Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

29 Nov 2011

Ndamukong Suh Suspended for Two Games

As was widely speculated on Sunday, Lions defensive tackle Ndaumkong Suh will be suspended for two games after stomping on Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith during Detroit's loss to Green Bay.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 29 Nov 2011

42 comments, Last at 01 Dec 2011, 5:10pm by RickD

Comments

1
by Dean :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:06pm

Soon to be reduced to one game upon appeal.

12
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:53pm

I hope not. What's there to appeal? Even if there happened to be video showing some kind of dirty play by the other guy (which I've not heard; this is purely hypothetical), that still doesn't justify Suh's reaction.

But yeah, that's how discipline in sports seems to work.

2
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:13pm

Find it interesting that Suh called the commissioner to apologize but has not apologized to EDS or the Packers in general.

5
by RickD :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:55pm

Yeah, I noticed that too. I don't think he gets the whole apology thing.

6
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 1:03pm

Sure he does. Hence the apology to Roger to kiss the ring.

But the actual victim? Bah, scr*w that guy

11
by Cro-mags (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:50pm

How's his recovery coming?

13
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 3:57pm

EDS wasn't physically hurt. And if the question was meant sarcastically I know that EDS isn't a victim in the sense that he was wounded or has longlasting effects from the incident. I just think a courtesy phone call or other message by Suh to EDS seems appropriate given that Suh has apologized to the Commissioner

20
by John Doe (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 6:47pm

It is entirely possible that Suh is sorry for losing control and hurting his team, but absolutely thrilled about roughing up EDS.

31
by Johnnie Walker (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 2:54am

If you want to say that what Suh did was fine because EDS didn't get seriously hurt, then just say so. You don't need to hide behind snark, not unless you're trying to disguise a lack of an actual point at any rate.

41
by Cro-mags (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2011 - 1:10pm

I don't think what he did was fine at all, but talk of victims and courtesy calls remind me of Daryl Stingley.

3
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:19pm

This suspension seems appropriate.

4
by Anonymous(not that one) (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 12:47pm

One if by arm, 5 if by neck

7
by Drunkmonkey :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 1:07pm

Technically speaking, Albert stepped on the crown of Gorude's head, not his neck.

8
by Cypress Phil (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 1:56pm

Technically speaking, yo mama....something something. Yeah!

9
by akn :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:04pm

You also forgot 0 if by crotch.

18
by HJF (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:46pm

As a Packer's fan, I'm holding out hope that the NFL retroactively suspends Brian Robinson for that little stunt. It won't happen, but I'm sure Robinson got a hefty fine all the same. And what about Packers O-Linemen makes them such tempting targets to stomp or kick?

32
by Johnnie Walker (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 2:58am

Robison got a $20k fine. Really, he should have been suspended as well -- it's not like the crotch is known for being well-armored relative to the upper arm. But then Suh is much higher-profile and a repeat offender, so there you go.

10
by Jimmy :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 2:05pm

For your Taiwanese interpretation of these events click below.

http://youtu.be/FvM3uNCvOgA

hat tip to windy city gridiron.

14
by Intropy :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 4:26pm

Hmmm. I'm of two minds on this. On one hand the punishment absolutely is justified. On the other its out of line with the punishments handed down in the past. If this were to begin a new standard for suspensions I'd be all for it, but I suspect it's really just Goodell throwing darts at his castigation board again.

15
by Eddo :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:08pm

How far out of line is it? Haynesworth got five games for stomping on an opponent's face. This is a similar action, but not as extreme, so roughly half the time sounds about right. Especially when you consider Suh has quite a history of fines (some deserved, some on reputation), and that the NFL escalates punishment with each subsequent offense.

17
by Dean :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:40pm

The other side of the coin is that no player aside from Haynesworth has ever done more than one game for unsportsmanlike conduct, and in addition, Suh had already served half a game from his ejection.

26
by Intropy :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 8:44pm

Charles Martin got a two game suspension for an extremely late takedown on Jim McMahon after he'd thrown the ball that resulted in injury: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTLlaMY_9PM. But I think those are the only two examples of multi-game suspensions for unsportsmanlike conduct. Those two fouls were much worse than Suh's, and every other suspension has been one game only. For two games to be in line with other punishments, you'd have to conclude that Suh's was the third worst such incident in NFL history (or at least since the Martin hit) or that the NFL is increasing punishments for that behavior. If it's the latter, good on the NFL. I'm suspect, based on recent randomness with fines, that it's the former.

