New York Jets safety Eric Smith has been fined $50,000 and suspended for one game for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Arizona wide receiver Anquan Boldin. After the hit, Bolden collapsed in the end zone and was carted off the field. He was taken to the hospital, released, and currently resting at home.
After reviewing the play several times in slow motion, I have to say that it’s unfortunate how the play turned out, for two reasons:
First and foremost, it’s unfortunate Boldin was hurt. You never want to see something like that happen where a player is knocked out due to the violent nature of the game.
Secondly, it’s unfortunate that the helmet-to-helmet contact happened at all, because Smith was not aiming for his head.
While watching the replay, you can see that one of Smith’s teammates hit Boldin from behind, pushing him forward towards Smith. As Boldin was falling forward, his head was moving downward, and Smith had already launched himself at Boldin. Had Smith’s teammate not hit Boldin from behind, it’s probable that Smith would have hit him just above the numbers and below the head, in the shoulder region.
By no means am I defending the hit or questioning the NFL rule. It was helmet-to-helmet, and by rule, Smith was fined and suspended. But it also was not Smith’s fault and the helmet-to-helmet contact probably could have been avoided had it not been for Smith’s teammate hitting Bolden from behind.