Blog Entry

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Posted on: May 30, 2011 8:00 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 8:26 pm
  •  
 
Posted by Ryan Wilson

James Harrison is known for a lot of things, almost all of them related to punishing poor souls who happened to be in possession of a football while in his vicinity. He's made a handsome living out of tackling people, although to his credit he does it better than just about anybody on the planet. Harrison's style of play has also caught the attention of NFL rule makers who, depending on your perspective, made an example of him to the tune of $100,000 in fines last season (small victory: the league returned $25,000, so there's that).

Turns out, Harrison is also thoughtful. He may disagree (vehemently) with the recent rule changes, but it's not because his intent is to injure and maim opponents and the NFL is now making that more difficult. It's that the rule changes don't make sense in his mind and he tweeted as much last week.

"I'm absolutely sure now after this last rule change that the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots."

Presumably, Harrison felt like he needed more than 140 characters to make his case so, like teammate Rashard Mendenhall (for completely different reasons), he started a blog.

"I want to make it clear that I am all for player safety. I don’t disagree with all of the rule changes," Harrison begins. "But come on…REALLY? Now you have to wait until a guy catches, or even worse, you have to let them catch the ball before you can even attempt to tackle him. Along with that, you cannot let any part of your helmet or facemask touch any part of them basically from the chest up. If you are following the letter of the rules exactly, now most tackles, if not ALL tackles can be flagged, fined and/or result in ejection from that game, or future game(s)."
Safety Rules

If you're able to separate Harrison the football player from Harrison the author, the man makes a good point. He was just getting warmed up.

"I understand the intent behind making the rules, but in their attempt to make the game safer, they are actually clouding what is allowable. Even the referees are confused. A close look will show you that the referees were calling things that were not even supposed to be called, and NOT calling things that were actually illegal."

Harrison also suspects that the name on the back of the jersey has something to do with how often a player is penalized. And he fleshes out his "people making the rules at the NFL are idiots" tweet with the following observation: "After my meeting this past fall with Roger Goodell, Ray Anderson, and Merton Hanks and some others, who I now have absolutely no respect for (to keep it PG), I definitely believe there is no equality in their enforcement of these rules."

Leaves little room for interpretation. Then again, as Shutdown Corner's Doug Farrar notes, "Harrison's point of view [is] quite a bit deeper than, 'The rules guys are idiots,' though it doesn't exclude that point from being correct as well."

Finally, Harrison acknowledges that the quarterback clarification rule (Rule 12, Section 2, Article 13) "is a great change," but closes with one more parting shot. "I wonder why the NFL is suddenly coming down so hard on player’s safety issues. I can’t help but think it’s not actually for the safety of the players."

Conspiracy theorists might tell you that the NFL is laying it on thick with the rule changes to not only show they care about player safety, but to say at some point in the near future, "See, thanks to our foresight, there are fewer concussions and serious head injuries … which clearly means we should expand the season to 18 games!" Even though, you know, fans emphatically oppose expanding the schedule.

“When it comes down to it, it’s an assumption of risk that you take when you play the game,” Harrison said during a recent appearance on ESPN's NFL Live. “If it’s not worth it to you, then you get out of it."

Makes sense to us. Coal miners face inherent risks associated with mining coal. You take precautions, make it as safe as possible, but at the end of the day, people in that line of work face danger every time they clock in. Some have long, injury-free careers, and some aren't as lucky. Some decide that the hazards aren't worth it and find other means of employment. That's all Harrison's saying.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
  •  
Comments

Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:24 pm
 

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

To AFC Wizard:

I love how people assume to know what they're talking about when spouting off at the font. Sad that they often don't, however. You let your obvious distaste for the Steelers cloud your ability to post an opinion based on facts and not emotion. Never a good thing; it shoots your credibility all to bits. When Roethlisberger was first charged, Pittsburghers were appalled and turned on him. Did you bother to research that? Probably not; wouldn't fit your agenda. However, he was never charged; never sent to trial. For most people in the United States, that means he's not a criminal. Holmes was traded and didn't need to be if the Steelers were what you claim. Holmes was traded at the height of his career in the Steeler organization. And what, exactly, has Mendenhall been convicted of?

