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Steelers fined $35,000, Emmanuel Sanders fined $15,000 for allegedly faking injury

The NFL has never needed evidence to do what it feels it must to protect the integrity of a game that allows dances in the end zone as a means of marketing.


So we're clear, it costs $15,750 for a defensive player to hit a receiver in the head (whether flags are thrown for that, or whether the defensive player even hits the receiver in the head is a different story).

It costs a receiver $15,000 and his team $35,000 if that player gets a leg cramp during a fourth quarter drive.

Those are the amounts Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders and the Steelers were fined, respectively, for Sanders' alleged "fake" leg cramp during the Steelers' 24-17 win over Cincinnati in Week 7.

Sanders sat out one play while drinking water or Gatorade while trainers massaged his calf.

Troy Polamalu suffered an injury to his calf in the Steelers' win over Philadelphia, and hobbled off the field in a similar fashion. The league bought the notion he was actually hurt when he missed the team's next four games. Apparently, though, he would not have been allowed to return without being subjected to a fine.

Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz physically displayed all the symptoms of being hit in the head by Steelers safety Ryan Clark in the Steelers' 24-20 win in Week 9. Replay clearly shows he wasn't hit anywhere near his head.

Cruz laid all but motionless on the ground, convincing the back judge Clark must have hit him in the head. Cruz miraculously got up from his chalk-outlined body after the official threw a flag, penalizing the Steelers 15 yards for a "blow to the head."

No statement from the league has been released on whether Cruz will be subjected to the same punishment, begging the question, why should a receiver fake a leg cramp when he'd get 15 yards and a free timeout if he acted like he got hit in the head?

We all know these questions will never be answered, nor will ones pertaining to the randomly below acceptable level of officiating from that Week 9 game.

Chalk it up to "Us Against The World," which, for the Steelers, has made an unexpected yet dramatic comeback in 2012.