BBAO: Definition of 'defenseless posture'


We're Black and Blue All Over:

Late Wednesday night, I passed along the NFL's explanation for why Chicago Bears linebacker Jon Bostic was fined $21,000 for what seemed to be a standard hard hit last week on San Diego Chargers receiver Mike Willie. In short, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said that Bostic used the crown of his helmet to deliver a forcible blow to Willie and defined Willie as a "defenseless receiver."

Some of you objected to that final characterization. When you watch the play, Willie had begun the process of catching the ball and was already running when he collided with Bostic. Just so we're all on the same page, here is part of the NFL's definition of a "defenseless receiver," one that is wider than you probably realized.

A player is considered to be in a "defenseless posture" when, among other things, he is "attempting to catch a pass" according to the NFL rule book, or he has "completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become the runner." The receiver is not considered defenseless if he "is capable of avoiding or warding off the impending contact of an opponent."

I guess you could squeeze Willie into that wide definition, but I think we all know there have been plenty of similar occasions when the NFL has looked the other way.

Continuing around the NFC North: