Plenty Denial, but No Discipline, in Detroit

The Lions are still committing needless penalties with their unhinged approach, and it's clear they refuse to look in the mirror. But where are they getting their cue?

Jim Schwartz needs to get Ndamukong Suh and the rest of the Lions in line, or his job can be in danger this offseason.
Jim Schwartz needs to get Ndamukong Suh and the rest of the Lions in line, or his job can be in danger this offseason. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

It’s a pure coincidence that the words Detroit, denial and discipline all start with the letter D, but I’ll bet you can already see where I’m going with this.

When Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz watches his notoriously undisciplined team quickly re-enforce its reputation in its Week 1 win against Minnesota, then says there’s nothing to apologize for, he’s in denial about his role and responsibility.

When Ndamukong Suh delivers a block that’s been illegal for years in the NFL, but says he didn’t mean to injury Vikings center John Sullivan with the blow, he’s in denial and missing the point.

And when we’re just 72 hours after the first Lions game of the season and again talking about this team’s glaring lack of discipline, there’s absolutely no denying the problem still exists—and has existed for years now—in Detroit.

Suh is $100,000 lighter in the wallet after the NFL came down on him Tuesday for his illegal block in the first half of the Lions’ 34-24 win over the Vikings at Ford Field, but that should not be the end of this story. He has been fined before, and even suspended, and his reckless behavior continued, so why should we believe this time is the charm? With repeat offenders, even ones who have been recently named a team co-captain and lauded for their increased maturity, words are meaningless and only actions count.

But to beat up on Suh alone for the Lions’ flag-filled opener against Minnesota (11 penalties for 88 yards) leaves us guilty of not standing back far enough to see the big picture. This is a larger problem than Suh in Detroit, and it won’t go away until someone in the Lions organization realizes the issue has to be corrected from within. Detroit’s players and coaches have to care enough about the pattern of chronic discipline failure and self-inflicted wounds to address it, police it, and bite the bullet of accountability when need be.

Call me skeptical that any of that has been taken as seriously as it should be in Detroit in the first four-plus seasons of the Schwartz coaching era. Like any other problem in life, admitting the issue exists is taking a big first step toward solving it. And it’s pretty clear the Lions still don’t fully grasp their responsibility for the controversial label they wear.

As Lions receiver Nate Burleson said on Tuesday, in reaction to Suh apologizing to his teammates for putting them in the position of having to battle back from his mistake: “He also said, with him having a target, and people looking for him, they’re looking at us in the same light. So as a team we’ve got to understand that the microscope is on us.’’

Hard to miss the sense of denial and unmistakeable persecution complex in that statement. If Suh has a target on him, it’s because his repeated actions have earned him one, egregious infraction by egregious infraction. The microscope is on him and the rest of the Lions for a very good reason, and it’s not because the league or the game officials had a meeting and decided to make Detroit’s life as miserable as possible. Even in his apology, Suh underlined his basic lack of understanding of how he got to this point. The actions create the reputation, which attracts the extra attention. That’s the way it always works, and always has. It is not a which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg type of debate.

The search for the root cause of Detroit’s discipline failures has gone in a lot of different directions in recent years. But I know I’ve heard one particular theory more than once in talking to people around the league who have insight into the Lions’ team culture, and it’s that veteran defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham’s take-no-prisoners coaching style could be part of problem.

(Gunther Cunningham) doesn’t want to do anything to reel in the passion of his players, but he also needs to remind them that they’ve got to live within the rules.

Cunningham, the veteran NFL coordinator and former Chiefs head coach, is a widely respected and in some cases beloved figure in the game. But he’s also a highly emotional, old-school, won’t-back-down style coach, and the most succinct way to describe his approach to the game is passionately unapologetic. He’s going to do what he thinks is right, and coach his way, and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of his methods. His nickname is “Gun,’’ and he’s been known to shoot from the hip.