27
by Intropy :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 8:47pm

I suppose you could also argue that the punishment stems from a pattern of behavior as much as from a single incident and there'd be some sense to that. I'd counter such an argument by saying that a) Suh's already been punished for prior incidents, and b) some of those incidents were within the bounds of fair NFL play and never should have been punished to begin with.

29
by Marko :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 9:40pm

You beat me to it regarding the Charles Martin incident, which obviously was far worse than what Suh did. Matin's body slam of McMahon also was premeditated because (as mentioned during the clip you linked to) Martin wore a towel during the game with a "hit list" of the numbers of various Bears offensive stars. Just based on memory, the hit list included the numbers 9 (McMahon), 34 (Walter Payton) and 83 (Willie Gault). It might also have included number 26, which was Matt Suhey. The year before, Suhey had been the victim of another dirty and vicious hit by a Packer (Ken Stills). Here is a link a clip of that incident: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRYydp14x-I&feature=related. Stills wasn't even ejected for that hit, nor was he suspended. I gotta think that if that cheap shot happened in today's environment, Stills would have been ejected and suspended for at least one game, maybe two games.

16
by Dean :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 5:39pm

Except that it ISN'T Roger Goodell. I realize he makes a convenient boogeyman for the uninformed, but Ray Anderson makes the call, and on appeal it goes to Art Shell and Ted Cottrell.

25
by Intropy :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 8:34pm

You're right. Shell and Cottrell don't have anything to do with it yet, but Anderson does.

19
by Pats fan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 6:34pm

> On one hand the punishment absolutely is justified.

I seem to be in the extreme minority for thinking this, and this alone. I could get behind a one-game suspension, just to show the kids watching that sportsmanship is important, but big hits significantly more detrimental to player safety than Suh's stomp don't draw suspensions, and neither does the garbage that goes on in NFL piles away from the prying eyes of the cameras.

21
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 6:55pm

Those big hits that you say are more dangerous are generally close to a legit football play. Lowering your shoulder into a receiver and lowering your head into him and pretty similar actions. So there is no good way to judge intent there. Stomping on someone after the play is over is nothing close to what anyone should be doing in football.

As for your other point about the garbage that goes on in piles, as you point out in the same sentence there is no proof of it. So you want Suh to not be punished for a crime that there is evidence of because other people don't get punished for supposed crimes of which there is no evidence.

To a certain point, you are right. This suspension is not about player safety. What it is about is maintaining order and rules. Football is a game it has rules, if you can't follow them you can't play.

33
by Johnnie Walker (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 3:10am

Giving Suh a pass based on how bad of a 'player safety incident' he caused is result-based, though. There wasn't a serious injury because Suh wasn't wearing spikes and because he got EDS in the arm. Suppose they're playing on natural grass, or suppose that Suh breaks a rib, stomps on the head/neck, or etc. The best we could say in his defense is to speculate that he'd know better than to stomp on someone with spikes in, to stomp on someone's head, etc. but what evidence do we have for that? Based on what we've actually seen, rather than what we might suppose, the reasonable conclusion is that he lost his temper and lost control of himself.

It seems to me the reasonable conclusion here is not that Suh shouldn't be punished as harshly, but that he should consider himself lucky he didn't cause serious injury. Just my opinion, but apologizing for this kind of behavior is nuts. If poor Ndamukong wants the mean red-haired man not to put him on football timeout, then maybe he get ahold of himself. It's like Schatz said in Audibles: this kid sounds almost delusional, initially describing his decision to repeatedly bang another player's head into the turf and then stop on him as something to the effect of 'putting myself in a position where the refs would have an excuse to eject me' or etc.

It's always someone else's fault.

22
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 7:00pm

Saimts goin to stomp Loins Sunday nitght. Losing Ndamukong Sih giing to bd real blow. Very stuoid thing ge did.

34
by Johnnie Walker (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 3:13am

Groin stomp? But the Vikes/Packers game alrea... oh right.

23
by rengewnad (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 7:14pm

nebraska football homer here (so by default, take my comments and throw them out of consideration for fair and reasonable discussion).

i watched that thanksgiving game and i was disappointed that he was ejected only because I wouldn't get to see him play the rest of the game. I didn't think that move was any worse than the punches and pushes that happen after lots of plays every game. Suddenly foot -> arm is worse than fist -> face? He looked like an uncoordinated oaf falling over and stomping around. Stupid, yup. Personal foul, yup. Ejection because he's a dirty player... what?

