Apparently Roger Goodells crackdown on cheap shots does not apply to star cornerbacks of defending super bowl champions.
Packers cornerback Charles Woodson punched Saints tight end David Thomas after being blocked by Thomas on a play in the third quarter of the NFL’s opening night game between the Saints and the Packers. Over the years we have seen NFL players get carried away in the moment and throw a punch at another player numerous times, but what makes this incident different from others, is that Woodson was not ejected for intentionally trying to hurt another player with a cheapshot below the pads. In the past a flagrant offense like this was an automatic ejection, but in this case officials only flagged Woodson for a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and allowed him to remain in the game. Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira said that Woodson should have been ejected for throwing a punch.
Considering the NFL’s recent attempts to make the game safer by cracking down on illegal hits and cheap shots, it is interesting that Woodson was not ejected. You have to wonder if a player like James Harrison or Albert Hayneseworth, or a lesser known player would be allowed to remain in the game after punching a player in plain view of officials.
Were the refs playing favorites here with the home team? After all the game was in Green Bay and Charles Woodson is arguably the best player on the Packers defense. Ejecting him would have had a huge effect on how the rest of the game played out, and could have easily been the difference in a close game like this one. Sean Payton knew this and was obviously angry with officials for not throwing Woodson out of the game.
This is yet another case of NFL officials not applying the rules consistently and it was only the first game of the season. The fact that the player involved was the most important player on the home team’s defense sure makes it look suspicious. Hopefully the league will have an explanation for why Woodson wasn’t ejected, but I can’t imagine what it could be.
Should Woodson have been ejected, and if so, why wasn’t he? Let us know in the comments.