Players routinely love playing for Cunningham, but his reputation is as a tough, no-nonsense guy, and he can be rough on his players. He’s vocal and demonstrative, can be volatile, and wears his emotions on his sleeve. Players feed off his energy and intensity, but sometimes that edge can cut both ways. Some league sources I’ve talked to think that Suh and other Lions defenders could be getting something of a mixed message from Cunningham. His coaching stokes the passion of his players, in order to get their sell-out best on game days, but then he doesn’t always offer enough words of caution on when to take their foot off the accelerator and stay on the safe side of the yellow line.

And Cunningham has been a bit quick to view the NFL as an us-against-the-world environment at times, bemoaning that the league or the game officials are out to get whatever team he’s working for, without counter-balancing that approach with enough doses of reality. As one close observer of the Lions told me: “He doesn’t want to do anything to reel in the passion of his players, but he also needs to remind them that they’ve got to live within the rules. At times, what the players also need to hear is, ‘Look, this is the way it is, and we have to conduct ourselves accordingly.

“We don’t have to like it, but we have to do it. Because when we don’t, it leaves our whole team vulnerable.’ I think that’s a legitimate concern in Detroit at this point.’’

Interestingly, Cunningham is coaching back upstairs in the coaches’ box this season, not on the sideline as he has the past three seasons in Detroit (he also spent the 2009 season up in the box as coordinator). It’s nothing more than conjecture, but some believe it’s a move that indicates Schwartz knows Cunningham’s emotional sideline demeanor can serve to fan the flames of the Lions players at times, and not in an always helpful way. For a team with a well-known discipline problem, less might be more when it comes to game-day emotions, and removing Cunningham from the sideline environment might be a step in the right direction.

Ndamukong Suh has a long list of controversial NFL moments, but none more so than alleged groin kicks he laid on the Packers' Evan Dietrich-Smith (left) and Texans' Matt Schaub in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Ndamukong Suh has a long list of controversial NFL moments, but none more so than alleged groin kicks he laid on the Packers’ Evan Dietrich-Smith (left) and Texans’ Matt Schaub in 2011 and 2012, respectively. (Andrew Weber/US Presswire :: Paul Sancya/AP)

Ultimately the Lions won’t shed their reputation for routinely hurting their own cause until they stop routinely hurting their own cause. There can be no more taunting penalties like the one safety Louis Delmas committed in the second quarter against Minnesota, when he ran over to seemingly help break up a scrum on the Vikings sideline and wound up head-butting a receiver and drawing a flag. That play, Schwartz said, more than anything else last Sunday, hacked him off in regards to his team’s lack of composure.

Somewhat ironically, Suh and fellow Lions co-captain, quarterback Matthew Stafford, reportedly led a players-only meeting last week and talked about having a greater sense of accountability to each other this season, and being responsible enough to eliminate a lot of the mistakes of over-aggressiveness or a lack of self-control. And then last Sunday unfolded, and Suh wound up right back in the headlines. Go figure.

Schwartz, himself a former Titans defensive coordinator, is said to be spending more time and energy on that side of the ball this season, and is trying to be more involved on defense, seeking to empower his players to take control of the discipline issue. Not to make a comparison in terms of severity, but perhaps Schwartz learned from Saints head coach Sean Payton’s mistake of not keeping better track of what defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was preaching on defense in New Orleans in 2011, the year before the team’s bounty program surfaced. The Lions coaching staff this week even told rookie tight end Joseph Fauria and running back Joique Bell to tone down their end-zone celebrations after both put on over-the-displays against the Vikings — a sign that attempts are being made to work on the self-control issue.

What that tells me is that Schwartz fully comprehends the urgency of 2013, and the tenuousness of his job security. He and his staff know the discipline issue could wind up being the tipping point, and the mistakes of last season can’t be repeated if they hope to see a sixth year on the job. The Lions need to win again, as they did in their breakthrough 10-6, playoff-berth 2011 season, and they need to clean up their act and prove they’ve learned their lesson when it comes to beating themselves.

But Week 1 against the Vikings convinced no one that Detroit can play with self-control, even if the Lions did win by 10 points. Instead, they looked and sounded like they still believed the rules don’t completely apply to them, and their issue is more about how they’re perceived than how they actually play.

In Detroit this season, the denial has to end. It can’t be the same old Lions, playing the same old undisciplined game. The problem is only theirs to fix.

