Roger Goodell is a powerful guy. He issues suspensions and fines at the drop of a helmet.
Or the raising of a middle finger: a US$40,000 (Dh147,000) tab for Tennessee's Chuck Cecil over a single-digit salute to an official? Harsh for a modestly paid assistant coach.
So why can the commissioner not declare the whole NFC West ineligible for the play-offs? The teams are not guilty of bad behaviour, only bad football.
Their aggregate record is 6-10, not terrible, except half of those wins came against each other. San Francisco are 0-4, and if they do not win soon, Mike Singletary, their coach, will wind up on injured reserve with a broken face from his eye-bulging grimaces.
The rest are 2-2, but those numbers deceive. The Arizona Cardinals are on their third quarterback since pre-season. They have dropped two road games by a combined 82-17.
The Seattle Seahawks have fallen twice by 17 points. Some of their new coach Pete Carroll's college offences at Southern Cal were superior to this one. The St Louis Rams are the steadiest so far, even with Sam Bradford their rookie quarterback. But, c'mon, the Rams? Another option for Goddell: mid-season realignment.
What are Dallas doing in the NFC East and St Louis in the West, anyway? Look at the US map. The NFL's bean-counters would love to see the Cowboys in the post-season. Put them in a division of duds, where they belong geographically, and it's a done deal.