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: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2010 2:29 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

The NFL is a pathetic, hypocritical joke, and Roger Goodell and Ray Anderson deserve to be shot for the climate they've created.  The Steelers, WITHOUT QUESTION, are being targeted by Goodell and Anderson, who are on personal crusades to destroy this team.  Why?  Because this team actually has convictions and continues to play the game the way it was always meant to be played.  And they tell the media about it too.  The Steelers are not bowing to the ridiculous edicts of a league that shamelessly claims to 'want to protect' the players by throwing ridiculous fines to players mid-season, yet is pushing full steam ahead for an 18 game season.
Tonight, the Steelers stuck together, despite the weekly wave of targeted, deliberate, malicious officiating that has pervaded every Steelers game for the past 2 months.  They stuck it to Baltimore, but more importantly, they stuck it to Goodell, who has clearly tried to force his refs to kill the Steelers with penalties and to refuse to call penalties on their opponents, even when they are as obscene and disgustingly malicious as the one on Heath Miller.  It's absurd and pathetic that this league has sunk to this level.  I am so glad the CBA will not go through and there will be no season next year.  Maybe the players can negotiate more representation into how their profession is run.  ridiculous.

Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2010 2:05 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

WACKED* and Sense* Sorry no spell check

Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2010 2:01 am

NFL IS WAKED Players should strike now !

The NFL players should strike now and go start a new league. #$%$ the NFL suits and most of the owners. 

Since: Feb 20, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2010 1:36 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

The NFL is becoming a joke. I rarely, if ever, have seen anything handled so badly in any sport. This stupidity will cost games to be won or lost, and it won't happen in a fair manner.

Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2010 1:26 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

I tell you what after the calls and lack of calls during the last two games, I am telling EVERYONE I KNOW, if the NFL does not acknowledge and stop the terrible performance by the officials I will tell EVERYONE to BOYCOTT OFFICIAL NFL MERCHANDISE!! You can post it here or not I will post it elsewhere, Let the steelers play the team on the schedule. Its unfair to have to play againts the officials too! SHAME ON YOU NFL and everyone that supports this behavior.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:59 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

What about the hit that Ben took to the face that broke his nose. If that had been Tom Brady (who would have immediately cried like a girl to the refs) the flag would have been thrown. Come ON Man   what did the refs think, the air hit Ben in the face and caused him to bleed? And what about Suggs pulling on Ben's helmet on the Steelers TD drive. I thought all contact to the head was illegal. These things are not being called consistently or fairly. If it smalles and looks like one team being targeted while others are given a pass well then maybe one team is being targeted while others are given a pass. The Steelers won that game despite the refs ignoring most penalties flagrantly committed by the Ravens....Those refs were terrible and should be fired if you don't call a penalty when a guy is half unconscious from a hit to the head and a guy's face is bleeding from a hit to the face!!!!!I am guessing the guy who hit Miller will be fined but the NFL will look the other way on the hits to Ben. Again if that had been Brady, you can bet money a flag would have been thrown!!The hit on Miller was too dirty to not fine for.

Since: Sep 14, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:22 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits


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