You're only right about one thing - six Lombardies are commendable. The rest of that sentence, however, is nothing but pure hogwash. Winning is not put above all else. Winning is important, as it is with any sports team, professional or otherwise; but it's not put "above all else." What other team in the NFL team sticks with their coach through thick and thin for as long as the Pittsburgh Steelers do? Do your research and see how many different coaches the team has had. You can count them on one hand. Some teams are lucky to be able to do that in one season.

And if you want to blast Harrison for being "arguably the dirtiest player in the league" then perhaps you should be blasting professionals for not seeing the dirty plays that you seem to see and naming him (1) 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, (2) 2008 Tuesday Morning Quarterback Non-QB Non-RB NFL MVP, (3) 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Pro Bowl, (4), 2008 GMC Sierra Defensive Player of the Year, (5) 2007, 2009, 2010 All-Pro, (6) Nov 2007, Oct 2009 AFC Defensive Player of the Month

So either do your research and post opinions based on facts or let your emotions get the best of you and make you reply with comments that mirror the flag football wannabe season we will have in 2011 if the NFL commissioner has his way. Perhaps watching Pop Warner football is more your speed.




Since: Oct 21, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:16 pm
 

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

It stands to reason that a player that plays at 100% and has the aggressive go-after-the-ball-no matter-who-has-it mentality is going to end up appearing at times to be dirty.  I really do not think Harrison plays with the intention to be dirty.  I just think there WILL be plays where it looks dirty becasue he plays at full tilt, the way he is expected to play.  He is not the first and will not be the last.  You want to see dirty?  Check out some old films of the Raiders. 



Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:04 pm
 

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Themandude you are wrong. Now there have always been dirty players, and the Steelers have always had more than their fair share for sure, but the game was no rougher. In fact it was slower. And k.blaze you aren't fooling anyone by accusing others of being what you obviously are.



Since: Apr 27, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:01 pm
 

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Do the players not get into this knowing that they can get seriously hurt from playing?  I realize most of them are dumb as dirt but it should be apparently obvious that 1.) careers are short and 2.) you're probably gonna get messed up



Since: Oct 21, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:56 am
 

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Soon it will have to be the NFFL, the National Flag Football League.  Then they can play 60 game season. Nobody will watch, but they can play! 



Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:54 am
 

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Steelers_11 nice whining but none of that changes the very real fact that James Harrison is a dirty player and uses poor technique. Those are facts clearly seen on tape. Problem is like most Steeler fans you don't understand or watch most of the games you comment on. James Harrison is a crybaby and a dirty player. You don't have just as big of a baby that never played and wouldn't know about tackling in the first place.



Since: Oct 21, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:51 am
 

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

I agree with him.  More and more a defensive player is being asked to make judgments as to what extent a play has happened before he can continue to play.  He is supposed to immediately know the QB actually did release the ball and immediately pull up from full speed.  Now he must reflect on the moment to make sure he tackles him in the very best way, probably with good chances of missing the tackle altogether while trying to figure it all out.  If an observer has a hard time deciding even with slow motion and multiple attempts, how can a player who is right in the mix of battle?   Ridiculous.  They are ruining the game. 



Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:46 am
 

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Ok PLAYER SAFTEY. The nfl tested 16 helmets in 2009-2010. Results are in 3 helmets are top in saftey. So if they are so concerned about player saftey. Lets ban the other 13 helmets. Seem like this should have been the first step in player saftey not changing the game and puting it in the refs hands...



Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:38 am
 

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

It's pretty clear Gzemmie never played ball. Completely false claim there unless you played something other than football and head trauma has just made things a little fuzzy for you. It is funny reading Steeler fan lie, whine and cry for a Steeler player that is dirty. The claim that James Harrison has never lead with his helmet by gdtann1 was hilarious. Steeler fans are the most ignorant fanbase in the history of sports for a reason...



Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:32 am
 

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

harrison is right about the rules. they are taking what makes football great out of football. as a defensive player you cannot tell what that ball carrier/ reciever is going to do with his body. you go for the torso he lowers his head and boom penalty and fine, kinda like drawing a charge in basketball. thats what you will get. the lingire football league is a better Football game to watch than NFL and even college to a point. they actually hit and with less padding. while spears to the head of th QB are and should be a no no. you should be able to block(level) the QB/punter when your team is returning the ball. thats part of football. owners we dont want 18 games and players your playin a freakin game and making millions. after a few seasons you should have yourself set for life. quit moaning play football, TOUGH, HARD HITTING FOOTBALL


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com