The NFL announced Monday the two suspension games for Aqib Talib, cornerback of the Denver Broncos, and Michael Crabtree, receiver of the Oakland Raiders in an act of expedited justice for a fight that happened only a day earlier.
Shortly after the announcement of the sanction, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio posted a message on Twitter with understandable confusion about the punishment in which he noted the NFL’s rejection for suspending the protagonists of another fight as well. Violent happened four weeks ago in Jacksonville.
But, we have news for you, coach Del Rio. Talib and Crabtree not only received a more severe punishment than the receiver of the Cincinnati Bengals, AJ. Green, and Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
If the sanction is upheld after an appeal, Green and Ramsey received one of the most severe disciplinary measures for an action on the field in NFL history.
There are no official records of suspensions in professional football, but the Football Zebras website maintains a well-founded database that shows only seven incidents since 1920 that resulted in suspensions of two or more games.
The list does not include suspensions under the policies of drug use or personal conduct. If you believe the NFL applies more severe penalties this season, you will notice that two of the seven sanctions – which accumulate three of the eight suspended players – have occurred in 2017.
Apparently, the NFL took into account the record between Talib and Crabtree, in addition to the blow that Crabtree threw to another player of the Broncos a play before the fight. Regardless, the league placed both of them in a strange group in an effort to eradicate the fights at a time in the campaign in which the eyes of the fans are focused on the NFL and tensions are at the limit.
The first player to be suspended more than one game in this type of circumstances was Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Charles Martin, who was punished with two games by Commissioner Pete Rozelle for whipping the quarterback of the Chicago Bears, Jim McMahon, in 1986.
Here the rest of the list:
2005: Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was suspended five games for trampling Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode.
2011: The Detroit Lions defensive tacke, Ndamukong Suh, was suspended two games for trampling the center of the Packers, Evan Dietrich-Smith.
2014: Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather was suspended two games for multiple illegal hits to defenseless players.
2016/17: Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended three games in consecutive seasons for hits on defenseless players and a blind side block, respectively.
2017: Talib and Crabtree were suspended two games with pending appeals.
Do Talib and Crabtree deserve a place next to Suh, Burfict, Haynesworth, Meriweather and Martin? It’s a short list of players in a span of 31 years, not to mention the almost 100-year history of the NFL.

Here is my answer: The context of the discipline within the NFL’s playing field has changed dramatically under the command of commissioner Roger Goodell and it makes no sense to compare what Talib and Crabtree did with what NFL Films documented during the 1970s. , even, the 2000s. The league has taken tougher measures in the last 10 years, presumably in an effort to heal the sport of what we may term “violence without penalty.”
If anything, the effort has accelerated this season. While the league has exercised three suspensions of two or more games, the referees have expelled 13 players in the first 12 weeks. That number equals the highest total, at least since 2001, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and probably much earlier.
So, yes, coach Del Rio, the news on Monday was somewhat confusing given the long history of the NFL, but, in terms of 2017 and perhaps beyond? It’s something that probably does not surprise us

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