Baltimore Ravens' OLB Terrell Suggs is never one to shy away from a microphone, and he also doesn't shy away from controversial topics in regards to NFL policies and procedures. While on ESPN's First Take program, the topic of the overall treatment of quarterbacks in today's game was brought up, and his response spoke volumes.
"I don't like the treatment he [Tom Brady] gets. With all due respect, everybody seen how we hit that boy in that black and yellow [Ben Roethlisberger], they don't throw him any flags. I mean everything's legal with Mr. Ben, but you get close to those guys who sell those tickets. The 18's [Peyton Manning], the 12's [Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers], the 9's [Drew Brees]. You get too close to them and they like, "Hey!". At the end of the day this is a business, you don't hurt those guys. You don't touch them, you don't even look at they bodies. It's a quarterback driven league."
Suggs is right, the NFL is a quarterback driven league, but his notion of biased treatment to specific quarterbacks certainly is difficult to ignore, especially for fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Suggs' mention of Ben Roethlisberger and the beating he has taken throughout his career, and compare it to the treatment of other quarterbacks makes you wonder if Suggs is making a very valid point.
Roethlisberger has had his nose broken, hits to the knees as well as being leg-whipped this 2014 season (just to name a few) all without being penalized. The thought of Brady, Manning or Brees having the same thing done to them without a flag makes you wonder if Suggs is merely pointing out a very crooked aspect not only of the NFL, but of league officiating.
Roethlisberger, and other quarterbacks who don't fall down in the face of pressure, have been told due to their style of play at the quarterback position they will take more hits and won't draw as many flags.
If the NFL is trying to protect it's quarterbacks, shouldn't they protect all of them and not just a select group?
Suggs is speaking directly as a defensive player in a league where hard hits, collisions and hitting the quarterback has become outlawed across the league, but the question of whether the NFL allows a player's status or success dictate what penalties are, or aren't, called is a problem not just with defensive players but with everyone in the league.
This trend is unlikely to change, but it is refreshing to hear a player who is brave enough to speak up on a national stage and draw attention to an issue which has seemingly been going on for years.