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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Comments

Since: Dec 7, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2010 8:07 am
 

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

Though obviously an ugly hit, I don't think it was vicious. The defensive player appears to put on the breaks as best he can. McClain began to fall changing the point of impact. Anyway a call depends on the ref seeing it happen. I don't think you can say based on one play that the rule is not being enforced across the board.



Since: Nov 10, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2010 8:01 am
 

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

Can you fathom what would have happened if it was Ravens v Pansies out there?  If Sally Brady had gotten hit in the nose and broken you would have seen 255 flags, Ngata (sp?) would have been ejected, Fined, suspended, brought up on assault charges, and another Brady rule would have come into effect "you can't hit Sally Brady anywhere, or make him upset"  The NFL is getting a little glaring with this favoritism and it's starting to get people hurt.



Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2010 7:39 am
 

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

This video helps to explain the situation.




Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2010 6:04 am
 

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

I think that nflrules13 is on to something. Maybe the NFL should fine the refs for missing obvious calls. Their performance week in and week out, not only during Steeler games but during every game, is horrendous. The officiating is ruining the game of football along with Roger Goodell and his don't question me attitude. There are rules in place to protect players from senseless injuries, so why are they not enforced equally around the league? Why are some players/teams treated differently? There is no way that anyone can say after watching the Steelers/Ravens game that the NFL views every team the same. Maybe letting Ben get beat on every week is another one of Roger Goodell's ways of punishing him for being a complete horse's ass. All I'm asking is that all the Steeler haters out there wake up and realize that not only are they treated differently but other teams are as well. The NFL has its favorite players and teams and they could care less about everyone else. When was the last time you saw a rookie quarterback or a lower tier starting quarterback get calls for roughing the passer, blows to the head, or, my favorite, landing with your total body weight on the quarterback called for them. It is a disgrace the way the NFL and its referees are behaving. Maybe instead of a lockout next year the players should go on strike for equal treatment throughout the league.



Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2010 5:56 am
 

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

are you kidding me? if harisson had done this, he would have been sent to a prison somewhere in siberia for life. the nfl clearly targets the steelers, because of its reputation of a hard hitting team. pathetic... 



Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2010 5:40 am
 

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

I agree with almost everything the autor says yet his premise is still that the refs are not biased against the Steelers. The writer must be from another AFC North city.

He begins by disagreeing that the Steelers are looked at differently:

"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. "

Then goes on to contradict his own opinion:

"And I believe this: if Harrison had destroyed the Ravens TE, instead of Baltimore’s leveling Steelers TE 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. ..

...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.




Since: Dec 6, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2010 5:26 am
 

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

The NFL has to resolve this issue NOW. There is no consistency on this issue and I believe it is starting to ruin the game. It gives the APPEARANCE  that there are two rules - One for Steelers and one for everyone else.  NFL officials admitted that they were going to watch Harrison tonight- They should have said that they were going to watch both teams but they didn't!!!  Imagine - if Harrison hit Manning or Brees like they did to Big Ben or the tight end!!! (THERE WAS NOT EVEN A FLAG)  I do not blame the Raven players - but a NO CALL on these two hits?????  Big Ben has received a broken foot and a broken nose without a flag......... Safety should be the number 1 issue but treating teams differently or appearing to treat teams differently will ruin the NFL.. The first step would be an apology from the NFL to the Steelers organization and then asking them to work with them to resolve this issue. 



Since: Jan 9, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2010 3:34 am
 

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

I couldn't believe there wasn't a flag on this one at all.  How could anyone not see the obvious shot to the head?!?  Even still, there should have been a penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver.  I think it's obvious the officials and Goodell are silently targeting the Steelers.  I'm positive that if it was a Steelers player that hit a Ravens player like that, the flags would've been flying all over the field.  I'm all for player safety (even though some rules are ridiculous) but when thigs like this happen and nothing is done on the field is killing the NFL.  The officials are turning into a big joke and it's getting to the point where I might stop watching for a while till either Goodell is fired or cleans up big time.



Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2010 2:55 am
 

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

I have made my stand on the doorstep od Tagliabue and the officials @nfl.com. This behavior by some of these officials, because there ARE a few honest vets left, have brought unfortunate outrage at all of them. PLEASE SEND YOUR COMMENTS WHERE THE NFL GETS ITS BREAD & BUTTER @ NFL.COM



Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2010 2:32 am
 

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

Goodell and ANderson are the definition of hypocrisy.  Targeted officiating, maliciously designed to punish the Steelers, could not defeat them today.  Kudos to the Steelers for sticking it to the NFL as much as they did the Ravens.  Screw em all.  We'll win the SB in spite of their attacks.


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