When Eric Smith leveled Wes Welker with a big hit to the head on Sunday, it should have raised red flags both on and off the field.
On the field, it certainly got Bill Belichick's attention. The Patriots' head coach was visibly angered by the questionable hit to a defenseless Wes Welker. As he told WEEI's Mike Petraglia, that sort of hit is going to bring some attention from upstairs.
"I think we both kind of saw the same thing," Belichick said of his heated discussion with the side judge moments after the play. "They threw a flag on it. I don't think that's really what the league is looking for, are those kind of play. I can't imagine they are. See what they want to do about it."
While Belichick doesn't actually say the league should go any further than the 15-yard penalty that was assessed to the Jets after the play, he would certainly be right to--whether with a fine or, perhaps, more. The league has focused on concussions this past year, complete with a safety poster so bad that there's an internet contest to redesign it. And it's not like this is Eric Smith's first offense.
The hit was dirty. And even if it wasn't, it was dangerous. Maybe this is another step towards softening what's supposed to be the most physical team sport in the country, but when the players' lives are at stake, the law needs to be laid down.