SportsProf

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Sunday, September 08, 2013

What if Clay Matthews' Flying Leap Knocked Colin Kaepernick Out for the Year?

QB runs out of bounds.

Star linebacker for opposing team takes flying leap, almost horse collars the QB.

A flag goes up.  Tempers flare.  QB's left tackle, the guy who protects the QB's blind side, gets a penalty for retaliating.

A few questions:

1.  Why wasn't the star linebacker ejected from the game?  The reasons:  1) a failed horse collar deserves as much culpability as a horse collar and 2) he left his feet when the QB was out of bounds, a clear late hit.  Just because the QB wasn't knocked out doesn't mean that the linebacker did not deserve to be ejected.

2.  What are the criteria for ejection?

3.  What if Kaepernick suffered a season-ending injury from the late hit?  Which, by the way, all major media tweeters thought was dirty.  Then what?  Would the linebacker's late hit be worth the $50,000 fine that the NFL enforcement cops would have hit him with?  Perhaps if not probably.  And what would happen if this were to happen in a playoff game?  My view -- eject the player and bench the opposing team's starting QB.  Otherwise, it's clearly worth it for a defensive player to take a cheap shot at the opposing QB.  The fines pale in comparison to what a win is worth.   And therein lies the problem.

I don't mean to sound harsh, but what's the deterrent?  I know that there are folks out there like Mike Golic who believe that the game is turning into touch football and that it's almost illegal for a defensive player to touch a quarterback.  I get all that, and that is not what I am saying.  What I am saying is that the league should look at the pure math of what is going on and then figure out that it is worth it for a defense to take out the opposing quarterback, because the risk for a late hit/questionable hit only is a fine, is not a suspension, and will not cost the late-hitting team the services of its first-team quarterback. Because that's not the case, the incentive for the star linebacker to take the shot remains.

That is, until the league's star quarterbacks go down, one by one, and we're left to paying top dollar to watch washed up former starters or average throwers take on varsity defenses and then have the games end in defensive struggles.

The NFl needs to figure out something out here before there are more flying leaps at quarterbacks.  Because the next time one happens, one of the league's best QBs will be watching the rest of the season from the press box.

2 Comments:

Blogger Bryan said...

the NFL did make some change to emphasize that instigators get caught and ejected. But it looks like the officials failed to enforce the policy with Mathews.

in the Panthers/Seahawks game Frank Alexander got ejected for a much less violent play IMO.

9:27 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Thanks, Bryan.

I saw the Matthews hit live and the Alexander hit on video. Alexander reacted and hit someone who looked like he was moving away. Matthews took a flying leap and almost collared Kaepernick. If the NFL enforcement officials don't heavily fine Matthews and suspend him, they're basically saying that a team can make an investment in a "take out" hit and that it is probably worth it to play dirty, despite all the changes in the rules to protect the quarterback.

9:51 PM  

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