- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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One reader referred to it as the “slap heard around the world.”
Of course, we’re referring to Richard Seymour’s pop to the face of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday.
The Oakland Raiders’ star defensive lineman was ejected from Pittsburgh’s 35-3 win and he was fined $25,000 by the league for it. There was speculation that he could be fined heavier or even suspended because of his on-field history of violence and the fact that he popped a high-profile quarterback.
Still, the story was big enough the readers to vote it as the AFC West storyline of the week. The other candidates was Oakland benching quarterback Jason Campbell in favor of Bruce Gradkowski again, but going back to Campbell moving forward and Kansas City taking control of the AFC West by coupling its win over Arizona with Oakland’s loss.
Had Seymour’s punishment been more severe, I’d say it was the story of the week. But my pick is the Chiefs’ jumping back into first place in this wild AFC West race. But this is your feature and the Seymour story is the winner.
Below are some of your responses. Thanks to everyone who participated:
Justin from Arroyo Grande, CA.: I think the story here is Seymour popping Roethlisberger to the face. During the week, Roethlisberger showed nothing but respect for the defensive linemen, who he said should have strong consideration for DPOY. I am a Raider fan but this was an absolute embarassment for this team. the game was close but as soon as seymour went out the lights went out for oakland. He is a leader of this team and should set a better example for they younger guys. he was involved with 2 or 3 scrums which was bound to happen against the steelers, but the fact he hit a QB that had nothing but respect for him is absolutely shocking. it looked like he acted out of pure instinct from the emotions of the game and the feel of someone pushing him out of the way, but he should have kept his composure and not decked big ben in the mouth.
Oslo Silver from Atlanta: The story of the week has to be Richard Seymour's smackdown of Big Ben. Why? Because that was the Raiders' highlight reel for the game. If not for that, us Raider fans would have nothing from Sunday's game. At least that gave us something.
Noke from Eastampton, NJ: Has to be Jason Campbell still Oakland's starting QB. Campbell had his shot to continue the winning streak but failed miserably. Gradkowski needs to start, as he provides the kind of energy the offense needs. Other than the Denver game, Campbell has started extremely slow only to pick it up in the 2nd half. For Oakland to be successful, they need a QB that will get them rolling out the gate and Campbell is not that person. I'm sure Campbell will have a short leash Sunday against Miami and rightfully so.
Michael Holt from Manhattan, KS.: Hey Bill, love your blog keep up the good work. The clear storyline for this week is the Chiefs taking back first place in the West. Something they have managed to keep at least a share of all season when no one picked them to do anything. It's just nice to see someone other than San Diego up at the top this late in the season. With Dexter McCluster coming back (hopefully) after his 4 game absence with the ankle injury, Kansas City is only going to get better. Going to be a great race to the finish this year as it looks like the Chargers are going to have a late resurgence once again. Even as a bias KC fan I can wish the rest of the West good luck, because who doesnt love good competitive football? Go CHIEFS!!!!
Wije from Charleston, SC: The story has to be Seymour's slap heard round the world. When I saw it I felt like it was one of those Nike "Boom" commercials. It happened so quick, I don't think Seymour even realized who he slapped until he was looking down at him. I'm a Raiders fan, and I was suprised that the fine was not bigger and there wasn't a suspension. I have to admit, I smiled when I saw it (and Ben probably had it coming), but it was definitely not the right thing to do. I think the fine's need to be percentages of yearly salary rather than static amounts because $25,000 might hurt the lowest paid guys, but to Seymour that's like change he keeps in his cup holder. Hopefully the Raiders can just channel that anger and punish the Dolphins this week for some redemption.
Kevin from Boise: I like the Seymour faceplanting Big Ben. When I saw that live I relived the LeGarrette Blount punching Bryan Hout after BSU beat Oregon last year. As they showed the replay Big Ben did make the initial contact with Seymour and looks a little like taunting and then the next thing we know is that Ben in on the ground. I think that Seymour should have gotten a bigger fine for that action and also Ben should have ben fined as well for making the first contact. I also believe that Seymour should have been suspended 1 game as well. But the messageboards loved the punch and of course...the actions of the off-season was the #1 topic.
Mark Johnston from Sierra Vista, AZ.: The story lines are all great--more uproar in Oakland over the QB; Seymor gets fined--but, the CHiefs taking control over the division has to be in the top spot; especially with San Diego playing at the level it is and Oakland resurgant. How long has it been since the division was the "Wild West?"
Tony C. from Malta, NY: It has to be Seymour laying out "big Ben". Yea the Raiders lost and it looked like we were the Raiders of old, but that's what Ben gets for touching Seymour and obviously saying something to tick him off right after they scored on us. The steelers aren't anything special. They just caught us off gaurd and we wont let it happen again. Was also good to see a team get more penalties than us. I guess the refs hate the steelers more than the Raiders. thanks Bill i enjoy you stuff!
2dEric D. Williams