The National Football League (NFL) is attempting to soften its image this season by reiterating its position on illegal and dangerous behavior on the field. League officials have released numerous video statements outlining the NFL’s stance on illegal hits and unsportsmanlike conduct. The League’s attempts to quell the violent and potentially catastrophic hits through fines and suspensions have enraged fans and provoked commentators and players to speak out publicly. After all, the sport of football is violent by nature and taught to be physical by coaches the world over.
Even during the ’70s, when John Madden coached the Oakland Raiders, they were known for their “dirty” play and heated rivalries. Ha! It seems as though the Raiders have a heated rivalry with just about every NFL team. They’ve had issues within their division, out of the division, within the State of California, out of California… you get the idea. The Raiders have been at the center of physical confrontations since the ’60s, when they first played the Denver Broncos and lost. Madden left the team long ago, but the antics still go on today – literally!
After the Pittsburgh Steelers’ controversial quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, completed a 22-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders for a touchdown with 1:23 left before the half, Oakland’s veteran defensive lineman, Richard Seymour, struck Roethlisberger with an open-handed punch to the chops. Big Ben immediately fell and the players from both sides began to scuffle as yellow penalty flags were flying and dollar signs began to virtually disappear from Seymour’s wallet.
Richard Seymour was “off-the-chain” in Sunday’s game, and it’s not the first time the 10-year veteran has been called for unsportsmanlike conduct. On Dec. 27, 2009, Seymour was flagged for extracurricular activity; then, even before the next play could be run, he was flagged again for comments made to referee Jeff Triplette.
What is going on in the NFL? One thing is for sure — they are cracking down on this type of activity. It’s bad enough to punch a player during a game, but this normally quiet team leader hit the dang quarterback! He hit Big Ben, Big Ben hit the ground and you can count on the League hitting Mr. Seymour where it hurts the most – right in the checking account.
The “Steeler Nation” may have been in an uproar over the altercation, but Sunday’s 35-3 smashed the whole Raiders bench and the entire city of Oakland in the jaw. Paybacks are a bitch, huh?