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63 comments
Oroxil
Oroxil

Banks is a hack and will take every opportunity to bash the Lions as he always has. If he were a real journalist, he'd remove his personal feelings, do the research and provide facts to quantify his opinion. Instead, he dances around facts relying on heresay and conjecture. You don't have to like the Lions, but you also don't need to vilify them because it is the in thing to do. If this is the level of journalistic integrity that sports illustrated espouses, then it is time to get my sports news elsewhere. I say that, not because we have differing opinions, but because writers like Banks care little for the facts. Sure it is an opinion piece, but he uses no facts to back up his views. Shame shame shame

DapollousThaRapGod
DapollousThaRapGod

I got about six lines into the story and I seen he couldn't have done no real research. When he said "Suh delivers a block that’s been illegal for years in the NFL" . WRONG its only been illegal for a few months. So warning don't believe everything u read online!  

ChrisWyman
ChrisWyman

Another article aimed at jealous football fans. Hope it never stops!!!

HacknZack63
HacknZack63

If the Lions were serious about bringing about a change in Suh's behavior, they would take it upon themselves to suspend him for as long as the CBA allows (I haven't read the bargaining agreement, so have no idea what limitations are in play).  Sometimes a short-term loss can bring about long-term gain.  Suh being cut does nothing; he plays elsewhere.  Suh being fined $100K does nothing, he makes millions (and don't give me crap about his paltry $630K actual salary when he took like $11M bonus money).  Sitting the player and giving him time to really contemplate what it means to not be part of the team's success (ok, cough in disgust as you think of "Lions" and "success" in the same breath) might be enough to convince him that it is up to HIM to DO the right thing.  Actions, big fella, actions.  I love his passion; I've just always wondered why he can't rein in that passion instead of letting it control him instead of vice versa.

NFL_Madness
NFL_Madness

I think the only thing that will change this man is to be cut and not be picked up by another team for a while.  I know, though, that if the Lions cut him, there will be another desperate team grab him quick.  He knows it too.  He doesn't respect the game, he doesn't respect the players, and doesn't respect himself when he does things like this.

JeffCrosthwaite
JeffCrosthwaite

You R what U do.  The Lions will be marginal no matter what their talent level is if they can't get their heads under control.  They won by 10.  It should have been 20+.  Dynasty teams (Packers, Steelers, 49ers, Pats)  didn't do that.  The Lions might be feared, but they won't be respected, and it starts and ends with the coaches.

ianlinross
ianlinross

Dumb players do dumb things. Smart players seldom do dumb things. (a Bill Parcells adage)

CMFJ
CMFJ

While my first reaction was that I agreed with the thesis, the article never provides convincing evidence, instead cherry picking information and speculating.  

A good example is the number of penalties the Lions had in the game.  While for a full season, the number of penalties are a useful measure of overall team discipline, for a given game they should be broken down by category, particularly since this article is mostly about the defense being overly aggressive.  This leads me to the other faulty argumentation strategy employed in the article.  While a defensive player lining up in the neutral zone is lack of discipline, that really is not the kind of thing to which Banks is referring - he means players making borderline dirty plays.  Banks seems disinterested in building an actual case for that by providing actual data on the number of plays that actually fall into that category.  Sure, that would be all judgement calls, but I suspect that sites like ProFootballFocus note such plays and could be leveraged to write a good article about this.

This leads me to two other complaints:

- Banks does not provide any context for the # of penalties the Lions committed - it is more or less than usual?  Is it out of the range of the average NFL team, i.e. is it an exceptional number of penalties?  My feeling is that it is, but for the yardage, it seems like a lot of 5 yard infractions.  

- re: Cunningham.  If this theory is true, it would be easy to quantitate the number of penalties his defenses take vs the NFL average over his many years of coaching.  


I know Banks is just giving an opinion, but he really needs to be more engaged in providing supporting arguments than trying to construct a narrative using semantic tricks to make it seem as though he has provided foundational evidence.  He hasn't.  


Please Mr. King, banish "Donnie Brasco" from The MMQB.

