Blog Entry

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:13 am
Edited on: December 6, 2010 12:15 am
H. Miller suffered a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Baltimore's J. McClain (Getty).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Despite the detailed instructions and the diagrams and the variety of explanations and the tutorials, many of us still don’t understand the newly-reinforced helmet-to-helmet and defenseless receiver rules.

Why are some hits called and not others? What about the helmet-to-chest hits on a quarterback who just threw the ball? Is he defenseless? Can the defender led with his facemask? With the crown of his helmet? What if it’s below the waist?

I suppose some people have a handle on the rules, but there are times when I’m not sure if anybody knows what the hell is supposed to be called. Like, um, the dudes wearing the stripes during tonight’s Ravens-Steelers game.

Last Sunday, I got into a discussion with a Steelers fan on Twitter about why James Harrison was penalized for his illegal hit on Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

He claimed Harrison hit Fitzpatrick in the upper chest, and his helmet slid into Fitzpatrick’s chin. I countered that it was head-to-chin all the way.

He claimed there was a bias against the Steelers. I countered that the officials were giving Harrison more scrutiny – based on his reputation, why wouldn’t they? – but that ultimately Pittsburgh was treated the same as everybody else.

We went back and forth probably 10 or 12 times.

This week, owner Art Rooney II got into the act, saying he thought the NFL looked at the Steelers differently. I still vehemently disagree, even after tonight’s 13-10 Pittsburgh win against the Ravens when Roethlisberger was hit in the helmet twice with no flag thrown.

But what I’ll continue to question is why every game is called differently. And I believe this: if Harrison had destroyed the Ravens TE, instead of Baltimore’s Jameel McClain leveling Steelers TE Heath Miller on what was CLEARLY a helmet-to-helmet hit, Harrison would have been ejected, fined and suspended.

But with McClain, a yellow flag was not thrown. I’ll repeat that: when McClain gave us an absolute clinic on what is an illegal hit – there’s very little doubt this play will show up on the video that officials present to teams during next year’s training camps – and what should be penalized.

Instead, Miller crumpled to the turf in a frightening manner, and he later walked off the field with a concussion. And a 15-yard penalty was not called.

Minutes afterward, while the game was still in the third quarter, word began to leak out. NFL officials made sure to let everyone know that a penalty should have been called and that a mistake had been made. But the flag wasn’t thrown. And frankly, it wasn’t fair.

I understand the argument that players move at warp speed, and they can’t always control how they’re hitting an opponent. Mistakes happen. I get that. But the rule is the rule, and the penalties need to be enforced equally across the board.

I’m sure Harrison would agree.

“It was a hit that should have been penalized,” Harrison told NBC after the game. “Nine times out of 10, if you put me on that hit, a flag goes up and I’m fined.”

At the very least.

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Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:34 pm

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

Well you are right I don't watch every Pats game. I have just seen the ESPN shows that highlight the fact that the Two top QBs do this and they have an effect on the refs. Good for them. I'm just saying maybe Ben should start doing that as well. He might be able to effect the refs as well. If it helps to protect him a little better than AMEN. That was my point. The Steelers have a lot of money invested in him and have done a poor job putting together a line that will protect him and the refs are not helping with the non calls.

As far as the fines go. The only thing that makes me angry is the low fine on Seymore for a repeat offense of a after the play infraction. You can't tell me that it was a good call. If it was his first offense I think the fine should have been bigger. As a repeat offender the fine should have been larger and a one game suspension should have been handed out.

Where have I said Freeman is a douche?

As for the rape charges. It is clear that the first lady was looking for money. She had a mental breakdown before the incident. After the incident she went to a party less than 72 hours later and told a coworker she hoped she was pregnant so she could get child support from Ben. She was a proven habitual liar who took one year to come out and press charges. The second girl to me is honestly an unknown, but once you have been targeted once you'll always be a target. Ben is an idiot for putting himself in that situation. He has made statements that he messed up, don't take one answer to a question he answered a hundred times and say here it is. I'll bet Patriots got tired of answering cheater questions and gave blah blah answers too.

I didn't say the Patriots were never hit. I just said Brady is very well protected. You totally blew this one out of proportion. I am wrong that he gets good protection from the league? It makes sense that he and manning (faces of the NFL) get prefferential treatment. The Pats proved they can win without Brady, but without him they become a lesser national media story. Belicheat was punished in a manor comensurate to the crime. No Denver was not punished correctly, but there are some differences. The repeat offender with Belicheat, and the involvement of playoff records and Super Bowl Championships. The main theme is multiple offenses for Belicheat. Denver needs to be fined heavier and lose at least a third or fourth rounder.

