Richie Incognito - Does the NFL Fail at Pattern Recognition?

Watch your back, Schaub - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

To use the term "rap sheet" would be quite appropriate. Someone should check to see if Park Avenue (NFL HQ) is somehow void of pattern recognition capabilities. This is pretty ridiculous that this player goes routinely unpunished (lately) after a long history of repeated violations of league rules and behavioral issues on and off the field.

Let’s also keep in mind that the events listed here are limited to just those actually found on record. Review the latest pre-season game of the Dolphins at Texans and there were several other violations that went un-flagged by officials, and without post game review and disciplinary action as well, including an egregious face mask and shove to the ground of Shiloh Keo and a failed attempt at a "peel back" block at the legs of Joe Mays. There were also some late hits after the whistle by Richie to several Texans players.

How the NFL, and game officials, fail to manage this maniac is beyond comprehension.

For the record…

2004 – [Univ. of Nebraska] Incognito was shifted to center during preseason camp in 2004; however, a series of off-field incidents culminated in his suspension before the 2004 season by the coaching staff. Soon after, he left the school and enrolled at the University of Oregon in late September, though under NCAA transfer rules, he was ineligible to play.

2008 – [NFL Rams] Multiple fines:
2008-10-17 $25,000 Repeated verbal abuse of a game official
2008-10-17 $5,000 Major face-mask that occurred on an extra-point attempt in the second quarter
2008-10-17 $5,000 Chop block

2009 – [NFL Rams] Incognito started all nine games in which he played for the Rams in 2009. He was waived on December 15, two days after committing two 15-yard personal foul penalties and engaging in a verbal confrontation with Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo during a 47-7 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The two personal fouls led to a fine from the NFL and a letter from the NFL league office. In the first quarter, Incognito head-butted an opponent after the conclusion of the play. In the second quarter, he struck an opponent late. These were Incognito’s fifth and sixth infractions for unnecessary roughness this season. He was fined $50,000 and told "Future infractions of the types you have committed may lead to increased disciplinary action up to and including suspension."

2011 – [NFL Dolphins] The first of the three fines was for Oakland’s Richard Seymour, who appeared to punch Dolphins’ guard Richie Incognito. Seymour was ejected from the game, and the league fined him $30,000 for the incident. But, the league also turned its attention toward the Dolphins as well. Incognito picked up a $7,500 fine for his role in the incident with Seymour.

2012 – [NFL Dolphins] Smith and Incognito had an incident in last year’s season opener in which they got tangled up after a play. Smith alleged Incognito was twisting his ankle. As a result, Smith kicked Incognito. Smith ended up with a $21,000 fine (which was later reduced to $11,000) while Incognito got nothing.

2012 – [NFL Dolphins] Fined $10,000 for Striking Tennessee LB Colin McCarthy late. Incognito was benched for a few plays by Dolphins coach Joe Philbin after the incident.

2013 – [NFL Dolphins] Dolphins guard Richie Incognito won another judgment against Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith on Tuesday when Smith was suspended for the final two games of pre-season and the regular season opener for yanking off Incognito’s helmet and swinging it at Incognito’s face. Incognito got nothing again, despite several shoves and hits to the facemask and neck of Smith prior to the helmet removal. Smith is appealing with the NFL.

2013 – [NFL Dolphins] Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito got into an altercation with a hotel security guard before the team opened training camp. A source said that Incognito traded punches with the guard before knocking him out.

The incident, which was reportedly caught on video, happened after Incognito spent time in the nightclub inside the Fountainbleu hotel on Miami’s South Beach. According to Schefter, the NFL has yet to see the tape and may not, both because of the hotel’s discretion and the fact the Dolphins have "done everything to bury it."

So what do you think?

Does the league need to take a closer look at players like Richie Incognito and clean things up? Is it allowing a double standard to exist with inconsistent application of rules and fines to certain players? Does the NFL allow offensive players more latitude than defensive players?

With the NFL under extreme pressure of lawsuits from former players regarding head trauma, it has been levying defensive players with steep fines for even "accidental" contact with another player's helmet, yet Richie just walked away without a fine, penalty or warning from several blows to Antonio Smith's head which could have resulted in injury. That is a violation of league rules*, and led to the escalation of Smith removing Richie's helmet in the incident.


Hands cannot be thrust forward above the frame to contact an opponent on the neck, face or head.

Note: The frame is defined as the part of the opponent’s body below the neck that is presented to the blocker.