In a decision that is not all that surprising, the NFL apparently will not be fining Donte Whitner for his hit on Steven Jackson this past Monday.
Great news! I didn't get fined! Thank you @nfl!— DonteHitner (@DonteWhitner) December 26, 2013
We posted a GIF of the hit on Tuesday, and most agreed it was a legal hit. The refs are seeing this thing in full speed, so it is not surprising they are throwing these flags. Whitner has avoided fines this year, and successfully appealed a $21,000 fine in Week 4. This shows the refs are overreacting to his hits.
Unfortunately, without review for penalties, this will remain a problem. It's nice that Whitner is avoiding fines, but the 49ers are still losing out on yards. Sometimes it does not impact the final result, but it's a shame the 49ers have to take these yardage hits on plays that are ultimately proven to be legal.
The instant replay process needs to change in this regard. There needs to be some kind of opportunity to challenge on certain penalties. Given what we've seen from Whitner and the lack of fines, the competition committee seriously needs to consider ways to improve the process. If they're concerned about the time it takes for replay, then figure out ways to improve it. There is no reason in my mind to not be providing an opportunity to review questionable calls. The refs will still get some of them wrong, but there needs to be something available to rectify egregious errors.