either, and it presented the NFL with an opportunity to provide a concrete and tangible example of the consequences of lowering the helmet and striking an opponent with it.
Like the ejection in last week’s Bengals-Colts game, Vinovich made the decision to eject, and it was confirmed by NFL senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron.