Dan Quinn on refs flagging Keanu Neal after injury: Use common sense

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Falcons safety Keanu Neal suffered a season-ending torn Achilles on Sunday, and he was so upset that he was weeping on the field. He was also so upset that he took off his helmet and threw it — drawing a 15-yard penalty.

That didn’t sit well with Falcons coach Dan Quinn, who said he wishes the officials would have cut Neal some slack in the heat of the moment.

“I would hope in those instances we use common sense and pick up the flag,” Quinn said, via Jason Butt of TheAthletic.com.

Quinn is right. The rule making it a penalty to remove a helmet is intended to curtail problems like taunting an opponent, getting in the face of an official, or excessive celebration after a big play. It certainly wasn’t intended to penalize a player who’s just been hurt, is taking off his helmet as the medical personnel approach, and throws the helmet in his frustration.

The officials may not have known why Neal threw his helmet at first, but once they saw him crying while he talked to the medical staff and saw him carted off before the next play, they should have realized that this wasn’t worth a personal foul penalty.

59 responses to “Dan Quinn on refs flagging Keanu Neal after injury: Use common sense

  1. Mr. Tyreke-Hill says:
    September 24, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Rules are Rules. Enforce each violation, or enforce no violations
    =====================

    In addition, Neal should suck it up and not cry like a baby when he realizes his season is over, too. Right, tough guy?

  2. Refs are absolutely terrible. They have been on the decline for forever now and showing no signs of improving. Watching refs dictate the outcome of games is just part of the norm now. It’s sad.

  3. This will get fixed in some sort of committee meeting, so that the refs don’t have to choose between enforcing a rule at the wrong time, and doing the right thing.

    (Sure, they should do that on their own. Ain’t gonna happen.)

  4. Some of these referees need to be put out to pasture. That entire crew had the opportunity to use some common sense yet nobody said anything. When do the refs start getting fined for doing a terrible job–like that blown call in that Saints game?

  5. Simple solution– don’t make removing the helmet a penalty after the play is over. Nobody cares if players remove their helmets to celebrate. A player may need to remove the helmet for a medical reason at some point, and the officials are in no position to decide a player’s safety.

  6. Has the Ref and penalty situation ever been worse in the NFL? The last year and half are really killing the joy of the game. I understand head shots and legit roughing stuff but there’s so much garbage they need to just stop and let them ply the game. It awful.

  7. Unfortunately, in today’s society you can’t start making exceptions or everybody will start taking advantage of the situation. Throwing helmets at bad calls and blaming it on cramps or being concussed. That coach in New England is great at finding loopholes and bending rules – it’s because of people like that lawyers will always have jobs and rule books will be as thick as telephone books (remember those?). You have to legislate common sense nowadays. It’s like John Harbaugh said, “there’s a reason positional players have numbers” – everybody knew it, everybody respected the spirit of the intent. But it just takes one person to take advantage of the fact it’s not in writing – so it then has to be put into writing. As unfortunate as this injury was, and the resultant emotional aftermath, you simply can’t pick and choose when to apply the rules.

  8. Just watch a Democrat debate…you’ll realize a sizable portion of this country no longer has common sense.

  9. I would like for the coach to point to the section in the rule book that exempts INJURED players from the rules.

    Yes, we understand, he was upset. He is also a grown man. He is not a 13 year old. All this guy had to do was to stay on the field, allow the medical staff TO REMOVE HIS HELMET and to get the medical attention he needed.

    HE THREW HIS HELMET – how is this not a penalty?

    Man up. Grow up. He broke the rules.

    I also don’t recall Washington QB’s acting like children with HORRIFIC leg injuries. Joey T did not throw his helmet when the Giants dude snapped his leg; Alice Smith last year did not throw his helmet when his drumstick was snapped; and Colt McCoy did not throw his helmet while on the field after breaking his leg (in fact he continued to play while suffering from a broken leg).

    I’m so sick of this cupcake generation feeling like they are special.

  10. If you want to be treated like a man then act like one. Only a child throws objects in anger. Throwing the helmet could injure someone else. How is this behavior something the leagur or any team would think enhances their image?

    I realize this isn’t limited to football. Batters throw bats and helmets, destroy water coolers and generally act like 3-year-olds all the time. NBA players have anger piques as well.

    Stop condoning it. Youngsters watching think it’s cool. So don’t gripe when they destroy your garage in a fit of anger.

