Adam Schefter is reporting that outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks has been fined
$16,000 15,750 for his hit on Drew Brees in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints. Brooks' agent has already said he will appeal the fine.
NFL VP of Officials Dean Blandino discussed the hit on NFL Network on Tuesday, and proclaimed it 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. 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.
I actually think based on the letter of the law, it is technically a correct call. That being said, the rule itself strikes me as a bad rule because it does not take into account what we saw on Sunday. Ahmad Brooks' right arm came across Brees' chest. His bicep did eventually touch Brees' neck, but it was the forward momentum of Brees' head that really made it Brees' neck hitting Brooks' bicep, and not the other way around.
Once again, here's the GIF:
In making this play, Brooks came around the edge and made what I view as a fundamentally sound tackle. He avoided potential helmet-to-helmet contact, and he brought his hand across the chest. It appeared extraordinarily violent in real speed, but that is part of football. There can be violent collisions while maintaining some semblance of safety.
This will actually get a little more interesting because of what some former players have said about the hit. Ray Lewis offered to pay half the fine, pulling out his American Express for emphasis. Tedy Bruschi later offered to pay for a third of the fine. I'm not exactly holding my breath for those two to come through, but I think it would be a nice message if they did help pay the fine.