Thursday, August 22, 2013
Who gets penalized the most?
By Tania Ganguli
Numbers can be tricky things, and they can't be viewed in a vacuum.
But to help add perspective to the overall discussion of Antonio Smith and Richie Incognito, I consulted ESPN Stats & Information for a broader look at some numbers on penalties incurred by NFL players.
Analyst John McTigue broke down the players with the most personal foul-penalties since 2005 -- the year Incognito entered the league.
The name at the top of the list is familiar to Houston Texans fans: cornerback Cortland Finnegan, famous for winding up in a fistfight with the mild-mannered Andre Johnson. Finnegan is joined at the head of the list by another former Titan, Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Smith and Incognito are tied over that span with 14.
It's pretty rare for offensive players to get personal-foul penalties. They are much more liberally meted out to defensive players, partially because of the nature of the call (an offensive player can't, for example, rough the passer). Even still, Incognito wound up among the top 11 players overall to be flagged for personal fouls. He is the only offensive representative.
During the past five seasons, Smith was whistled for 11 personal-foul penalties while Incognito had 10. Incognito's 10 is the highest number for any offensive player in the league during that time. (Oddly, fourth on the offensive list is Falcons receiver Roddy White, who has six personal fouls in the past five years.)
Smith ranks fourth among defensive players in the past five years. Finnegan (15) continued to lead the list, followed by safety Bernard Pollard (13), outside linebacker Trent Cole (12) and Smith, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, outside linebacker Cliff Avril and defensive end Jason Babin all tied at 11.