  11. The only time a player can remove his helmet when on the field is if he wants to fight with one or more other players. It’s just not fair to fight unless your head is exposed.

  12. Ultraviolet Thunder says:
    September 24, 2019 at 6:55 pm
    I would like for the coach to point to the section in the rule book that exempts INJURED players from the rules.

    Yes, we understand, he was upset. He is also a grown man. He is not a 13 year old. All this guy had to do was to stay on the field, allow the medical staff TO REMOVE HIS HELMET and to get the medical attention he needed.

    HE THREW HIS HELMET – how is this not a penalty?

    Man up. Grow up. He broke the rules.

    I also don’t recall Washington QB’s acting like children with HORRIFIC leg injuries. Joey T did not throw his helmet when the Giants dude snapped his leg; Alice Smith last year did not throw his helmet when his drumstick was snapped; and Colt McCoy did not throw his helmet while on the field after breaking his leg (in fact he continued to play while suffering from a broken leg).

    I’m so sick of this cupcake generation feeling like they are special.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    These kids today don’t work like we work and they don’t think like we think.

    GOOD FOR THEM! THANK THE JEBUS!

    We’re the geniuses that were given the greatest country this world has ever known at the end of WWII and we completely WRECKED it. In 70 short years! Now THEY have to try and put this wreck back together again. If you’re not willing to help them, at least get out of their way as they go about it.

  13. “The rule making it a penalty to remove a helmet is intended to curtail problems like taunting an opponent, getting in the face of an official, or excessive celebration after a big play.”

    Is it? I thought it was for safety. As in, it’s not so safe to be on the field without a helmet on. And it’s even less safe to have hard objects like helmets flying around.

    Throwing his helmet is an understandable, relatable human reaction. It’s also dangerous for everyone around him.

    It’s not a fine, or ejection, or suspension. It’s just a penalty.

  14. For every rule that is written there will always be a situation that makes that rule seem excessive… See calvin johnson rule. Take the penalty and move on or expand the rule book and make the game even more unwatchable then it has become.

  15. I understand the notion that he shouldn’t have been flagged, but rules in the NFL are best when they’re black and white, because there is no room for interpretation and the possibility of favoritism.

    There are too many rules with gray areas due to the inherit action of the sport and fans get upset by them every weekend. Seems like some are talking out of both sides of their mouths.

  16. Common sense? What’s that? A brazenly unqualified madman who makes up everything as he goes is the leader of the free world. Common sense is gone and dead.

  17. patswillreign says:
    September 24, 2019 at 7:19 pm
    Those refs have a job to do…and that job is to cover the spread.
    _______________________________________________________________________
    If THAT came out and was proven true the entire league would be shut down within months…….
    if not weeks.

  18. Some of these comments are absolutely ridiculous. So we now have to tell injured players withering in pain to make sure to keep your helmet on? Just use common sense like the man said..

  19. It’s fun watching the one remaining Redskins fan talk about the tough, old players like Gus Frerotte didn’t knock himself out headbutting the stadium in a fit of emotion.

  20. Almost every game someone is injured and out for the season. If a guy threw his helmet every time he got injured, and seriously injured an innocent bystander, we’d want some accountability. Hey, guys shoot guns in the air on the 4th of July. Let them be. After all, they’re celebrating America’s birthday. C’mon cops. Use some common sense. What, are you unpatriotic or something?

  21. Whole buncha “tough guys” who would break the speed limit to get to the ER if they dislocated their pinky toe, bustin’ on a guy who just suffered the worst injury in sports, one that could end his very lucrative career.

    Golf clap, tough guys. Golf clap.

  22. I can’t believe people are actually defending the referees here and making absurd analogies such as shooting guns, etc. I would say this 100% illustrates the major problem with NFL officials. They have no comprehension of the concept of the “spirit of the law”. They also often times screw up the “letter of the law.” Quinn is right. The refs are wrong. Anyone who can not see this, well…I just don’t know.

  23. No. It’s a rule. Period. It’s an emotional game and players go through many different ones during a game. They still need to learn to work around their emotions. Getting emotional and crying in front of everyone is what it is but there is no excuse to throw your helmet. Would be cool if it was AB or OJB? Of course not.

    So should the rule say “A player is only permitted to throw your helmet if he injures himself and get emotional about it.”?

  24. That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve heard all year, but doesn’t surprise me in a world where Tom Brady didn’t fumble because he did a quick pump fake a minute before fumbling in ” the tuck rule” game.

