San Francisco 49ers‘ safety Donte Whitner received a gift from the NFL for Christmas: no fine.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>Great news! I didn't get fined! Thank you <a href=”https://twitter.com/nfl”>@nfl</a>!</p>— DonteHitner (@DonteWhitner) <a href=”https://twitter.com/DonteWhitner/statuses/416305413861416960″>December 26, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Donte Whitner cleanly hit Steven Jackson on a crucial third down play. Naturally, the big hit earned an automatic flag for playing defense. Santa, however, still brought the niners some presents with a win that night. He must have let Dean Blandino, the NFL VP of officiating, in on a secret as well: big hits are not necessarily illegal.
Now that Whitner has avoided a fine for the third time this season, perhaps he can take some of his teammates out for a nice dinner. The NFL, on the other hand, might want to figure out how to officiate games without making fans, columnists, analysts, players, coaches, and everyone in between upset. Yes, officiating is a difficult job, but there has to be a way to avoid all of this controversy. My solution: clean up and simplify the playbook. It is beginning to resemble a bill in Congress: convoluted, thick, dense, confusing, and impossible to understand completely. It does not have to be this way.
NFL, next Christmas, please give me the present of a rulebook officials can implement. I know it’s a lot to ask for, so I will ask Santa to help you.
Doug (and Donte)