NFL fines Lavonte David for unpenalized helmet throw


The opening game of the season featured Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David removing his helmet and throwing it onto the ground after failing to make an interception on a third-down Dallas play in the red zone, with Tampa leading, 14-13. No flag was thrown. A financial penalty, however, has been imposed.

The NFL has announced that David has been fined $12,875 for unsportsmanlike conduct for the helmet throw.

Some had argued that the play should not have been penalized because it’s a foul only if the helmet is removed as part of a celebration, demonstration, or confrontation. It seemed clear at the moment, however, that it was a demonstration of frustration. The league agreed.

As one source with knowledge of the application of the rule recently told PFT, removing the helmet and throwing it in frustration has always been a foul.

Which brings us back to the fact that the Cowboys should have had a fresh set of downs, instead of settling for a field goal. Which brings me back to the point that a sky judge/booth umpire could have supplied the extra set of eyes to spot the foul, when the officials on the field obviously failed to do so.

Although bad calls made at the end of a game get far more attention because the bright line between mistake and outcome is more obvious, bad calls made at any point in the game can potentially influence the outcome. The Cowboys could have had seven instead of three — and that could have made a real difference in the final score.

30 responses to “NFL fines Lavonte David for unpenalized helmet throw

  1. The funny thing is, when David picked his helmet up, he immediately looked around for the flag that never came.

  2. Bucs won because of the refs. Chris Godward doesn’t get a flag for pushing off and then the David helmet throw.

  3. curtis20 says:
    No Fun League

    Because randomly throwing a solid, potential weapon around 21 other guys is totally safe and more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.

  4. What kinda penalties do the refs get for calling sloppy games and missing calls? We all know they get the crappies slate of games, but is that it? Because I could care less what game I was calling if my game check stays the same.

  5. I was very surprised there was no flag for the helmet throw. It was in clear view of the officials and should have gotten the penalty

  6. chino62885 says:
    What kinda penalties do the refs get for calling sloppy games and missing calls? We all know they get the crappies slate of games, but is that it? Because I could care less what game I was calling if my game check stays the same.

    You can take every word you wrote and just as easily apply it to the players.
    Referees, like players, are flawed human employees who get paid. Like players, they have good days, mediocre days and very bad days.
    Players’ paychecks stay the same whether they play good teams or bad teams, and they get the same checks whether they play well or sloppily. If you want to fine officials for missing calls and calling sloppy games then you have to fine the players for poorly thrown or dropped passes, missed tackles et al.

  7. A sky judge only matters if the NFL is willing to apply the same rules for all 32 teams…..and they’ve showed time and again, both in game and out, that they are not… judge would be great for those select few teams……

  8. ….which brings us back to the fact that the NFL isn’t trying to get the calls right. They do not want the players deciding the outcomes of games and point spreads. It would be much more worthwhile to ask why, than to keep pretending the league is trying to get the calls right, but they’re just stumbling and bumbling. They ain’t stumbling and bumbling. It’s nice to think we’re so much smarter than the people running the league. That we can come up with ways to fix it, and they can’t. Lol. They ain’t trying to fix it. In their minds, it ain’t broke. There’s a ton of money being wagered on NFL games every week. Tons. Too much to just let the chips fall where they should be falling. The league obviously wants those chips to fall closer to where they want them to fall.

  9. chino62885 says: “Because I could care less what game I was calling if my game check stays the same.”

    Peter King did a piece for MMQB where he followed Gene Steratore for a week. Every play of every game is reviewed for EACH of the seven field officials for all calls/non-calls.

    On Tuesdays, they need to justify to the league (NOT you or the media) for their call. Playoff assignment bonuses are awarded based on season grading. Steratore also said multiple years of underperformance grading and you’ll be “asked” to retire.

  10. The refs are there to influence the outcome of the games . . . period. And they do. They’re supposed to. That’s why the NFL is classified as “entertainment” and not a sport. That way they are free to manipulate seasons of each team. It’s a private good ol’ boys club among the owners!

  11. Did the NFL fine the refs for the bogus call against Za’Darius Smith?? When they start doing this things will be on a level playing field.

  12. And as a second there are teams that are “League” favorites and teams that take the screwings routinely!

  13. And as an edit of the above statement you’ll never see Pittsburg getting the screws. The Rooneys run this league.

  14. Not only did the refs not throw a flag but TV ignored it as well. They went straight to a break and didn’t replay it on the otherside, meanwhile I’m sure Dallas fans were screaming across living rooms across America.

  15. So what?. What about the huge no calls when Vita Vea was clearly being held? Anybody anyone who thinks the BUCS have gotten breaks from the refs hasn’t paid attention to the last 15 years. So everyone thinks the league is favoring Brady and all the refs are in on it. I just want to know where are the secret meetings in the dark by candle light happening when ALL the refs and the Comish meet? Let me guess there’s a secret trap door underneath the Jets stadium. Where they conspire and save samples of their d.n.a.

  16. Goodness. All these years of football we all know there are penalties on every play that get missed holding on the line, pass interferance ect. The refs do the best they can its like balls and strikes and plays at each base in baseball. You do the best you can. Woulda shoulda coulda Florio.

  17. For all of you writing:
    > The games are fixed.
    > The refs are crooked.
    > The league favors certain teams.
    > It’s all a sham.

    I gotta ask: Why do you still follow the NFL? Why do you still watch the games? Why do you still come to this site? Why do you still post comments here?

    I would think you could find better things to do with your time if it is so bad.

  18. judgement calls are one thing, blatantly ignoring or not enforcing a penalty is something completely different. it was a penalty, at least one official had to have seen it. the games are too close to have such terrible officiating. the justin herbert “fumble” last week was almost as atrocious

  19. Ronnie Harrison’s punch/push happened right in front of a refs face and wasnt’ immediately called a foul….
    Seems like the refs had an akward opening weekend.

  20. I don’t believe it’s a conspiracy, but the Bucs certainly had calls go their way week 1. There were a few missed calls against both teams, but at every key point of the game it seemed like Tampa caught a break from the refs. Also, McCarthy has the play calling skills of a potato – so Dallas probably would’ve blown it either way.

  21. The league office really knows how to clean up the league, ignore some bad guys in this league and their off field actions and fines removing helmet. Big applause.

  22. Should it have been a penalty? Sure. Is it worthy of all this debate? Nah. The helmet was thrown after the play, and not at an opposing player. It had no direct impact on the outcome of the play. A missed holding call, of which there are plenty every NFL game, is more concerning.

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