Lou Brown
Lou Brown

That's a whole lot of words for a guy who had 3 penalties all last season.

Also, 2 groin kicks is BS, Banks.

This strikes me as the same lazy "reporting" as Mr. King.

Mike26
Mike26

Gregg Williams coached under Jeff Fisher (Oiler DC before HC); Schwartz coached under Williams as Asst. DC at Tennessee (Fisher was HC).  All have had numerous players known as dirty, cheap, sneaky-illegal, etc.  

Is this a coincidence?  I think not.  The problem is the man who cultivated this dirty, spoiled, immature behavior = Fisher = is the only one of the three to NEVER be called to task about it in the media.  Heck, no one questions his barely-.500 coaching record.  Why?  He coaches his coaches and players to play "hard" and "Do whatever it takes" = and when things go badly they have little interest in correct it. 

BrianJ.Kolo
BrianJ.Kolo

Don Banks, You sir are a hack. The rule was just implemented this year, as for your emphasis on personal penalties, did you know that Suh ranked 105th in the NFL? And the Lions ranked as a team total around 17th or 18th in the league? So what of the other teams below us, I'd say they had worse issues wouldn't you?? Ladies and gents, this is a perfect example of a writer with no facts that puts together a fluff piece chopped apart and reworded into his own article. Good job on doing your research and journalism, next time you might wanna look up some stats before you pass judgement. Your article is just a well written slander piece based off of no original thought of your own!

flamiemcflamerpants
flamiemcflamerpants

Not to be a Lions apologist, but it should be fully understandable why the Lions are in this situation.  Coming off the worst season in NFL history, Schwartz and the coaching staff had to instill an aggressive mentality with the players.  They turned a blind eye to undisciplined calls on the field because they said "we're just trying to be aggressive".  

Now it's biting them in the butt! The team is good, loaded with talent, and are primed to become a great team for a long time.  But, now because that mentality has been instilled, they're trying to pull back and it's a slow process. 

What is shown in all of this is that the coaching staff plays favorites.  Willie Young points a finger, and is benched.  Suh and Delmas could have cost the Lions the game, and nothing happens.  The coaching staff is undisciplined themselves, and I don't think anything will change without changing the staff.

I like what Schwartz has brought to the table, I love what Mayhew has done as well.  But 'Gun' and Linehan are going to ruin this team, Gun with his undisciplined approach, and Linehan with his vanilla, unimaginative offense (Highlighted by passing on 2nd and 1, and 3rd and 1 with three backs that have no problem getting 1 yard).  

Just think though, if they would have fired Schwartz in the offseason, they could have potentially got Andy FREAKIN' Reid as HC.  Could you imagine the Lions offense with Reid at the helm???????  

Ericfollowedbyanumber
Ericfollowedbyanumber

I think I just figured this out, and I feel stupid for not figuring it out earlier. The NFL is about one thing only: cash. They're going WWF (or boxing, if you prefer) on us with this story, and it's working. We need heroes and villains to play the part, as that puts butts in the seats, eyes on the tee vee, and clicks on the web. So Suh and the Lions are doing their job, and writers like Don Banks are pitching in; everyone wants to know what the bad guys will do next and how the league will respond. It's brilliant.

Look at Floyd Mayweather. He didn't start hauling in the PPV cash until he became a bad boy. Brilliant business, even if most boxing fans hate him and want him to lose. The boxing media are complicit in this. Everybody makes more money this way.

Absolutely brilliant. Nice work, Don.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Jim is as bad as Suh or any other player. He has NO people skills and needs to go. Suh IS a piece of garbage and maybe a bounty placed on him would help.  He is a liar, cheat and fraud. But it's Detroit....they deserve each other.

bgolisch
bgolisch

Was Don Banks watching the same game I was? Detroit showed a whole lot more discipline this year than in the past. Last year, if they had a first quarter like they did, it would be game over. 78-yd TD. TD called back. Botched FG attempt. Game over. Back your bags. Blow out is on its way. Rather, Detroit kept it's composure. Held AP to 17 yards up until the last series, and won the game decisively. Suh made a bad decision in the heat of the moment. Yeah. Duh. Took 6 points off the board. Could have injured the guy. That's why the rule change (this year!). It was a boned-head play. He apologized to the team and to the player he hit. He took accountability for his actions. Somehow this is lost on writers like Banks, who already have there story written before looking at the facts. Your better than this hack job.

