Last season when the NFL announced the new disciplinary rules on illegal hits, several players and and a handful analysts lambasted the league, including Brian Urlacher. During a radio appearance on "Mike and Mike in the Morning" on ESPN Radio on Thursday, the Chicago Bears linebacker made it clear that he still disagrees strongly with the way the league doles out fines and 15-yard penalties.
Urlacher sounded off on the NFL's policies, complaining that it's not clear what defensive players can and cannot do according to the league's rules.
"I got penalized against Detroit for a hit but didn’t get fined. That’s kind of frustrating, you cost your team 15 yards and a first down, and they don’t fine you, why was it illegal? I know the referees are going to call those penalties but why can’t we review those penalties?" he said, via ProFootballTalk.
Chief among Urlacher's issues with the league is the lack of consistency. He claims that defensive players don't know what's going to be flagged as a penalty and realize that they may still be fined for plays that they were not even penalized for during game. He also talked about how offensive players are treated differently.
"When linemen take our knees out, we’re outside the box and they take our knees out, or a running back will just dive down at your knees when you’re blitzing, or the other day I saw a running back lower his head at a DB and ran him over, but that was OK — the defensive player wasn’t defenseless. It’s very frustrating for me," he said.
Urlacher, who has often be outspoken in his criticism of the league's Draconian stance, contends that it's unfair to be so inconsistent from play to play and for there to be such a discrepancy between offense and defense. He thinks that the NLF should "have a panel of guys who look at those hits and go over them."
Later on Thursday, Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard also took issue with the way the league handles penalties, even suggesting that the referees be subject to fine when they get calls wrong.
"It’s most definitely killing the game," Pollard said on KILT in Houston. "This is a game where it’s a car crash; this is a game where guys are putting it on the line; this is a game where coaches are trying to out-strategize other coaches across the field, and it takes 11 guys to get it done. So you’ve got 22 guys running around, they’re fit guys, and they’re running around hitting each other with helmets on. There’s no way you’re going to tell me be careful by doing that."