- The Cleveland Browns won the game 21-7 against the Pittsburgh Steelers but kept the fight going past the whistle.
- Myles Garrett has been fined twice already this year for illegal or improper hits but this was a different situation.
- Oddsmakers have posed the questions as to whether Garrett will be suspended for the rest of the NFL season or not.
CLEVELAND – On Thursday Night Football, an ugly game turned even uglier when a brawl broke lose in the closing seconds of the game. The Pittsburgh Steelers were down two scores but were still attempting to pass their way into another scoring opportunity.
After releasing the ball on a pass, Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph took a hit from Myles Garrett. The hit came possibly later than it should have and extended well past both players hit the ground.
Rudolph immediately grabbed Garrett’s helmet in an attempt to not back down, but it was Garrett that took things to the next level. While getting up, Garrett ripped Rudolph’s helmet off of his head (chinstrap still attached) and proceeded to taunt Rudolph. As Rudolph came back into the picture (with his offensive linemen already pushing back Garrett), the Browns defensive lineman swung Rudolph’s helmet directly over the top of Rudolph’s uncovered head – a sight that is terrible for the impact of NFL player safety.
This escalated the situation, causing Steelers guard David DeCastro to continue to push back Garrett toward the endzone. Maurkice Pouncey joined the mix delivering multiple punches to Garrett (both while standing and when Garrett fell to the ground), and Pouncey continued to kick Garrett, showing no signs of ending the fight.
At the end of it all, the players were suspended for the remaining eight seconds of gameplay, but the end of the situation is far from over. As US sportsbooks are offering odds on how many games Myles Garrett will be suspended for, experts at USAOnlineSportsbooks discussed the situation surrounding the NFL special prop bet.
Anthony Shafnisky: What was your initial reaction after seeing the play live?
Hasan Nabulsi: I thought my TV automatically turned itself into a WWE Thursday Night Smackdown show. I mean, I was absolutely dumbfounded at the fact that any Browns player would do something so egregious, especially after your team solidified a win against a division rival. It just didn’t make any sense to me so I was of the mindset that Garrett should have been punished on the spot. In a way he was once other Steelers came to Rudolph’s defense.
Michael Molter: It was one of the crazier endings to a football game, I’d ever seen. Garrett is known as a player that stays out of the drama and media, so it was quite shocking to see that he was involved. Not a pretty way to end a primetime game, but I missed the helmet hit at first and only saw Pouncey kicking Garrett while on the ground.
A: How did it change after instant replay?
H: After watching the replay, it obvious as to why and how Mason Rudolph’s came off. It was pretty clear that Rudolph when both players were on the ground that Rudolph was trying to rip Garrett’s helmet off. Garrett wanted to give him a taste of his own medicine, but he clearly took it a bit too far. The fact that Garrett technically didn’t start the skirmish immediately made me want to defend him a bit.
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M: I saw why the situation escalated with Rudolph attempting to remove Garrett’s helmet on the ground. It also looked like he attempted to kick Garrett below the belt. However, in a divisional game with both teams having everything to lose, emotions run high. Still, that is no excuse for physically assaulting someone of the football field.
A: Will the Vontaze Burfict suspension earlier this year influence the NFL’s decision in this matter?
H: It may, but it shouldn’t. Vontaze Burfict had been suspended multiple games in past seasons for reckless on the field play. Burfict’s hit on Jack Doyle earlier this year could have ended Doyle’s career. His season-long suspension was a culmination of aggressive play over time. Garret’s punishment should be looked at as a spur of the moment ordeal, similar to when Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan ripped each other’s helmets off and fought after a play in 2010.
M: It shouldn’t. Burfict has a history of illegal and potentially dirty hits while Garrett is just a hard hitter that stepped out of line. With Burfict, he was judged more on his previous actions while Garrett only has a few fines for late hits – something that happens to nearly every player nowadays no matter the player’s history. These issues should be and will likely be treated as separate instances.
A: Do you think Mason Rudolph should press charges?
H: No, because at the end of the day Rudolph isn’t innocent in this whole situation. He invoked Garret by trying to rip off his helmet initially and he ran back to him after his helmet was ripped off. So what would his defense be? It wasn’t until after he got hit in the head that he looked to the refs for intervention, but if that’s what he wanted he should have gone to them initially.
M: He has a case should he want to. That is never something that would naturally occur on the football field, and Rudolph could make the claim that it was an extraneous act. In the focus of player safety and head injuries, Garrett knows better but that knowledge might not stop a potential lawsuit. If that event takes place anywhere other than a sporting event, it is considered assault or even assault with a deadly weapon. Unlikely Garrett will be prosecuted but we could definitely see a punishment extend outside of football.
A: Would you take the over (-500) or under (+300) on Bovada’s 5.5 game suspension prop bet for Myles Garrett?
H: I would take the under, just based on past decisions by the NFL. If you look at the 2010 fight between Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan, both of those players were fined $25K and weren’t even suspended for a single game. In a more similar situation, back in 2010 Antonio Smith of the Houston Texans ripped Richie Incognito’s helmet off and tried to use it as a weapon against him. Smith was only suspended for two preseason games and one regular-season game. Even the worst on the field incident that happened in the modern NFL was when Albert Haynesworth stomped on Andre Gurode’s exposed head. Gurode had to get 30 stitches after that and Haynesworth only got suspended for five games. It just seems unlikely that the NFL would essentially destroy the Browns entire season for a little spat at the end of the game.
M: To me, it is an instant suspension for the remainder of the season. The over would be the play I would take, as the NFL will likely use this as an example. Though most off of the field domestic disputes and situations surrounding illegal PED use are generally a four-game suspension, this was on primetime television and is one of the star players of a young up and coming team. Baker Mayfield knew almost instantly that Garrett would be suspended but posed the question for how long. It seems like a safe bet, even with the odds, to take the over here.
Anthony has been focused on sports and writing about them since he was a child. A lover of tennis and golf, Anthony spends most of his time fixated on every major tournament and the rumors surrounding the players. Born in Czechia, Anthony is always looking for fun places to travel that involve hiking mountains as well as unique restaurants.