Sunday, January 1, 2012

NFL Clean Play reviews - fines should go to retired players' healthcare costs

Tonight, while watching a slow-mo replay during Giants vs. Cowboys, I noticed a defensive back grabbing & slightly pulling down the receiver's hand during the play - an infraction that went unnoticed by the officials and was not penalized.  The two were running at full speed, so the hand-grab clearly broke up the play when seen in slow-mo.   Worse was that it was at a key moment of the contest, and would have likely produced a large gain in yardage, possibly even turning the tide and eventual outcome of the game.

Problem:  Though it may be true that the randomness of the calls / no calls likely shows no long-term effect on any team; it definitely did influence the outcome of this play, this game, and this team's post-season.  It may also be argued that the ability to cheat covertly is a skill, and part of a good player.

But there's the key word:  cheat.  No one in America who saw that could deny the karmic discrepancy they just witnessed.  He got away with a small cheat, and it made a big impact.  The less of this we see in football, the better.  Just imagine such a competitive sport with the greatest athletes in the world...
With less cheating.  The quality of play will go up:  All the good with less of the bad.
Solution:  Justice & Philanthropy.  Just because they got away with it during the game... let's not let them get away with it.  Then, hopefully, we'll see less of it.  Here's how:
  • NFL Creates a group of 5 or so guys to review every game-tape from the 2011 season, and come up with a set of consistent rules & infractions.  Everything from post-play jackass "fouls" like helmet-butting an opposing player on the sideline, up to unseen and outright cheating with a heavy game-influence, like the example above.  Assign some penalty weight to each type of infraction, and penalize players each week of the 2012 season as a percentage of their salary or game-checks.  Set some mins and maxes for each infraction so none of the fines get crazy.
  • Set the fines at a pretty harsh level.  For a player that makes, say:  $1,000,000 a year - I'd expect that fine to be around $50,000 for the infraction stated above.  For those jackass helmet-butts:  $1,000.
  • Then, encourage teams to take this on their own:  Meaning, that if they submit there own reviews and fines-processing before a weekly deadline, then any infractions already penalized will be half of the NFL review amounts.  This way, they can handle it in-house, and minimize the hassles for the NFL.
  • Take all the money that comes from this, minus the expenses / salaries of the NFL's 5 review guys, and pay for retired NFL players healthcare costs on a need-basis.  Hire 5 or so guys & gals to figure this part out too - won't be a problem, they'll have plenty of money to work with.

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