Odell Beckham Jr.’s helmet-to-helmet hit on Josh Norman of the Carolina Panthers was ugly and cheap and uncalled for. But as bad as that hit was, it wasn’t as bad as another hit in the NFL on the same day.
Early in Pittsburgh’s 34-27 win over the Denver Broncos, Steelers offensive lineman Cody Wallace appeared to retaliate against what he may have thought was an overzealous tackle of teammate and went head-hunting. Wallace dove helmet-first into the helmet of David Burton of the Broncos, well after the play was over.
While the intent feels similar to that of the Beckham hit, what separates this one is both the victim and the result. Unlike Norman, Bruton did not appear to do anything to provoke the attack, and after the hit, Bruton had to be checked multiple times for a concussion.
In a time when the NFL is under fire for concussions and helmet-to-helmet hits, this hit should be just as ridiculed as the Beckham hit. Burton had the same sentiment after the game.
“Everyone is making a big deal out of Odell’s deal, but it’s nothing on (Wallace), Bruton said (via the Denver Post). “I’m pretty sure my head was down, the play was over, whistle was blown. Heck, I didn’t go in there and shoot at his guy. That’s just what they do. They’re dirty. He left his feet trying to take me out.”
Bruton later said he was glad Wallace got fined, but thought it was not enough.
“I’m glad he got something. I was worried he was going to get away scot-free,” Bruton said Wednesday. “It happens in the game, granted, it’s still cheap and unacceptable … you can’t just be launching, especially when the guy’s been down for two seconds already … There are a lot of linemen out here in the league that clear out piles like that, even when their guy is not running. The fact that he dove, left his feet and had his head down to take me out with my head down. It’s up to the NFL office, but personally I don’t think a fine is enough. … He got some kind of punishment, which is OK, but I still think some kind of suspension was due.”
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