NFL fines show not all head-butts equal

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As I said this week, not all head-butts are created equal.

Carolina Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn was penalized for a first-quarter head-butt against San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree in Sunday's 23-10 loss to the 49ers, but was not fined by the NFL.

San Francisco wide receiver Anquan Boldin was not penalized for his second-quarter head-butt of Carolina safety Mike Mitchell, but was fined $7,875 by the NFL.

The penalty against Munnerlyn led to a San Francisco field goal. The lack of a penalty against Boldin after a first-down catch to the Carolina 9-yard line led to a 49ers' touchdown with five seconds left in the first half.

In other words, instead of first-and-goal from the 24, the 49ers had first-and-goal from the 9.

That had a dramatic impact in the game, as San Francisco went into halftime ahead 13-10. Had the 49ers settled for a field goal, the Panthers would have led 10-9.

Also fined, Carolina cornerback Josh Thomas was docked $7,875 for throwing a punch at San Francisco receiver Quinton Patton, and San Francisco running back Frank Gore was fined the same amount for grabbing the facemask of linebacker Thomas Davis while blocking in the second quarter.

Mitchell was not fined for hitting a defenseless defender in the first quarter, but the Panthers were penalized 15 yards for the hit. That led to San Francisco's first field goal.

Maybe all this is why Mitchell said afterwards, "I can't wait to play them [again] with a new set of refs in a new game."