At the end of the Seattle Seahawks loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 14, things turned ugly, with penalty flags flying and two members of the Seahawks defensive line getting ejected. The ordeal began after Michael Bennett and Brandon Linder, well, I’ll just let you watch and decide for yourself.
Here's the video of Bennett diving into the centers legs. pic.twitter.com/Hmx0gSew9S— The 617 Report (@617Report) December 11, 2017
In the days after that occurred, the internet was full of proclamations that Bennett should be fined and suspended for being such a dirty player and going after the knees of an offensive lineman, but much to the disappointment of Bennett’s haters all across the country, here is the news that came out on Friday.
Bennett’s response to not being fined was, surprisingly, a lack of surprise:
However much of the rest of the internet was aghast with the travesty of Bennett not being fined.
Michael Bennett intentionally goes for the knees of a Jacksonville offensive lineman on a meaningless kneeldown: No fine— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) December 15, 2017
Trumaine Johnson talks trash to Alshon Jeffery: $10,000 fine
Good work, NFL. https://t.co/uekhfoab4y
The NFL fined four players for players for the skirmish at the end of the Seahawks-Jags games, but Michael Bennett is not one of them. The whole thing started when he took a cheap shot at Jacksonville player's knees. The NFL's discipline is a joke.— Dennis Cook (@dennismcook) December 15, 2017
The fact that Michael Bennett can try to take out Jacksonville’s center’s knees TWICE and gets no fine is another reason Goodell sucks— david mackey (@DmackeyGagolf) December 15, 2017
If Michael Bennett was not a nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year, he would've been fined or suspended for what he did in the Jacksonville game last week— Raiders (6-7) (@jlfviper) December 15, 2017
And this one wasn’t actually in response to Bennett being fined, but definitely goes
Anyone but Michael Bennett. Dude is talented but he’s a PoS for diving at that guy’s knees @ Jacksonville— Tyler Davis (@tylerdavis7299) December 15, 2017
Perhaps most amusing in all of this are the proclamations by so many that diving at the legs of an offensive lineman is such a horrific offense that Bennett should be fined and suspended for it. That idea is, frankly, laughable. Defensive players dive at the legs of offensive linemen all the time. Just to give a perfect example of this - or rather three perfect examples of this - here is a link to a video of every Mike Davis rushing attempt and target in the passing game from the Seahawks game against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 13. There is no need to watch the entire video, as it is only necessary to watch a single third quarter rushing attempt to demonstrate what is necessary. The link should be queued up to start at the 1:34 mark, so if for some reason it does not, feel free to simply fast forward to the 1:34 point.
Now, just in case you missed it, there are three important parts to that clip of the Davis rushing attempt . The first is the defensive lineman line up across from Duane Brown. Brown is second from the end of the line on the near side of the field. As soon as the ball is snapped, the defensive lineman dives forward from his four point stance and cuts under Brown, forcing Brown to the ground. The second player to watch is Ethan Pocic. The DT in a four point stance across from Pocic goes so low that Pocic reaches down to engage him and drive him to the ground (and by drive him to the ground, I mean fall on top of while getting blown backward).
Lastly, Jordan Roos is in at fullback on this play, and he gets hit so low by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins that he ends up doing a somersault. It’s hard to see the actual hit on Roos in that video because it is obstructed by Brandon Graham and Matt Tobin, however, here are two different stills showing how low Roos was hit.
So, in short, defensive players often attack offensive linemen by going low. In most cases it doesn’t warrant a fine or a suspension unless it is egregious, and apparently the NFL decided it was not egregious in Michael Bennett’s case.
The odds of finding that opinion on the internet, however, are probably pretty slim.