I keep reading that Suh is regarded as a dirty player in the NFL, so I went to the definitive source and searched youtube for his personal foul vids to see why he was getting that reputation. What I saw was a bunch of lame ass calls that don't qualify as dirty personal fouls. I looked specifically at the Dalton sack, the Delhomme sack, the Cutler tackle, and the Pats O-Line 'punch'. If there are others, name them here and I'll search for them too.
Dalton - agressive sack. grow a pair if that was unnecessary.
Delhomme - facemask penalty straight - so a legit personal foul up followed by agressive sack. Nothing dirty about the sack. facemask personal foul penalties happen a couple times each week, and not every player that makes one is suddenly branded as dirty.
Cutler - legit hit. grow a pair if you think that was too rough. Cutler's a tough dude (Denver homer here too), it was a good hit to knock him down.
Pats O-line 'punch' - clearing a pile, i think the punch was actually an uncoordinated push that missed a shoulderpad... whatever. Legit personal foul for after the play punch. they happen every week and not every player is dubbed 'dirty'.

you take your look and make an interpretation, i'll keep mine. IMHO those that call him a dirty player are looking for reasons to see dirty play in his personal fouls, ignoring the fact that several plays were flagged that are just BS fouls. both O and D lineman are nasty dudes, he's just one of many of that breed and happens to some make good highlight reel tackles.

I also watched the Big 12 Championship game highlights of him vs. Texas. I now dub the NFL as a soft league compared to college football --- he wasn't flagged in that game and if there was a rematch today in the NFL vs. Colt McCoy Suh would be tossed again for his fouls and hard hits.

24
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 7:55pm

I don't have time to go through Suh's career. I remember the Cutler tackle and didn't have a problem with it. But read tuluse's comment above. You have to draw a line somewhere. And Suh didn't just stomp on the guy. He first pushed the guy's head down a couple times. That Suh didn't cause an injury is probably just an accident. Or maybe Suh had second thoughts mid-stomp and then tried to get his balance.

Yes, I'm a Packers fan. But I didn't hold a grudge against what happened earlier this year against the Vikings because it was the first offense and the offender did sound sincerely apologetic. Suh has had 9 personal fouls in the last two years, the most in the NFL. His fellow players named him “the dirtiest player” in the NFL according to a Sporting News poll.

I think Suh is an incredible talent. Until he got to the NFL, he rarely had to play against guys who approached his talent. And I don't think he's dealt with it well. This is the NFL telling him he needs to deal with his anger issues.

28
by towishimp (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 9:06pm

I pretty much agreed with you, until the stomp on Thanksgiving. I saw him as a mean-streak type player that was still figuring out how to play naggressively, but within the rules of the NFL (maybe the NFL is "softer" than NCAA, if by "softer" you mean protects its QBs more...the NCAA doesn't care what happens to its QBs, since the next crop is always waiting anyways). After the stomp, I thought "Maybe all this "dirty player" stuff is true. You can't argue with the personal foul stats (even if you take out the questionable ones, he's committed alot) and you can't argue that the stomp wasn't unsportsmanlike and vicious.

35
by Johnnie Walker (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 3:44am

Dalton: The helmet didn't attain consciousness and decide to jump off and go for a walk, it went flying because Suh took Dalton down by the neck, which is against the rules. Grow a brain if that's unreasonable.

Delhomme: Another case of going for the head. You admit the play was dirty and defend it anyway. 'Immediately?' That hit happened at the beginning of last year's preseason (Delhomme in a Browns uni is a clue) and there have been many incidents since. Burn more straw men if you have a problem with that.

Cutler: The hit that everyone talks about (shove in the back) is fine, but everyone seems to forget that there was another play in that game where Suh ripped off Cutler's helmet. This is an oddly consistent theme - another example of a helmet going flying when Suh hits the QB. Weird how no other player seems to have this issue.

Mankins: Again you admit the play was dirty and then proceed to tell us why it's no big deal, even trying to imagine up a scenario in which a strike to the facemask is something other than a punch. I bet he was losing his balance, and probably just needed to lean on Mankin's face for a split-second right?