  25. Fire Riveron – he is definitely beyond his level of expertise. You are who your bosses are and these refs have just made too many bad calls both this year to date and last yea. If you cant get the job done then you need to be done.

  26. I guess every guy that runs a red light getting his wife to the hospital because she’s in labor should get a ticket too right foggy? It’s called common sense..

  27. From the NFL rulebook under Player Conduct – Unsportsmanlike conduct

    “REMOVAL OF HELMET
    (h) Removal of his helmet by a player in the field of play during a celebration or during a confrontation
    with a game official or any other player.”

    This was NOT in the act of celebration and NOT during a confrontation with an official or other player. It was just the frustration of an injured player. Therefore, no penalty should have been applied.

  28. It is probably the stupidest penalty and was probably created so Richie Incognito and Vontaz Burficit don’t take their helmets off and use them as weapons.

  29. Al Riveron stated, “After review, Neal unequivocally removed his helmet prior to the play, committed three fouls on the field, then faked a torn achilles, thus deserving the penalty”.

  30. THe amount of new of holding flags and roughing flags, illegal motion etc…is ruining the game. Every week dozens of TDs are pulled off the board because of penalties that nobody can see or understand. The reffing has and will impact the game. They play of the teams should decide the outcome, not the officials.
    Oh and if you’re trying to make the argument that a bouncing helmet can hurt someone, you’re part of the common sense problem.

  31. If it’s a rule, it should be enforced. The problem here is not the refs enforcing the rule, the problem is the rule itself. There is already a rule for unsportsmanlike conduct, just give removing the helmet as an example of one way the rule may be enforced. This would give the refs the leeway to enforce or not enforce depending on the circumstances.

    Also, absolutely, if you run a red light, you get a ticket. That law is a safety issue. You can decide if running the light, risking lives and getting a ticket is worth the risk. If it is worth it, then risk the ticket. If you, then, get a ticket, pay it.

  32. if the rule is listed as rangitamoe stated (and reprinted below), then it should not have applied here.

    “REMOVAL OF HELMET
    (h) Removal of his helmet by a player in the field of play during a celebration or during a confrontation
    with a game official or any other player.”

  33. I’m a Saints fan. I hate the Failcons. If every player on their team game down with a season-ending injury, I might grin a little.

    But, c’mon, throwing a flag and then not picking it up? Horrible and inhuman.

  34. Typical America blaming officiating instead of the transgressor.

    The offical only went to the flag AFTER Neal throws his helmet, not when he was taking it off. Under NO circumstances are you ever allowed to do that, so STOP MAKING EXCUSES.

  35. raideralex99 says: “Hmmmmm … Somebody bet heavy on the Colts.
    Falcons 16 penalties
    Colts only 4 penalties.”
    ————————

    Half of the Falcon penalties were dead ball fouls – seriously 4 encroachment penalties in one game. LEARN TO LINE UP PROPERLY.

  36. The author (and Quinn) are ignoring a key aspect of the penalty. If he had just removed his helmet he likely would NOT have been flagged. He THREW the helmet which should have been flagged as it was. If he had hit an official or opponent with the helmet should that have been ignored because he was obviously upset? That is absurd. It is a shame he was injured and I get the frustration but if you chuck your helmet across the field you should be flagged every single time.

  37. The rule should be 16 yards for “taunting” and not for removing the helmet. Does the league think players can’t be heard through their face mask? Those helmets are damn heavy and I don’t blame players for taking them off once in awhile.

    In this instance, Neal suffered a severe injury that ended his season and he probably though it might have ended his career. I don’t blame him for what he did.

  38. I was at the game, as a Colts fan, and I booed the penalty. It was ridiculous. Ebron and other Colts players were pleading with the refs to pick the flag up and they wouldn’t do it. Absolutely zero common sense or awareness…but we’re talking about NFL refs, so no one should be surprised!

  39. raideralex99 says:
    September 24, 2019 at 9:31 pm
    Hmmmmm … Somebody bet heavy on the Colts.
    Falcons 16 penalties
    Colts only 4 penalties.

    —————————————————–

    Somebody didn’t watch the game and just looked at the stats! They deserved all of those penalties, except for this one on Neal

  40. The officiating in NFL will be the downfall of the league. It is pathetic and the Commissioner and the owners are to blind to see it. College does it right. Just watch the games and it is pretty clear.

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