Commentary

DJ Gallo's NFL Hangover, Week 13

Originally Published: December 6, 2010
By DJ Gallo | Page 2

Steelers-Ravens (NFL Hangover)Getty ImagesUltimately, all future Steelers-Ravens games will be devoid of any contact.

Sunday night's Steelers-Ravens game was another memorable edition of the NFL's best and most physical rivalry.

Unfortunately, per the NFL guidelines instituted earlier this season, much of what went on in the game was not acceptable. There were numerous player injuries in the game and the Ravens got away penalty-free with two blows to Ben Roethlisberger's head -- one breaking his nose -- and a near-decapitation of a defenseless Heath Miller.

While James Harrison can expect to receive significant fines for all three plays, punishing the Steelers linebacker is no longer enough. The NFL must step up the restrictions. Starting now, the NFL must adopt the following rules:

NFL Hangover
ESPN.com illustration

1. Overly suggestive pregame speeches will result in fines and suspensions. "We must be the most physical team out there." "Let's hit them in the mouth." "Separate the man from the ball." From now on, if anything like these common football clichés is said in a pregame or halftime pep talk, the speaker will be fined $75,000. Unless it's a head coach who says it. In that case there will be a much smaller fine and the tape of the speech will be destroyed.

2. Face paint is banned. What is face paint but war paint for sports? And in war, blows to the head are allowed and generals -- the quarterbacks of the battlefield -- are not protected more than all the other players. Unacceptable. Therefore, no more face paint.

3. Intentional grounding is now also a defensive penalty. If a runner's momentum is stopped, officials will eventually blow the whistle and stop the play. So, really, there's no need for defensive players to actually tackle anyone. The correct thing to do is just hold the offensive player in place until the officials kindly blow the play dead. Starting next week -- no, tonight -- if a defensive player knocks an offensive player to the ground, he shall be given a 15-yard intentional grounding penalty. And also fined $75,000. Why not.

4. Intentional grounding is no longer an offensive penalty. Now that I think about it, it's too confusing if both sides can be called for it, right? So quarterbacks can feel free to throw the ball away now at any time if they feel threatened or uneasy. There are too many rules in place to help the defense as it is.

5. Mean thoughts are now a judgment call under the purview of game officials. Just because a defensive player might follow all of the new league rules, including those above, does not mean he is without sin in his heart. Henceforth, officials may flag any defensive player they suspect of overly aggressive intentions or thoughts. How to determine this? One easy way is to consider the player's history. Did he learn how to play football before Week 6 of the 2010 NFL season? Yes? Then that's a flag and an ejection.

This Week's Horrible Fantasy Team That Crushed Your Fantasy Team

Drew Stanton, QB, Lions -- 16-for-24, 178 yards, TD, 1 rushing TD

Chris Ivory, RB, Saints -- 15 carries, 117 yards, 2 TD

Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants -- 8 carries, 103 yards, 2 TD

Robert Meachem, WR, Saints -- 3 catches, 106 yards, TD

Anthony Armstrong, WR, Redskins -- 6 catches, 97 yards, TD

Ben Watson, TE, Browns -- 10 catches, 100 yards, TD

Stat of the Week

3: Peyton Manning has three or more interceptions in three consecutive games, only the third quarterback to do that in the past 20 years. Aaron Brooks (2001) and Jim Kelly (1996) were the others. Also, one gunslinger has accomplished the feat: Brett Favre in 2001.

Quotes of the Week

Leon Washington, Seahawks punt returner, on getting tackled at the end of a long return while holding his finger in the air: "Next time, I'm just gonna pull a Forrest Gump and run clean through the stadium."

It takes a big man to admit he's dumber than Forrest Gump. And as Washington's teammate Golden Tate always says: Life is like a box doughnuts. You never know which one you're gonna steal.

Joe Flacco, on his fumble that set up Pittsburgh's winning score: "It was an all-out blitz. They brought everybody. I took three steps and raised my arm and was getting hit. It was pretty shocking."

Shocking indeed. Before the play Flacco looked like this. And after the play? This. Someone get that poor guy a sedative before he FREAKS OUT!

Ben Roethlisberger, asked after the game if his broken foot hurt him during the game: "It hurt a lot. But that broken nose took some of the pain away."

An aw-shucks reply to a question about an injury? Between that and all of the pick-sixes thrown on Sunday, NFL quarterbacks really came together to honor Brett Favre in what may have been his last week as an NFL quarterback. It was a tribute as touching as anything you'll see in the NFL that won't draw a fine from the league office.

Pictures of the Week

"Yeah, it's just a little bit of spinach or something. I'll get it for you, coach."

"All the extra time you've had to practice and I'm still better than you. Ha!"

"He might actually get through this whole game without getting hurt. I've never seen anything like it."

"Jeez. I am not used to wearing these things. They are really heavy. Can someone give it a push? Little help?"

"Who thinks they can step to this? No, STEP to this. Not sack this. Sacking this is not hard."

"This is so awful I'm going to stand up to block everyone else from watching."

"Don't look at me, guy. Our uniforms today look much worse."

"Your team is one of the ones I haven't played for yet, Jack. Maybe next year?"

"Shaking hands this time would have been good enough. No need to feel me up. Let's take it one step at a time."

"There, there, little fella. There, there."

"I'm just saying, even with this, I could play better than either of the guys on the field."

"Pardon me, stick boy, I'm looking for Eric Mangini."

"Do you have Medicare?"

"Let's check my pulse. Yep. Still alive."

"I demand a raise to play again." "Yeah, I don't think that's going to work anymore."

"Uh-oh. Little bit of puke. I can't show coach."

"Maybe I should throw this way. I'd have an even quicker release."

"Do you think punching someone would make me feel better?"

"Ha, Peyton! That's four! Ha-ha!"

"Pull my finger. Come on. Do it. Derek taught me that when you're getting humiliated, it's best to joke around. SO PULL MY $%^*^! FINGER!"

"Wow. You're even bad for our division. My condolences."

"Just don't take my shift, losers!"

"Throwback week? I thought it was pushup week."

"This is a cool honor because I honestly did not think this organization had a Ring of Honor. I mean, what are the chances?"

"Let's just make sure I affix my head firmly so it doesn't come off."

"Ah, crap. There goes the nose part of my head."

"Whoa. That punt is so high right now."

"Thanks, Baltimore! If you find any of my body parts, please send them to Pittsburgh."

Gallo's Week 13 bonus photos! Photo Gallery

DJ Gallo is the founder of SportsPickle.com. His first book, "The View from the Upper Deck," is available from only the finest bargain-book retailers. His next book project will be released soon. You can follow him on Twitter at @DJGalloESPN.


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