jptrueblood
jptrueblood

Gotta say in a relatively neutral position, Suh's hit, while clearly against the new rule, wasn't nearly as egregious as the late hit on Ryan in the Saints game when Ryan slid, a hit that clearly affected him the rest of the drive, if not longer; and the Clay Matthews hit.  I haven't even seen the hit on Ryan mentioned in the media when it could be argued that play and the subsequent decline in Ryan's play was the difference in the game.  It wasn't even on any of the highlights.  Kind of shocking to me that two egregious late hits on big name QBs go unmentioned and unfined but a dirty hit during play by Suh gets him a 100k fine and multiple articles on SI and NFL.com.  BTW, I'm a Bengals fan and have no horse in this race on any of those games.

jptrueblood
jptrueblood

It's obvious the Lions think the league is against them, which is completely unfounded and shows a state of denial. -Theory Posed by this article.

Click next.

Megatron clearly caught the ball and scored, any child of 5 watching the game could tell you that, but the refs ruled it incomplete, again.  Compare his non-catch to Victor Cruz's touchdown and in almost exactly the same circumstances Megatron clearly established control far more than Cruz.  Cruz's was called a TD.  This is the second time it's happened to Johnson, it's almost like there's a bias against the Lions!

Umm... which is it guys?

rskins09
rskins09

Well coached team don't commit many penalties ...Look at the Dolphins (Shula) , Packers (Lombardi)   vs the Raiders  .....

rskins09
rskins09

Remember in the 1970's  Mean Joe Green  punched a OG, OT in the stomach  AFTER the play was over ..Player fell to the ground in pain ..About two days later  Green had to fly to NYC to talk with Pete Rozelle ..Rozelle  fined him  $5,000  ( a lot then )  and told him  that if he  ever did anything like that again he would ban him  for life  from the NFL ..There's  was no press  conference from Rozelle  or Green...Suh  seems he is just plain  out of control  the past few years ..Roger Goodell ought  to do something fast with Suh ... 

tdeanmck
tdeanmck

It is always so comforting to know that some things never change - the media will jump at the easiest aspect of a story if it will grab attention.  The penalty called on Suh was recognized by most outlets as being new this off-season and a large number of media members have noted that is you watch the entire play, the block was illegal, but not egregious.

I have issues with Suh and the way Schwartz/Gunther encourage their players to play on the edge, but Clay Matthews hit on Kaepernick was much more flagrant...WHERE IS THE MEDIA OUTRAGE?!  It doesn't fit the easy narrative for cheeseheads as it does for "thugs" from Detroit.

Lazy reporting / editorializing Banks.

gary41
gary41

Last year the Lions made too many mistakes--including turnovers and they continue to pick up unnecessary penalties.  Are they playing with discipline?  No.  Is this a coaching problem?  Yes.  Playing with enthusiasm is a part of the game, but well coached teams do not beat themselves.  Suh is a dirty little problem, but his behavior directs the spotlight in the wrong place.        

sailingknight
sailingknight

Funny how many errors of data and grammar are in this article.   Technically, that rule was just put into place this off season.  Completely discredit your entire stance.  If I made this kind of mistake at my job, I'd be unemployed.

Gs1
Gs1

It starts at the top. Schwartz acting like a little biatch because Harbaugh back slapped him too hard for his own taste. Nice example.

Largeladdc
Largeladdc

Yawn.  Yes Suh is a bad boy, but the Lions won.  If they had no penalties and lost you would say they lack passion. 

BY
BY

Either the Lion coaches are afraid to discipline Suh or they do not care. Either way they are ultimately responsible because they are condoning his actions. I personally did not think this penalty by Suh was all that bad but the guy does have quite a rep for dirty play.

jeffchadwick
jeffchadwick

Just a horribly inaccurate, factually lacking article.  As mentioned previously, the block in question was banned over the offseason, not for "years."  How does Don Banks not know that?  

