By Dan Bernstein —
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(670 The Score) The NFL and NFL Players Association get to say that they’re taking quite seriously the issue of concussion exam protocol now, after levying a $100,000 fine on the Seattle Seahawks for blowing off the procedure all but entirely last month.
We all saw it in real time on NBC, remember, as Russell Wilson took an Arizona Cardinal helmet straight to the jaw, was directed off the field by referee Walt Anderson, ducked into the blue examination tent for a split second, then went right back in the game. There was no test given.
And the Seahawks went on to win, which is largely the point.
Owner Paul Allen is worth an estimated $20.7 billion, so the fine is the relative cost to him of approximately nothing. The difference for other NFL counterparts may not be quite as stark, but you see where I’m going here.
Nothing about the fine or the mandatory remedial training for the Seattle sideline staff is going to change the motivations during an upcoming playoff game with even more on the line, particularly once the material actors in this pantomime are squirreled away under plastic. Keep in mind that we’re only recently removed from watching Texans quarterback Tom Savage evince a frighteningly obvious version of the neuromotor “fencing response” literally at the feet of a referee, with no action taken at all.
As we get to contests and outcomes that really begin to matter, I doubt this punishment will be top of mind when a contending team sees the backup reaching for his helmet and scrambling to warm up.