Essentially your argument is that when deciding if Suh is dirty or not we should ignore not only a pair of plays that you admit yourself are dirty, but should ignore the NFL rulebook because it's "soft." We should ignore that every game you brought up has examples of Suh breaking the rules in ways that could cause injury, and that 3 of those 4 times involved him going after the QB's head. Also that we should "grow a pair."

When a player repeatedly breaks the rules in ways that put other players' safety at risk, we call that player dirty -- especially if that rulebreaking follows a consistent pattern. When a poster claims that said player isn't dirty because a) none of those incidents is a big deal and b) anyone who disagrees should grow a pair, well, we might call that person a lot of things. One of them would be "apologist."

That's my interpretation.

37
by Jimmy :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 8:30am

Everyone seems ot say the hit on Cutler's back was fine. I thought Hochuli got it exactly right (disclaimer: Bears fan) when he said that Suh was being flagged for just punching Cutler to the floor instead of tackling him. Everyone assumed it was because he hit him in the head and then the play was disected on replay about a zillion times but that wasn't the cause of the flag. Basically there was no reason for Suh to strike Cutler to the ground instead of tackling him, it was a non-football act and if we are honest we know Suh did it to try to hurt Cutler.

I don't think I would have thought it fine worthy though.

40
by rengewnad (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 1:35pm

these opinions are better hashed out over a beer.

Apologist:
noun
1. a person who makes a defense in speech or writing of a belief, idea, etc.

ummm. i don't get your point or the purpose of labeling my perspective with a title that is entirely accurate, yet putting it in quotes like it's a negative thing.

With similar logic and relevance, when a condiment is used on top of a hotdog because 1) it tastes yummy, and 2) anyone who doesn't think so must be insane, we might call that condiment a lot of things. One of them would be "Mustard".

You misread my post. I didn't call any of those plays 'dirty'. There were 3 legit personal fouls. 1 was the delhomme facemask, 2 was the pats o-line punch after the play, and 3 was the Green Bay O-line arm stomp. My post didn't call any of them 'dirty'. I'm also not saying to ignore the rulebook. Just apply the rules consistently and make the rules reasonable. As I started my post, why was that stomp worse than a after-play punch to the face that I see often enough that it's become just the usual oline/dline behavior?

I will change my perspective and interpretation of events if the media and uber-pro message board poasters such as yourself would post similarly 'dirty' assessments of every defensive back who goes up high on a receiver to blow them up at the momment they make a catch. I saw the Monday night game (Giants/Saints) and saw two examples of DBs (one from each team) receiving 15 yard personal fouls for hitting a defenseless receiver. Those hits visibly DID much more physical damage to the receiver than Suh's actions POTENTIALLY could have done to any of those players listed, and yet those DBs are not also derided as being dirty and tossed from the game. Apply subjective professional and personal standards of 'dirty-ness' consistently and equally, or don't bother applying them at all.

30
by GnomeChumpsky (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2011 - 10:42pm

Am I the only person who noticed in the video that the Packers' Player was holding Suh down when the head-shoving occurred? Also, Suh complained about the Falcons O-line for playing dirty ealier. Offensive linemen are trying groin shots, eye-gouges and cheap shots whenever they get their opportunities. I think the real problem with Suh is that he's getting caught retaliating and getting caught is a problem for the NFL, while all the little dirty stuff that doesn't get caught on camera gets ignored. What's worse for Suh is that people know he's walking on eggshells now and you better believe his buttons are going to get pushed.

Also Does anyone remember Kyle Turley? Look that up on Youtube. Brings some questions up about retaliation, provocation, and even the role that race plays in NFL discipline. Turley just got fined.

36
by Jerry :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 3:49am

Suh's problem is that he's committing infractions that the late Ray Charles can see. If he participates in "the little dirty stuff that doesn't get caught on camera" (and I have no reason to believe he doesn't), he's as likely to be ignored as anyone else.

38
by Jimmy :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 8:32am

Yeah the Packer player had Suh's arm hooked so he couldn't get up. Complain to the ref, don't stamp on someone though.

39
by GnomeChumpsky (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2011 - 11:16am

Fair enough.

42
by RickD :: Thu, 12/01/2011 - 5:10pm

As Suh is developing a reputation as a hot-head, he's going to see more and more situations where opposing players goad him, with the hope that he'll go nuts and get himself kicked out of a game. He's going to have to learn to not let opposing players push his buttons.