Clay Matthews, J.R. Sweezy fined for hits in NFC Championship Game


Jan 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the third quarter in the NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

According to Adam Scheffer, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was fined $22,050 for his cheep shot on Russell Wilson following an interception. Matthews drilled Wilson in the head, and was lucky not be ejected for the hit.

For his part, Wilson was lucky not to be injured on the play. His neck snapped sideways in an awkward fashion.

The fine cost Matthews more than half of his game check. Players in the conference championship games make $42,000 for the game. That makes the $22,050 fine significant.

Seattle offensive guard was also fined for a hit in that game. He was fined $8,268 for his diving hit of a Packers player that had just sacked Wilson. Sweezy’s hit was clearly after the play and was certain to be fined.

Few people likely will have issue with Sweezy’s hit though. He was simply protecting his quarterback. Offensive linemen are often taught to be act like enforcers and keep players away from the quarterback after the play.

The NFL is going to have another perception problem on its hands here. Matthews’ fine for trying to decapitate one of the league’s star players was almost identical to Marshawn Lynch’s fine. All Lynch did was provide a celebratory “solute to the member’s only club.

This came after threatening to eject Lynch if he tried to wear gold shoes for the game. So gold shoes and a “package adjustment” are worse, or at least equal to, an obvious cheep shot to the head.

It is tough to say whether or not Matthews intended to injury Wilson on the play. It should also be completely obvious that what he did was far worse than anything Lynch did.

The NFL is clearly missing the point when it comes to these fines.