The NFL has ruled that neither the Kansas City Chiefs defender Daniel Sorenson hit delivered to Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins, nor did the Tackles Browns linebacker, made against Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, warrant a fine.
Given that “Dirty Dan” was not punished during the game and was not subsequently punished by the League, the message sent is that it was acceptable for Sorenson to lead the crown of his helmet into the Higgins helmet, in spite of it the fact that the rules specifically forbid it.
This is quite problematic as this hit is dangerous not only to Higgins, who was struck in the side of his head by the crown of Sorenson’s helmet, but also to Sorenson.
The illegal hit also helped get Higgins fumbling, who then bounced into the end zone before crossing the lines, handing the ball to the Chiefs on their own 20-yard line as a touchback. It was a major turning point in the game and helped determine the outcome.
The Browns lost the game by 5.
Wilson’s hit wasn’t illegal. He tracked down Mahomes and made the attack. The twisting of Mahomes was tied to the tackle and nothing Wilson did was after the whistle or with the intention of injuring Mahomes, who was going to be kicked out of the game and who started showing symptoms of concussion immediately after the game.
Sorenson is effectively rewarded by opting for dangerous and illegal action for not having been punished at all. It did so despite the rules advising analysts that it was illegal live when the piece was reviewed. It was also made explicit, despite the half-time coverage, that the call was missed and many analysts shouted it out after the game. It’s helped the Chiefs advance to the AFC Championship, and while the NFL can’t go back and fix the call afterwards, they can certainly do more than pretend that an illegal hit was actually legal to cover up bad governance.