The sport of football is inherently violent. There is no disputing that. But what happened Thursday night between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers was a disgrace and cannot happen. Ever. In the closing seconds of the Thursday night contest Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ripped off the helmet of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and then violently hit Rudolph in the head with the quarterback’s own helmet. Garrett was subsequently ejected from the game. Suspensions for the Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers melee have now been handed down by the NFL.
Here is a video of the incident.
Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers Suspensions Handed out by NFL
Three players, in total, were ejected, including Garrett. Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was disqualified from the remainder of the game for pushing Rudolph to the turf from behind after the signal caller had been whacked in the head with his own helmet by Garrett. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was also ejected for punching and kicking Garrett.
History of on Field Suspensions
In 2006, then Tennessee Titans defensive lineman, Albert Haynesworth was suspended for five games for stomping on Andre Gurode’s head. As of now it is the longest suspension handed down by the NFL for a single on-field act. In 2013 Antonio Smith ripped off Richie Incognito’s helmet and swung at him with said helmet. Smith didn’t connect with Incognito and laughably was only suspended for two preseason games and one regular season game for the incident. Earlier this season Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended indefinitely, which was kind of a “lifetime achievement award” for his on the field transgressions, which culminated with a helmet-to-helmet hit against Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle.
If any individual, outside of football, used an object, such as a helmet, as a weapon and violently hit someone in the head with said object, they would face assault charges. Garrett may or may not face any legal discipline, but the NFL has now suspended Garrett indefinitely. Garrett will miss the remainder of the 2019 regular season (six games) and the playoffs should the Browns qualify for the postseason. The Browns defensive end will have to meet with the commissioner’s office before he can be reinstated.
But Garrett was not the only person who was at fault Thursday night.
While Pouncey’s actions are understandable from the fact that he was coming to the aid and protection of his teammate and quarterback (who was recently knocked unconscious from a hit) the NFL was absolutely correct to suspend him. Pouncey will miss three games. Pouncey probably should have been suspended closer to six games for his actions, but at least he will miss multiple games. Ogunjobi also needed to miss some action for shoving Rudolph to the ground from behind. The NFL has suspended Ogunjobi for one game for his actions. He probably needed to miss two games, but at least the NFL is kind of sending a message to Ogunjobi.
Rudolph was an instigator in this and deserved to be suspended for one game for his part in Thursday night’s melee. But the NFL didn’t suspend the Steelers quarterback.
Garrett’s acts were the most heinous and that’s why he received the longest suspension. Garrett, and all of the players in the league, must learn that the type of behavior that was on display Thursday night will not be tolerated.