This image provides a look at the bullshi*t personal foul call that cost the San Francisco 49ers a chance to win Sunday at the New Orleans Saints. The video of the play is here.

Essentially, we learned on Sunday that it is now illegal in the evermore pussified NFL to hit quarterbacks in the, you know, high-tech protective shoulder pads.

Here was the situation:

There was 3:18 to play in the fourth quarter and the 49ers led 20-17. The Saints faced a 3rd and 2 at the San Francisco 35, looking for a first down to assure themselves a better shot at a game-tying field goal.

San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks rushed around the right side of the Saints offense and collapsed the pocket. He wrapped his right arm around the shoulder pads of Drew Brees, certainly with violent force, and sacked the Saints QB. Brees fumbled, and the ball essentially popped into the hands of 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis.

The fumble recovery didn't quite yet put the game away. But it gave San Francisco an ideal opportunity to run out the clock and walk out of the Superdome with a rare win by a visiting team.

But instead, the Saints were awarded a first down, soon kicked a game-tying field goal, then won in the final seconds, 23-20.

It was a bullsh*t call even for impartial observers like the Mighty CHFFs. As you can see from the image or the video, Brooks:

  • did not hit Brees or in the head
  • did not hit Brees in the neck
  • did not grab Brees by the facemask

Brooks hit Brees in the SHOULDER PADS. But shoulder pads are now deemed the "neck area" by the NFL. You can't hit QBs low. And now you can't hit them high.

Even the description in the NFL gamebook sounds like BS:

"SF #52 P. Willis recovered the ball, but on the penalty for a blow to the head and neck area of a quarterback, the 49ers were not allowed to retain possession. The penalty was marked from the point of the sack."

We've looked at hundreds of NFL gamebooks and hundreds of NFL penalty calls over the years. We've never seen a penalty so meekly described with such passive language, almost like the league was embarrassed by the call.

Read it again with our emphasis added: 

"But on the penalty for a blow to the head and neck AREA of a quarterback, the 49ers WERE NOT ALLOWED to retain possession."

It doesn't say the 49ers were penalized for an infraction. It says they were not allowed to retain possession because a player was hit in the neck area (i.e., the shoulder pads).

It sounds like the NFL is making it up as they go, like federal officials trying to manage ObamaCare. Hey, you didn't lose your health insurance. You simply were not allowed to retain it.

The so-called infraction was called "personal foul, contact with the neck of the quarterback" by the officials on the field.

Regardless, there was no contact with the neck of the quarterback, as still images and video show. Brooks instead hit Brees in the shoulder pads, a high-tech piece of equipment used for decades to protect players from the impact of collision and long a signature element of the American football game. 

But apparently those trusty old shoulder pads are now deemed part of the "neck area" by the evermore pussified, emasculated modern NFL. 

Old-time players used to joke that quarterbacks would soon be wearing skirts. Charges like that once seemed like hyperbole for the sake of emphasis. But when you can no longer hit quarterbacks in the shoulder pads it seems that skirts, or at least practice-style "no contact" red jerseys, can't be too far away.

Good luck, America, with the National Flag Football League.