TravisLee
TravisLee

Anyone remember Jared Allen's blindside on Lance Louis for a fine of $21,000?

DaveG
DaveG

Have you ever noticed that in the NHL if a player gets a penalty the coach yells at the ref.  But in the NFL the coach yells at the player.  Someone need s to point out to the Lions that they are playing football.

Having said that I just figured it out: Fine the coaches.  If good old Gunther has $50,000 taken out of his pay - and maybe a two game suspension as well, then his "signals" might be somewhat more clear.  Same with the head coach, fine the hell out of him and the player. Maybe the ejection of a player from the game (and it's only a matter of time until Suh gets to that) should trigger the ejection of his position coach too,  Then after say three of these incidents in year you could add the loss of a draft choice or two and that might even get the attention of the GM. 

I'm guessing that should the NFL adopt those  proposals, then they almost certainly would never have to use them. As if by magic Suh would be much more controlled on the field.


Thundrra
Thundrra

The saints had an "alleged" bounty program. 


Mike26
Mike26

Gregg Williams coached under Jeff Fisher (Oiler DC before HC); Schwartz coached under Williams as Asst. DC at Tennessee (Fisher was HC).  All have had numerous players known as dirty, cheap, sneaky-illegal, etc.  

Is this a coincidence?  I think not.  The problem is the man who cultivated this dirty, spoiled, immature behavior = Fisher = is the only one of the three to NEVER be called to task about it in the media.  Heck, no one questions his barely-.500 coaching record.  Why?

gjb1024
gjb1024

DON BANKS, your article is filled with so many inaccuracies, its hard to believe any editor would allow it to be printed! Address the CLAY MATTHEWS hit on KAP last sunday, one he boasted about leading up to the game. Where is the outrage? He's a GB Packer, so he cannot be criticized we assume. The Ravens lead the league in personal fouls last year, and are off to a great start after one game. But you are not calling their organization a lack of discipline. The low block was put in effect this year, NOT one that has been in existence forever as you say. BANKS, you like many others, have issues with anything new. And that gets attention. Deal with it. SI has a "discipline problem" if they let non-factual articles like yours appear on a nationally read website.

ChrisTaylor
ChrisTaylor

Something you guys have to realize is that SI (like any magazine) is _forced_ to write stories with a particular angle.  And the best angle is the one that garners the most attention and conversation.  So, any person/thing/act of controversy is going to be milked because people don't want to be bored.  It's another form of entertainment and take it for what it is.  Something to generate conversation and nothing more.

BenHursh
BenHursh

Last year the Baltimore Ravens had 11 personal fouls and 16 Unnecessary Roughness penalties, which included two hits Ed Reed made on defenseless receivers, that specifically garnered two $50,000.00 fines. Why didn't Reed's second fine balloon? Where were the calls for Harbaugh to discipline his team? We have three Ravens, already, who have committed unnecessary roughness penatlies this year.....3. We also have 3 by the St. Louis Rams, with two specifically by Cortland Finnegan......Over the last 5 years Denver has been near the top for Unnecessary roughness and Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalties, New England as well as San Francisco, Baltimore and Carolina over the past 3 years. Why do we not hear these statistics? 

Mike26
Mike26

@Lou Brown Yeah, Suh is just "misunderstood".  

Or, more likely, you've got no clue what playing inline is like at all.

Mike26
Mike26

@BrianJ.Kolo How far did you have to dig for those "facts"?  Suh could be rated 1000th and he'd still be a top-2 or 3 Dirtiest Current Player chart-topper.  He's dirty, he doesn't care, Schwartz doesn't care, etc.   Enjoy another losing season fellas!

BY
BY

@tdeanmck Agreed about the Matthews hit with one exception: Does Matthews have 10% of the history that Suh has in terms of late hits and cheap shots?

runyonr
runyonr

@gary41 would you know if clay did have late hits, and dirty play? would it be spotlighted as much as this. The reason you know at all about Suh is because of the bull crap the media puts out there. 


