On Sunday, Seahawks WR Golden Tate delivered a knockout blow to Cowboys LB Sean Lee on a blindside block that made all the highlight reels, and has now left Tate $21,000 poorer after being fined by the NFL.
The hit also gave us one of the more brutal photos of the football season so far:
(Photo: Max Faulkner via seattletimes.com)
The look on Lee’s face – with Tate’s helmet planted squarely in his jaw – is downright scary, and it’s fortunate that Lee wasn’t seriously injured on the play (although, the long-term effects on his brain probably won’t be known for a long time).
WATCH THE PLAY HERE (GIFs below). In real time, it most certainly is a blindside block, but it’s looks as though Tate put his helmet in Lee’s chest and wasn’t aiming for his head (despite the result). Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has said that “I don’t think he could have done it any cleaner”.
For his part, Tate posted the following to his Twitter page on Sunday evening:
“I hope Sean Lee is ok. I never have intentions on injuring another player. It’s football which means Its physical, dirty hit would be if I went for his head or neck area.”
And while he hasn’t spoken publicly about his punishment, Tate has re-tweeted a few fan posts lamenting the fine. As with most of these hits, it’s a bang-bang play with players moving at high speeds, so it can be tough to completely avoid hitting the head, even with the best intentions.
But this is Roger Goodell’s NFL, and players have to expect that they’ll get penalized for anything that even resembles a head shot to a defenseless player.
And from the reverse angle: