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.

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Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:26 am

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

i guess defenders can just start hitting low, until they make a rule against that..  maybe they can put a bullseye on the jersey where you must hit the opponent otherwise it will be a penalty...

Since: Dec 16, 2008
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:23 am

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

What I don't understand are the personal attacks on Harrison.  We are talking about a former Defensive Player of the Year, so to suggest that he is the "dirtiest player" in the league and that if not for such tactics he would not be a good football player diminishes the hard work he put in to make an NFL roster after being cut several times. If he couldn't play, why is he still on an NFL roster? If you want to disect what the guy said that is a discussion worth exploring. But I don't think I guy who returns an interception 100 yards in the Super Bowl is a guy that can't play the game. The facts, and his stats suggest otherwise.

And if you can not connect the dots between the NFL's desire to have an 18-game season, and these rule changes made in the name of player safety you should remove your head from the sand and quit being naive.

Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:17 am

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

gdtann1 you shouldn't accuse people of failure to comprehend when you don't know what you are talking about. Roger Goodall didn't change a rule. The owners voted unanimously to change the rule. The Rooneys too. What a dip.

Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:13 am

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

James Harrison is known for a lot of things, almost all of them related to cheap shots and dirty play. He's made a handsome living out of cheap shots on people, although to his credit he plays dirtier than just about anybody on the planet. ----- That first paragraph needed some cleaning up. Ryan Wilson must not watch much Steeler football if he believes football fans don't recognize dirty player when James Harrison and a few the Steelers take the field. And James Harrison thoughtful? It begs the question...Is CBS hiring people to bait for negative reaction, or do they try to find people as stupid (or even dumber if possible) than Mike Freeman? I understand James Harrison not getting the rule change, he has never been one to pay attention to anything like rules, but to agree with him this Ryan guy would have to be plant life stupid, or think his readers are. Player can tackle an unprotected player they simply cannot play the way Harrison does (dirty), by launching into the air and leading with their helmet aimed at the defenseless player's head and neck. This story should be how a professional football player just doesn't get it and cries like a little girl, and a stupid little girl at that.

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:01 am

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules


You are what is wrong with America.  You're not smart enough to dissect and comprehend but yet you formulate your opinion on idiotic assumptions and stereotypes.  

The retired, mamed and weak elderly statesman of the game...the hall of famers, with chronic back, head and spine injuries are idiots?
Here is a failure to comprehend.  Rodger Goodell has played in the NFL and is a hall of famer?  I missed that, although he may have a head injury.

JH has no respect for the business of the game, the fellow players or the ownership\management of the game.

Thats a huge assumption there.  James has done nothing to that points towards this sentiment of him.  This is why he was so outraged last year because he was being type casted into a role that he wasn't playing.  He may have no respect for Roger Godell or the VP but thats the extent of it.

The best way to deal with JH is to cut him.  Let him become that abusive, violent guy on the street. Society will jail him....where he belongs. 

Society won't jail him.  I highly doubt James will do anything criminal.  He had one domestic situation but nothing else.  The Steelers wouldn't have signed him to a long term contract if they felt that he was that kind of person, thats the same reason why they traded Holmes and let Plaxico Burress walk.  This opinion you developed is based soley on a stereotype and not actually based on James Harrison character.  You think because he plays violent on the field he must be a violent man off the field, that because he has had one domestic incident in the past then he must repeatedly do this but this was the one and only time the girl was able to report it.  Just so you know those charges were dropped in that incident.  Either way lets be honest you want Harrison to be that thug, you want to have a negative outlook on him so your opinion of Harrison shows more about you than it actually does about Harrison.


Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 10:26 am

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Wow AFC Wizard, that has to be the more ignorant commet ever.  

What crime did Ben or Mendenhall commit?  If I'm not mistaken Mendenhall has never even been investigated for anything.  Ben has but was never charge with anything?  So how are these two criminals?  Holmes isn't on the team anymore and he got plenty of heat when he was caught smoking weed. 

So there is nothing to step up and blast.  You're just making stuff up to fuel your hatred for an organization for what reason I can't understand.  I mean I don't like dallas, but I don't make things up just to blast them.  Its hard for me to understand your position.

 As far as James  Harrison being the dirtiest player in the league, what about Meriweather dirty hit against the ravens last year where he intionally launched himself into Heap's head with the crown of his helmet.  Harrison has a mean streak, even has slapped a player in the Super Bowl for going at his knees but he has never gone at someone like that.  You may not like the way he plays but don't make stuff up, he isn't 'clearly launching his body towards the heads of other players with intent to injure'.  

Really so diving at someones stomach with your arms spread out, in a wrapping motion, is aiming for the head?  Look at all of his hits and when does he ever 'aim' for the head.  If he is aiming for the head he'd be a lot higher.  The only reason why he does occaionally hit the head is because players duck in which they lower their head to where their chest or stomach normally would be.  So if harrison is aiming for the head, why wouldn't he be hitting much higher and subsequently missing the tackle?  The answer is simple because Harrison isn't aiming for the head, he's aiming for the stomach or chest and the head gets lowered into that area. 

Harrison is a smart guy, he is learning to change even though he speaks out against it.  How many flags did harrison get in the playoffs?  He'll continue to learn and be a dominant force in the league but he won't change fundamentally how he will play.  That angers most other fans because frankly they'd love to see a softer, gentler Harrison that won't sack their QB. 

Since: Jan 20, 2009
Posted on: May 31, 2011 10:21 am

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Criminals...Poethlisberger and Mendenhall

I must have missed the convictions

Since: Dec 19, 2008
Posted on: May 31, 2011 10:12 am

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Although I'm not a Harrision fan I have to give it to him. He makes several good points. I hope the NFL doesn't turn this into a sissy league. Rules need to be clear, with consistant calls in games. But lets not take it too far. Once the RB, WR or whomever hands touch the ball you should be able to crush'em. That's the football we all know and love. The real answer in a lot of this relies on technology and the design of better helmets. Why can't helmets be covered in a neospene, NOT SPELLED RIGHT, cover? This would lessen the blow to both players. Kind of like the material used for tire inner tubes. Remember.............. You heard it here first if someone comes starts using that. I have dibs!!! It's my idea!!!

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 9:40 am

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

It's amazing to see all the haters come in here not to make a point on the subject...but just to come in here and dump on Harrison!

If you actually read what Harrison is saying it is well thought through and makes sense too.   Read what an earlier poster wrote in here

He's not a Steeler fan,,not even close! I believe he enjoys Jacksonville but what he says makes total sense without puting down the player or the team.

Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 9:39 am

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

The new rules are simple. All Harrison needs to know is you hit an opposing player the same way you hit your wife. making sure you dont leave a mark.

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