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Patriots' Wilfork Fined, Colts' Reid Celebrated .. Go Figure

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Anatomy of a Helmet-to-Helmet Hit
Patriots Fined, Colts Not .. again

New England's Vince Wilfork was fined $15,000 for allegedly poking New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs in the eye. Yet, there have been no fines for Indianapolis special teamer Darrell Reid's vicious helmet-to-helmet hit on Tennessee's Chris Henry.

During the Patriots-Giants game, there was constant pushing, shoving and yelling from play-to-play (wasn't there supposed to be some kind of new "in-your-face / taunting" penalty this season?). After one play, Patriots linebacker Junior Seau was penalized for delay of game for allegedly holding down a Giants player after the play (that never gets called either -- just this once on the Patriots). During the ensuing pushing and shoving, Wilfork stuck a finger inside Jacobs's facemask.

Wilfork fielded a question about the incident on his website, and said:

I have received a number of questions about it that just assume I was trying to poke him in the eye. It was nothing more than them doing trash talking and in the heat of the moment I pointed my finger in his face. I did not make contact with his eye or anything like that. After that it was over, on the field emotions are high there were several bumps amongst players and trash talking the whole game. It was one of the biggest games of the season and we all had a lot of emotion in the game. When things like that happen it is all heat of the moment and once the moment is gone it is over. There are no hard feelings and I really think the commentators did a great job of blowing it up. When the game was over we all said our byes and that was that.
Meanwhile, the league turned a blind eye to Reid's hit. Below is a 9-frame animation of the hit with each frame split out afterward. It is a clear helmet-to-helmet hit.

After the hit, Reid danced around like Shawne Merriman and pointed at his name on his back. Real classy team player.

Frame 1: Lining up the hit. -- Colts coverage tackler 6-foot, 2-inch, 288-pound Darrell Reid (95) lines up 5-11, 230-pound Titans kick returner Chris Henry (42). You can see Reid getting in position.

Frame 2: Getting low; bracing for impact. -- Reid gets his upper body low. Henry checks up, anticipating the hit.

Frame 3: Lowering the head. -- Reid lowers his helmet. Both arms are pinned back, not exactly going for the wrap tackle.

Frame 4: Before the hit. -- Reid leads with his helmet.

Frame 5: Initial impact. -- Reid's head is in the center of Henry's body. This is not a shoulder hit. This is clearly leading with the helmet, and if Reid is not purposely going helmet-to-helmet, he's beyond the shadow of a doubt spearing.

Frame 6: Getting the facemask. -- Note the back of Henry's helmet lifting, exposing his neck and hair. That's from Reid's helmet smashing into Henry's facemask.

Frame 7: Head snap. -- Henry's head starts to snap back from the impact of a helmet-to-helmet hit. If Reid hits Henry in the chest with either his head or his shoulder, Henry's head would snap forward.

Frame 8: Just a blur. -- Henry's head snaps back at such speed that his head is just a blur. Note: Reid lowered his helmet so low that you can see Reid's name on his jersey above his helmet. Neither shoulder touched Henry.

Frame 9: Before the hit. -- Both players are fully off the ground. Reid "launched" himself at Henry. That's illegal too.