With the Patriots‘ stunning Super Bowl win over the Seahawks on Sunday, an NFL season rife with controversy comes to a close. From domestic violence, to drug and alcohol abuse, to Marshawn Lynch’s crotch grabs and anti-interviews to Deflategate, the league had a fair share of punishment to hand out this year. Typical misbehavior results in hefty fines and suspensions, which is what I’ll be taking a closer look at in this article. We’ll see who’s misbehaved the most, who’s received the largest penalties, take a look at some unique scenarios, and more. Enjoy.
What Warrants Punishment From the NFL?
Since 2002, NFL players have forfeited more than $91 million due to fines and suspensions. About $17 million came from actual fines, while the rest of that $91 million is money missed out on during suspensions. Below, a quick look at the different reasons for fines in the NFL.
After that, we’ve got suspensions. which have cost players some serious cash over the years.
Who Does the NFL Punish?
First, we’ll take a look at the individual players who’ve found themselves in trouble the most over the years. Below, the most-fined players since 2002.
The only player that has received more fines than Suh is Cortland Finnegan, with 10. His rap sheet includes three fighting penalties, two face masks, two late hits, a face mask, a roughing the passer, and an unsportsmanlike conduct.
On to the even more costly punishment, player suspensions.
Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly received the largest single suspension in our study. In 2010, he was suspended indefinitely when he was arrested for possession with intent to distribute at least 200 grams of codeine. Later, he would be arrested and charged for possession with to distribute at least 600 grams of codeine. His license was also suspended at the time. He was arrested and charged again that same year for possession of codeine and tampering with evidence. All in all, Jolly was suspended for 48 games.
Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington lost the most money due to a single suspension – $3,000,000 during a 16-game suspension.
We know which players have been disciplined the most…now how bout we take a look at which positions seem to attract the most trouble. Below, the most fined NFL Positions since 2002.
Defensive tackles have been fined the second-highest amount at$2,157,563. Ndamukong Suh received three of the top five largest fines against DTs since 2002, and seven of the top 15. Warren Sapp, Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork are the only other players to find themselves in the top 15 more than once – each of them are there twice.
On to the most suspended NFL positions.
The second-most suspended position is running back. Only 12 out of 26 running back suspensions were substance abuse related, but perhaps the most famous substance abuse story in the history of the NFL involved running back Ricky Williams. Despite four failed drug tests an early retirement and improbable return, Williams ended his career shortly after becoming the 26th running back in the history of the NFL to reach the 10,000 yard club.
Outside linebackers have lost $10,445,682 to NFL suspensions – more than any other position. OLBs with suspensions that cost them more than a million are the Niners’ Aldon Smith ($2,422,972), the Colts’ Robert Mathis ($2,058,822) and the Saints’ Will Smith ($1,619,377 and $1,411,764). Ouch.
Onwards to the team statistics. Below, every team ranked by the number of player fines since 2002.
The Tennessee Titans lead the league in number of fines since 2002 with 68. That’s 56 more than the least-fined team, the Kansas City Chiefs. The team with the largest amount of money fined is the Baltimore Ravens. They have 8 fewer fines than the Titans, but nearly $1 million more in fines. Much of their total comes from the largest player fine in NFL history – $760,000 against Jamal Lewis. The Ravens are the only team to break the $1 million mark. The next-closest team is the Detroit Lions with $970,437. Nearly half of their fines came from Ndamukong Suh ($445,875).
Now for team suspension data.
With 13 suspensions for 71 games, no team has been hit harder by suspensions than the Washington Redskins since 2002. The best argument would be for the Carolina Panthers, who’ve received 11 suspensions for a total 79 games. Suspended Denver Broncos players have missed out on the most money thanks to their suspensions. Specifically, DJ Williams ($1,729,411), Wes Welker ($941,176), and Matt Prater ($897,058) lost sizable portions of their salary to suspensions.
That’s all I’ve got for this post. I hope you enjoyed it! Hit me up on Twitter @andrewpomo and @seatsmart. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments, and if you have any specific data requests, don’t hesitate to write me at email@example.com.
Thanks to Spotrac.com
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