Former Baltimore Ravens LB Ray Lewis expressed his outrage over this flag on Monday Night Football and promised to pay half if Ahmad Brooks was fined. He even foolishly questioned the toughness of Drew Brees after Brees said he knew immediately it would draw a flag. Will Lewis keep that promise to pay half now that the NFL has decided to fine Brooks $15,750 for the personal foul hit?
Initial reports say the fine is $16k, but Nola.com's Larry Holder has confirmed that the amount is actually $15,750.
Much has been said on TV and radio about this hit ever since the game ended with a 23-20 victory by the Saints. If there was any doubt over whether this was indeed a personal foul as stated in the current (not the past!) NFL rule book, the league office has now made clear that it was indeed an illegal hit on a defenseless player.
The news of the fine comes as no surprise: Some may say that there’s nothing defensive players can do anymore, but the NFL has made it clear that what defensive players can and must do is hit quarterbacks above the knees and below the neck. Brooks hit Brees in the neck, and that’s a foul the NFL wants the officials to call every time.
Brooks can appeal, but it would be a big surprise if he wins that appeal. In the NFL in 2013, those are the hits the league office wants to eliminate.
The NFL's vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, said Tuesday on NFL Network that referee Tony Corrente made the correct call.
"You can't make forcible contact to the head or the neck area, even if the contact starts below the neck and rises up," Blandino said. "If there's force to that contact, it's a foul. Watch the initial contact, maybe around the shoulder, but it rides up into the neck area and brings the quarterback down with force.
"That's why the flag was thrown for unnecessary roughness."