Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin delivered a big hit during the team’s week five matchup against the Minnesota Vikings when he clocked Vikings wide receiver Michael Jenkins in a play during the Titans 30-7 loss last week. Griffin was given a 15-yard penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver on the play and has received even further punishment.
The NFL has fined Griffin $21,000 for “unnecessary roughness” that stems from the hit on Jenkins.
Griffin has stated that he doesn’t know how to play defense in the NFL now after being coached to deliver the big hit but being penalized and fined for doing so. He acknowledged last week that you can’t play worried about getting a fine but, now that he has been fined, Griffin knows that the NFL will be keeping a close eye on him.
“The fine could double, or you could get a one-game suspension if the league thinks you didn’t learn your lesson,” Griffin said. “It puts you in a tough spot. But you just have to play and try not to worry about it.”
The NFL has put a lot of defensive players in a tough spot with their crusade for play safety. Growing up, these men were taught to play tough, physical football and that is part of what attracted them to stick with the sport and it’s a big reason why many NFL fans tune in every Sunday.
With the increased rules on player safety, defensive players need to think twice before hitting an offensive player and that second guessing could be the split second decision that allows the offensive player to run by him for the touchdown. It’s unfortunate that taking away physicality from the game is changing how defenders have to play but it’s the direction Roger Goodell wants to take the game.
At least we aren’t to this point yet: