On Thursday night, Cleveland Browns defensive end Miles Garrett did the closest thing we've seen to a crime on the field in the modern era of college football. Only one answer will suffice. The NFL has to issue the longest stoppage of an on-field act in its history, ending Garrett's 2019 season with six games remaining in the Browns schedule and making it clear to the world that what happened at FirstEnergy Stadium is one of the worst moments of the field in his history.
Such discipline, however harsh as it may seem, would not be particularly contradictory to anyone who saw Gareth tear off the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mason Rudolph's helmet and use it to pump his unprotected head. If Gareth hits someone with a helmet on the streets of Cleveland, he will be arrested. The outbreak left grizzled football veterans gasping for their sheer violence, a rejection that coincided with only a handful ̵
The length of Garrett's absence should not be too difficult for the NFL to understand. He stopped the temporary Oakland Raiders Vontaze Burfict backstop indefinitely earlier this season for accumulating field acts, which ended in a helmet-to-helmet hit, but the longest stoppage, which was issued for a single incident at the scene, is five matches. . It happened in 2006, when then-Tennessee tennis quarterback Albert Hainesworth ripped off his helmet from downtown Cowboys in Dallas Andre Gurode and then kicked and kicked him in the face. Gurode needed 30 stitches to close the wounds.
Rudolf was fortunate enough to avoid such a fate or worse. The stunned expression on Brown Baker's face Baker Mayfield, speaking later in an interview with Fox, depicted the gravity of the scene. Mayfield couldn't call an ounce of defense for his teammate.
"This is unforgivable," he said. "It just endangers the other team. … The reality is that he will be suspended. We don't know how long this has hurt our team."
Remember that Rudolf was knocked unconscious last month by hitting his helmet and missing a game. The contact from that impact, initiated by Baltimore Ravens Count Thomas III's safety, was so severe that Rudolph's eyes were closed before he hit the ground. If you knew that context, you must have been crucified when I saw Gareth's head sink Rudolph's head, lifted by Brown's defense liner Larry Ogunobi pushing Rudolph to the ground. Afterwards, the Mauricks Punchy Stewards Center got into a brawl, kicking and kicking Gareth and escalating the scene to the point where it would not be surprising to see police officers on the ground. (Rudolph was pulling Gareth's helmet while they were both on the ground, but this dose of aggressiveness hardly deserved an answer.)
"I lost my cool and regret it," said Garrett afterwards. Rudolph called it "cowardly" and "Bush League" after the game. But I'm sorry, using normal words to describe a single act of violence, it risks assimilating it into all the other dirty and unsportsmanlike games we've seen in football.
This was worse than Chuck Bednarick's Frank Gifford knockout in 1960. This was worse than Jack Tatum's hit on Darryl Stingley in 1978, which ultimately left Stingley paralyzed. These plays, the first two to appear in NFL violence on the spot, were part of the flow of action. Bednarik Gifford clothing in a coping technique that is not uncommon in this era. Tatum fired a shot at Stingley's head, which was reaching for the ball in what would now be considered a defenseless position.
They were cruel, unnecessary and extremely harmful. Gareth's absurdity, on the other hand, appeared after the whistle, beyond any resemblance to competition.
Maurkice Pouncey says the NFL must stop Miles Gareth for the rest of the season after hitting Mason Rudolph in the head with a helmet.
There are several precedents in the history of the NFL that come close to matching him. Hainesworth's step is one. In 2013, Antonio Smith ripped off Richie Incognito's helmet and twisted it close to his face. For that, Smith was suspended for three games. In 1954, according to professional football historian Dan Dalley Colts defensive end Don Joyce hit Ram Reines Les Richter with a helmet, for which he was thrown out but not stopped.
That, of course, was 65
The NFL should be ready to demonstrate its skills at a time when it has never been more aware and responsive to brain health. There should be some debate on Friday at the New York League headquarters. Commissioner Roger Goodel must ask the world to know how exceptional this situation is. Football can no longer be that way.
But the truth is that rarely – if at all – it was. The NFL's punishment should reflect this sobering fact.