I'll bet the hit on Miller will draw a fine, but I'm not sure about the hit on Ben. Either way the Steelers won so the outcome of the game was not cheapened.

Just to throw this in there Rice totally ripped on Polamalus face mask on the big play to Boldin on 3rd and 15. Just saying there were non calls that don't get complained about because those are easy to miss, but others are impossible to miss so they shouldn't be.

Since: Nov 21, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2010 11:51 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

3 words....


I swear, the NFL is doing a great impersonation of the NBA.  Calls favor the home team, unless the road team is from New England or New York (you know, NESPN teams).

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2010 11:33 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

@rg1951 - you're right, it was a cheap shot, my bad...

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2010 11:31 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

I'll give you this, Harrison is DEFINITELY targeted more than any other player by Goodell. That's no doubt. When this new "helmet to helmet" thing came out, I think Goodell missed the boat by letting Merriweather off as light as he did, especially when you compare it to what Harrisson got. I also think Hodge was out of line when all he did was go over the Merriweather hit again and again and again. I lost some respect for the guy as an announcer and analyst at that point. Granted, his hit was blatant, and worse than Harrisson's, but Hodge wouldn't let Merriweather go, and he was the ONLY guy he pointed out.

As far as saying Rothlesburger (I probably spelled his name wrong, go ahead, slam me for that) is the least protected QB in the league, I think that's a crock. I don't see anybody filing against the league for the hits that are happening to him, but I do see that with Vick. And while you're right, I don't watch every Steelers game, nor do I watch every Eagles game, that same argument holds true for you and your opinion of Brady getting away with everything. All you probably see, unless you're a closet Pats fan, are the Brady highlights. You get to read the articles on all the websites and catch the soundbites from guys like Suggs and Harrisson. If the article goes against somebody you don't like, or from a team you don't like, say maybe the Patriots... you're going to agree with him. If it goes against the Steelers, you'll be quick to write something like "Freeman, you're a douche". The thing is, you don't get to tell me I don't know what happens with Rothlesabadfbasdfgar if you get to tell me what happens with Brady. You don't watch the Pats games, you don't know.

As far as Ben being a rapist goes, you're right, he's only been accused. Twice. In two offseasons... Once is an anomaly, twice is a trend... And did you see what he said before he came back, after his suspension? They asked him if he learned anything, he said he learned that he misses football.... Really?

And yes, Belichick is a confirmed cheater. He taped teams. Wow. He did it from the wrong place, that was the break in the rule. And oh, while we're on how the Patriots get away with everything, they were fined a couple hundred G and a first round draft pick. How'd Denver make out with their taping scandal? Kind of like Rothalsdkfaserer did with his rape case...

Since: Jan 21, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2010 11:28 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

Stop crying haole... as Belichick would say, "It is what it is..."

Since: Sep 11, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2010 10:52 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

The game announcers are reinforcing the "paranoia" and "crybaby" fans. EVERY week they point out how weak the penalties are against the Steelers and also all of the non-calls against the other team. There will be a couple things on on replays that the Steelers did get away with, but they will be far out weighed.Fouts, Theisman, Gruden and Collinsworth are out and out saying that penalties being called against the Steele are wrong and the other teams are getting away with things. So lump them in with the Steeler "crybaby fans"If you watched the last few games you would have heard them say that. Fouts said at one point that there were 4 bad call so far, 3 were weak or wrong penaities against the Steelers and 1 was a non call that should have went against the other team. Every time they showed a Harrison rush last night Collinsworth mentioned holding. I am at the point where every time the Steelers make a big play I am expecting it to be called back. Big plays and touchdowns are being called back in every game.This started last year. There was a 3 game stretch last year where there was not 1 single holding penality called against the opposing teams the Steelers faced. It was almost 16 full quarters, imagine that, nobody held any Steelers, the most blitz happy team out there for almost 4 full games. Other teams should study those films to see how to block properly. I am a 20 year season ticket holder and have never complained about the officiating. I see the people around me who want "homer" penalties called and think that they are idiots, but lately these idiots are correct more often than not. Remember the helmet to helmet hit on Hines Ward against the Patriots, nothing called. He was defenseless but that does not matter. Ben also took 2 shots to the head that the commentators pointed out as well. If you don't want people to complain maybe they should have a meeting with the commentators and tell them to stop being truthful

