Adalius Thomas Fine Proves NFL No Longer Rewarding Those Who Hit the Hardest

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Adalius Thomas Fine Proves NFL No Longer Rewarding Those Who Hit the HardestHardy “Thumper” Brown would be filing for bankruptcy by the end of September if he played in today’s NFL.

Deacon Jones would need to work at least three jobs during the week to play on Sundays, just to keep from going broke.

Dick “Night Train” Lane might not make it through one game.

The NFL was built on big hitters, but all of them would have a tough time lasting in the 21st century version of the game. We’re not saying the league has gone soft, but tiddlywinks is considering filing a lawsuit for infringing on its right to be nonaggressive.

The 2009 season is less than two weeks old, and the NFL already has begun handing out questionable fines like Tic Tacs. Adalius Thomas is the latest player to be a little lighter in the wallet because of a dubious call. The Patriots’ linebacker was docked $5,000 by the NFL for “roughing” Trent Edwards. The officials ruled that Thomas unnecessarily slammed Edwards to the ground. But from every replay angle, it looked like a good, clean, hard tackle. Thomas was just finishing the play as Edwards fought to wiggle free and keep the play alive. There was no evil intent. No ill will. No harm, no foul, no blood, no ambulance.

It was football. Sam Huff would call it justice. Willie Lanier would call it supper. The referees called a penalty.

Maybe the zebras would have preferred if Thomas gently tucked in Edwards with a glass of warm milk, a cookie and a bedtime story.

Look, we know the NFL wants to protect quarterbacks this season. Nobody wants to see Tom Brady – or any player — sit out 15 3/4 games because of an injury. But football is a contact sport. There are inherent risks in a game where people run into each other on purpose. That’s why players take home more in a week than most people earn in a year.

If the league wants to start making it illegal to tackle quarterbacks, the game could get watered down quick. That’s when the NFL’s bottom line could be impacted.

The more fines the NFL hands out for questionable calls, the less likely players might be to make big hits. The less big hits, the less exciting product on the field. Less excitement equals less interest. Less interest means less revenue. And less revenue is a big problem.

The rules were put in place to protect the players, but there's a difference between protection and coddling. The latter is what could end up hurting the game.

The call on the field didn’t affect the outcome of the Patriots-Bills game, but is it so far-fetched to think one of the new rules – intended to make the game safer — could influence a final score?

The Adalius Thomas fine was meant to send a message to all 32 teams — handle every signal-caller with care. But being too careful could be detrimental to the overall health of the NFL. The league didn’t become America’s sport because it reminds people of needlepoint.

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