Friday, November 7, 2008


I’M SURE New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck won’t be losing any sleep over being fined $7,500 by the National Football League.

But I’m glad to hear that Tuck will be appealing the punishment handed out for his “foul” on Dallas Cowboys’ back-up quarterback Brooks Bollinger last Sunday as he should never have been penalized in the first place.

According to an NFL spokesman, Tuck was fined because “he unnecessarily drove the opposing quarterback to the ground.”

The NFL is taking a tough stance these days on what the organization deems to be “illegal and dangerous hits.” Some say they are making football soft.

Sometimes, there is a thin dividing line between a hard but fair tackle and unnecessary roughness.

To my mind, Tuck’s tackle was within the rules. Replays showed that he hit Bollinger just as he threw the ball. He party released his grasp as they were on the way down and it was only sheer momentum that resulted in his 274 lbs, 6ft 5 in-frame ending up on top of the unfortunate Bollinger.

It was exactly what Tuck is paid to do…get to the quarterback. I’m all for stamping out dirty play, but this was not a premeditated act and is a prime example of the rules having gone crazy.

Tuck fined for doing his job too well

Football is a contact sport, yet as Tuck says about the modern-day quarterback: “You can’t hit him in the head, you can’t hit him below the knees. Obviously, you can’t hit him hard either.”

Giants coach Tom Coughlin did not think the play should have penalized at the time. “The guy was attacking the quarterback. He doesn’t have a checklist that he goes through.”

Many football players – both past and present – believe the NFL has gone too far in protecting the players.

Only last month, Troy Polamalu, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ four-time Pro Bowl safety, said: “It’s becoming more and more flag football, two-hand touch.

“We’ve really lost the essence of what real American Football is about. They’re not really concerned about safety, because people have been doing this for quite a few decades.

“You’ve got to figure out how to tackle people a new way…and it’s too much.”

Tuck, Coughlin and most Giants fans would no doubt agree.

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