Football Zebras
Disciplinary ActionPound the gavel: Is unfined personal foul like a tree falling without witnesses?

Pound the gavel: Is unfined personal foul like a tree falling without witnesses?

Week 4: Broncos at Titans

The Titans have had several instances of fines and allegations of dirty play to answer to this season. Now Law & Order: NFL has its latest incident where the defense pleads its case to the court of public opinion.

THE CASE

Sen’Derrick Marks, the Titans defensive tackle who was flagged for a low-hit on Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton, argues the case that he wasn’t fined for the hit, therefore it should not have been a penalty. If that logic was totally without foundation, his next allegation was even more bankrupt.

Marks suggests that the fine should revert to the official who threw the so-called erroneous flag, as reported by The Tennesseean:

I guess if I haven’t gotten fined for it then it was a bad call. But I already knew that. I’ll accept the referee taking a fine for me. That would work for me. I think if referee makes a bad call, then I think the refs should get fined for it. … I know where I hit [Orton] at. After I watched film it proved I didn’t hit him too low.

Marks alleges (with coach Jeff Fisher and beat writer Jim Wyatt backing up the defense) that his hit was to the thigh, and that an official should evaluate that accurately at full speed. However, the league already has expressed its enforcement orders, as we reported last year, to the referees in its Game-Related Discipline manual:

The Competition Committee emphasizes that whenever a game official is confronted with a potential unnecessary-roughness situation and is in doubt about calling a foul, he should lean toward safety and not hesitate to throw the flag.

All players receive a copy of this manual.

THE VERDICT

The NFL on Friday fined Marks $5,000 for the hit, according to Lindsay Jones at the Denver Post, rendering Marks’s argument moot. Also, since referees are scored as being 98% accurate in their calls, it was likely that Marks did not have a chance to plead his case, even if the penalty was one of the remaining 2%.

But, Marks may be fined again for contempt of officials in his defense.

Ben Austro
Ben Austro

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref’s Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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