The National Football League is a ridiculously lucrative franchise. Forbes reports that on average, each NFL team is worth $1.17 billion. The NFL blows all other sports teams out of the water when it comes to worth, and it is easy to see why. Stadiums, merchandise, and television deals bring in huge sums every year.
One money aspect of the league is player fines. According to the NFL, the collected fines go to charities: “All on-field fine money collected by the NFL is used for charitable purposes. These funds have been used to support retired player programs, including the NFL Player Care Foundation and NFLPA Players Assistance Trust; disaster relief initiatives; and health-related charities.”
However, some — like Carolina Panther Michael Mitchell – question that statement. Wherever the money ends up, there certainly is a lot of it: More than $10 million in fines has been doled out in 2013. Going into Thanksgiving Day play, here are the 10 teams that have racked up the most fines.
10. Houston Texans (2-9)
Biggest contributor: Antonio Smith, $352,941
Smith’s fine was due to fighting with Richie Incognito, who is currently suspended from the Miami Dolphins. The incident dates back to August, well before the Incognito brouhaha came to light, and is part of a long history of disagreements between the two men.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-8)
Biggest contributor: Dashon Goldson, $394,705
Goldson has been racking up fines for the Buccaneers this year. There is $100,000 to be paid for a helmet-to-helmet hit against Darren Sproles of the New Orleans Saints and a $30,000 fine for a hit on New York Jet Jeff Cumberland. Finally, the big one: a $264,705 fine and one-game suspension for violating the league’s policy of player safety during a hit on Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons. It was another helmet-to-helmet hit.
8. Washington Redskins (3-8)
Biggest contributors: Rob Jackson, $168,235; Jarvis Jenkins, $167,009
The penalties for these two men also included a four-game suspension each. Issued in different months, the reason given for the fines was substance abuse.
7. Indianapolis Colts (7-4)
Biggest contributor: Weslye Saunders, $261,176
Testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, this was Saunders’ second go-around with the NFL. He missed eight games at the beginning of the season, and if Saunders violates the same rule a third time, he will be suspended for one year. Trailing Saunders by a little less than $100,000 is teammate Erik Walden’s $176,470 fine for head-butting Tennessee’s Delanie Walker.
6. New York Jets (5-6)
Biggest contributor: Mike Goodson, $250,253
After serving his four-game suspension for substance abuse, Goodson injured his knee in his second game back, putting him out of commission for the rest of the season. More recently, Goodson was indicted on a charge claiming he possessed firearms and illegal ammunition.
5. Seattle Seahawks (10-1)
Biggest contributor: Brandon Browner, $239,999
In addition to forking over cash, Browner will have to sit out 16 games after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy (again). Right behind Browner is Walter Thurmond, who will miss four games and pay $177,852, also for substance abuse.
4. Arizona Cardinals (7-4)
Biggest contributor: Daryl Washington, $564,706
Washington was slapped with a fine in April for substance abuse. He was suspended for four games, and on October 11, he was fined for roughing up the passer when Arizona played the Carolina Panthers.
3. Denver Broncos (9-2)
Biggest contributor: Von Miller, $806,161
In addition to his fine, Miller missed the first six games of the season with the Broncos after a substance abuse violation. Miller attempted to circumvent a drug test by having someone else take it for him, CBS Sports reports. Any further violations, failure to follow protocol, or a failed test could result in a one-year suspension.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)
Biggest contributor: Justin Blackmon, $651,946
Stemming from substance abuse charges, the fine also came with a suspension. As a result, Blackmon will not play for the rest of the season. He will be eligible to apply for reinstatement for the 2014 season.
1. Miami Dolphins (5-6)
Biggest contributor: Richie Incognito, $1,176,470
This is hardly surprising for anyone who has been paying moderate attention to the NFL recently. Incognito’s fine of $1,176,470 for “conduct detrimental to the team” takes up a whopping 95.7 percent of Miami’s total. Without Incognito’s fine, Miami would be in the bottom five teams for fines. Incognito’s grievance hearing against the terms of his suspension has been postponed and not yet rescheduled.
Don’t Miss: The NFL’s Top 10 Career Earners.