The NFL is serious about player safety and is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to possible fines and discipline, even if they come at the expense of the game’s biggest stars.
According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, the league plans to review New England Patriots QB Tom Brady’s slide in the AFC Championship Game. It appeared, on the play, that he may have intentionally kicked Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens.
It appeared that the 35-year-old signal-caller—hardly known for his scrambling ability—was trying to protect himself after picking up a short gain late in the second quarter.
Brady’s right leg flew up into the air as he was going to the ground at the Baltimore 7-yard line, making contact with the charging safety. Fortunately, Reed jumped to avoid any serious contact on the play.
While the 11-year vet wasn’t injured, Roger Goodell’s strong emphasis on player safety and the public outcry surrounding the controversial slide have likely pushed the league to look into this.
The NFL is quick to dole out disciplinary action for helmet-to-helmet hits and other violations, but head injuries aren’t the sole concern of the league office. If an investigation turns up that Brady was maliciously flailing his leg toward Reed, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a fine come down the pipeline.
Goodell has dipped into players' wallets for much less, and according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, there are guidelines in place for this specific offense. As he wrote, "For striking, kicking, or kneeing an opponent, the minimum for a first offense is $7,875…Remember, these are minimum fines. The league office can go higher, if it chooses."
It’ll be interesting to see if the league chooses to punish Brady, one of the most popular players in professional football, for his questionable slide.