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'They should've speared him then'

NFL Forsakes Brady
Jaguars Coach Encourages Players to Injure

How about a fine for Jack Del Rio? The Jacksonville Jaguars head coach said linebacker Clint Ingram was justifed in spearing New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the Patriots 24-21 win over Jacksonville on Sunday.

That's ludicrous.

To be fair, Del Rio didn't say Brady should be speared randomly. He said that his defense should have speared Brady earlier in the game, the first time Brady dove head-first -- instead of sliding feet first, which protects a quarterback -- on a scramble.

(It's kind of like a "Seinfeld" thing: Did he say "They should have speared him then," or "They should have speared him then.")

Um. Jack? Spearing is illegal. Doesn't matter who or when or where or anything. Then, now. In the back, in the chest. A quarterback, a nose tackle. It's illegal. Thought as a head coach in the NFL you might know that.

So, now that Del Rio has openly and publicly encouraged his players to intentionally injure opponents, what is the league going to do about it?

As a corollary, why wasn't Ingram penalized on the play? Is it believable that not one of seven officials on the field, at least a few of whom you would think were following the ball carrier, saw Ingram bury the crown of his helmet into Brady's back?

Sure, Brady got that cheap "roughing the passer" call that gets called way too often. How that can get called and this ignored is mind-boggling. I've seen Michael Vick sidestep on the sideline and take a justifiably hard hit followed by so many flags you'd think it was a ticker-tape parade. And, following such hits, I've heard broadcasters try, convict and sentence the guilty defenders.

But those hits, if questionably late, were legal otherwise. This was not. And I find it amazing that so few Monday Morning Quarterbacks aren't up in arms about it they way they would be if it was Vick or one of their other over-rated heros on the receiving end.

You can guarantee that if it were Peyton Manning getting speared, there would be a penalty, a fine, a suspension and a league-spurred Congressional investigation.

So why none of that?

Ingram's hit on Brady wasn't even mentioned in most national media reports about the game. Hardly mentioned anywhere outside of New England. Didn't really seem to be a big deal -- not like Vick or Manning or Roethlisberger or Palmer or Romo or ...

You don't think ... ?

Nah. It's too ridiculous to suggest. But ...

You don't think ...

You don't think the league simply wants poster-boy Manning, who appears in -- what? six? eight? -- different commercials replayed endlessly ... you don't think the league wants Manning in the Super Bowl that bad, do you?

Or do you?

* * * * * * * *

Yeah, I know what you're thinking: "Geez, Tom. Settle down. Relax. Take a chill pill. Brady's OK. He didn't get seriously injured. What's the big deal? Why are you getting all worked up again?"

The big deal is "What about next time?" What about the time Brady does get injured. Then it will be too late for the league to do anything about it (Not that they would, of course. After all, it's only Tom Brady.). And to allow a coach to say that a player should be speared is utterly incomprehensible and inexcusable.

I'm all for ripping out the rules -- like the aforementioned "Oh, he touched him!" roughing-the-passer fake penalties that make football look more like figure skating -- but the league is clearly showing favoritism for its stars-that-haven't-won (like Vick and Manning) over its been-there-done-that-won-another-Super-Bowl players.