Since: Jan 26, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2010 10:12 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

The only problem with your comment is that you didn't watch the hit, by James Harrison, on Flacco closely enough.  Yes, he did wrap him up, very legally, and take him to the ground, but he did not put his full weight on Flacco at the end of the hit.  If you had watched the replay closely, you would have seen him start to release Flacco before they hit the ground and catch his weight on his arms.  Had he driven him into the ground, you bet your life it would have been called by the refs and the commentators.  I'm a Steeler fan, and when they hit illegally, I'm one of the first to feel disappointed in the player making the hit.  I don't believe there is a conspiracy, but like racial profiling, it's sometimes too easy to focus on "the marked player" or his team.  And when that team has a player suffer a concussion on what even the commentators and NFL called an illegal hit without a flag, and the quarterback suffers a broken nose (which I'm still trying to figure out how that happened without a blow to the face), one begins to wonder.  Refs get it right sometime and they get it wrong sometime, admittedly.  But it irks me a bit when fans get it wrong just to make their point.  

More often than not, I know my Steelers lose because of blown assignments and defensive gambles.  You won't hear me blaming the refs unless it comes on the final play of the game and the mistake is a bad one that's "not subject to review."  But I'm on this site enough to know that every team has its crybaby fans, and unfortunately the crybabies seem to be the most vocal.  But so are those who attack the crybabies religiously.  Don't characterize all Steeler fans or anyone else's fans in that way.  99% of us just enjoy our football. 

And the Roethlisberger comment is a cheap shot.  Penalty on the play - unsportsmanlike comment.  Believe what you will about Ben, but keep it out of the football commentary.  I've already worked through that shame as a Steeler fan and my opinion of Ben as a man has diminished, but not as a football player.

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2010 10:11 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

The hit to Ben's face should have been a flag, if it was Manning or Brady, I am sure it would have been. That is not whining that is reality my friends. The hit on Miller was head to head with intent to injure a defensless player but no flag was thrown. If the Steelers make that hit, suspensions, flags, and fines would have been issued. Suggs pulling on Ben's helmet in the forth quarter should of "by rule" been a flag. If it is Ben or the Steelers, it just does not happen. This is punishment for speaking their minds. What a crock of crap Goddell and his puppets are displaying. I hope there is a long lock out because things need to change and the league brass needs restructured. It is time to remove the king from power, he is terrible.

Since: Aug 5, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2010 10:08 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

So where are all the steeler haters who claim that the Steelers get all the calls?  They're suspiciously quiet today.

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2010 10:06 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

Pathfinder it may not be the Steelers as a whole who are being targeted, but it is clear there are some Steelers getting the shaft this year. Harrison and Woodley are absolutley being hit with some weak flags. Harrison doled out two concussions in one game and that was all she wrote. His comments after the fact were idiotic and quite possibly caused his scrutiny to expand exponentially. Woodley is just guilty by association. It is mostly those wo on defense.

The real underlying issue we Steeler fans have are the non calls protecting the Steelers offensive players. The Miller hit was very obvious and there was no way the ref did not see it, but let's talk QB. Ben has to be the least protected star quarterback out there. There were two hits on him that should have been penalized and weren't. One hit to the head resulted in a broken nose.  I'm sure you don't watch every Steeler game so you can't be knowledgeable on this subject. Ben has been hit illegally on many occasions in many different games this year, and almost none of those flags were thrown. How many time do you have to hear the announcers say "Wow that was an obvious penalty. I can't believe that was not called." or hear the the league contacted the Steelers to say "Sorry we missed that, it should have been called. We will get it right next time."

How many teams this year can say they had a TD drive that was one yard offense the rest by penalties. Two penalties that by the way the league called and said "Sorry upon further review neither of those two penalties should have been called, our bad." The Bengals got that against the Steelers. I'm just tired of the league calling and saying sorry. I'm really tired of them not protecting Ben.

How big do you think the fine on Seymore would have been if he had punched Brady? Especially considering this was not Seymores first offense of this nature. Be honest.

Whether Ben is a rapist or not (and he not been convicted) he should be protected every bit as much as Brady or Manning. Maybe it is his fault. Every time those two get hit they jump up and scream at the refs, and Ben does not do that. I always get mad when I see those two QBs do that, but maybe they are right and Ben should follow their crybaby examples. It will help the team.

Ben = accused rapist

Belichick = Confirmed cheater

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