The cut block wasnt a dirty play, Its the same angle a tackle cuts a DE at. im not arguing right or wrong. 


But Matthews was on TV and radio all wekk talking about hitting the quarterback, "making him scared to leave the pocket" and then blatantly hits him out of bounds, sound like to me he was trying to follow through on his gameplan, illegally

KolnerGiant
KolnerGiant

@Largeladdc Have you ever watched a game where a team ended without any penalties?  I suspect not.  Rarely do teams commit such large numbers of penalties and remain successful.  Not never but rarely.

rskins09
rskins09

@BY     Pete Rozelle   would have jacked Suh up two, three years ago ...Don't think Goodell has a spine sometimes ..He, Suh gets away with two much ... And, no don't  feel  the NFL is picking on him  as the Lions want you to believe in there press conferences  ....Don Shula would have cut him two years ago ...The guy is out of control...

BY
BY

@jeffchadwick So Banks gets one fact wrong and this invalidates the whole article? Not for me. I agree with him.

Brentabrown
Brentabrown

@ChrisTaylor That's okay for SI, but is it also okay for the NFL?  Doesn't a professional sport have a responsibility to fairness and game balance that outweighs the desire to create Heroes and Villians?


Mike26
Mike26

@BenHursh Gregg Williams coached under Jeff Fisher (Oiler DC before HC); Schwartz coached under Williams as Asst. DC at Tennessee (Fisher was HC).  All have had numerous players known as dirty, cheap, sneaky-illegal, etc.  

Is this a coincidence?  I think not.  The problem is the man who cultivated this dirty, spoiled, immature behavior = Fisher = is the only one of the three to NEVER be called to task about it in the media.  Heck, no one questions his barely-.500 coaching record.  Why?  

marmott
marmott

@Mike26 @BrianJ.Kolo Suh had one personal foul penatly last year. One. No player has ever missed a single down because of an illegal hit by Suh. His bad rep is a grotesque exaggeration. His block on Sullivan was mistimed and illegal under the new rule. But there was nothing dirty about it. Suh, like Sullivan, was playing all-out until the whistle.

MarkGurnsey
MarkGurnsey

@BY @tdeanmck Matthews hit a QB 2 yards OOB, around the neck, after talking about hitting him all week. Suh, on the other hand, BLOCKED a guy.

BY
BY

@rskins09 @BY Agreed...Belichick would not put up with this either.

KimVieira
KimVieira

@BY @jeffchadwick Another fact....  only 1 alleged groin kick the other being a shoulder stomp. 

Also, greatly reduced penalties last year compared to 2011. 

This is clearly the media.  There will always be media 'darlings'.  Unfortunately, Detroit will not have an easy rise to the top and Suh will likely never shake his dirty mantle.  All good.....the most penalized team last year won the Super Bowl.  AKA;  Baltimore Ravens.

ChrisTaylor
ChrisTaylor

@Brentabrown I don't know - I doubt it.  Because there is money/sales/publicity involved.  Sure the NFL has rules on the books against actions detrimental to the sport, and of course, they do want to protect individual players against serious injury.  But it's a scale of weights and measures - on the one side you have the "pureness" of the sport, the concern for injuries, and the concern for legitimacy.  But on the other side counterbalancing this, you have revenues/ticket sales, merchandise sales, etc to remain an "ongoing concern".  Without heroes and villains we don't have the NFL as we know it today.  Think back to the history - those nasty Raiders who were just plain _mean_.   So, while the NFL is concerned for safety they also realize that these guys are _good_ for ratings.

PRIME example:  Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M.  I have friends who care very little for college football watching his games because of his antics.  Entertainment.  At the end of the day, this is a business, and money talks.  Heroes and Villains are a big part of that story that is being told.

BY
BY

@MarkGurnsey @BY @tdeanmck I already wrote that I don't think Suh's hit was all that bad. Defenses talk every week about hitting the qb. It is as much of a constant as the offense talking about protecting the qb. You may have noticed that the qb has the ball a lot. Now answer my question. Does Matthews have 10% of the history that Matthews has in terms of late hits and cheap shots?

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