In recent weeks, players from the NFL have been in the news quite a bit for something other than football. The Myles Garrett-Mason Rudolph thing has been talked about to death. The same can be said for Maurkice Pouncey’s role.
But then we also have guys like Le’Veon Bell pledging to never take another drug test again. Tom Brady is yelling nonsense at his receivers on the sideline. Freddie Kitchens is trolling another team much like a grade school kid might—and players from the other team are returning the favor.
The NFL is supposed to be the pinnacle of football. It is supposed to be where the best of the best end up. But too often these days, it seems like the best of the best are nothing more than a bunch of petulant children.
With all of the fights that occurred during recent college football games, it is fair to wonder if college players are starting to think that kind of behavior is acceptable.
Some of the extracurricular activity that went on was pretty generic and relatively benign—like the scuffling that occurred during the South Florida-UCF game. While not good, incidents like these are not uncommon (especially during rivalry week).
There were the punches thrown by Georgia wide receiver George Pickens and Georgia Tech defensive back Tre Swilling:
Fights like that can be attributed to heightened emotions that many players have during games against rivals. Like any other fight, it is unacceptable, and Pickens was suspended for the first half of the SEC Championship game.
But then there were also some more serious incidents. The face stomp during the Tennessee-Vanderbilt game got a lot of attention.
To be fair, it didn’t really look intentional. Then there was the brawl that erupted after the UNLV-Nevada game concluded:
The really troubling moment came after the game when UNLV captain Giovanni Fauolo Sr. pulled a Myles Garrett and whacked a fan with his helmet:
No punishment has been announced, but something is undoubtedly coming. The obnoxious behavior by fans could be considered a mitigating factor. But just like when Myles Garrett did it, there is no excuse.
Honestly—probably not. Incidents like the Myles Garrett-Mason Rudolph mess are few and far between. NFL players are getting ejected at roughly the same rate this year (.22 per team) as last (.28 per team).
Unnecessary roughness penalties in the NFL are way down as well (6.38 to 3.56 per team).
It is not like NFL players are swinging helmets on a regular basis and getting away with it. Incidents like any of the above are not common in college football either.
Football is a violent game, and sometimes, in the heat of the moment, guys will do stupid things. When they do, no matter what level of the game they are at, they get punished. And sometimes, accidents just happen.
But it would be a stretch to try to connect incidents in college football with anything that goes on in the NFL.