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: Jul 27, 2010
Posted on: May 30, 2011 11:38 pm

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

and jsut so no one puts this arguement forward...i understand there are somtimes you lower the shoulder and the guy ends up lowering his head into you...there are times you get called for a foul when there is nothing to warrant it..I understand that but you have to accept it as part of the game. Sometimes you throw a ball and the WR falls down and its a pick...soemtimes the WR even runs into the ref...the point is that its part of the game and things happen on both sides that adversely affect you. THe fact about this rule is that, as a defensive player, you can learn how to tackle correctly and avoid the call as much as possible. Harrison apparently does not recognize this by his statements and he needs to before he continues to comment on a "problem" that is easily fixable by his own actions. 

Another example. IOf you are a drug addict Im all for givign you the chance to get therapy and recover, if you deny that privilege, you lose that compassion. If you tackle by leading with your head, you have every opportunity to fix that, if you do not, then I do not feel bad for you or have any compassion for your feeling of mistreatment. When the problem is within yourself, it's your duty to fix it, not someone else's to accommodate you.

Since: Jan 3, 2010
Posted on: May 30, 2011 11:32 pm

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Redskin81 and natijim. Wow, you guys both have no understanding of the dedication that James Harrison plays the game of football with. To say that he has "no technique" or skill is absolutely fkn absurd! A four-time selection, Harrison has earned with the Steelers in and .  He is considered by many to be the best outside linebacker in the league.

On November 26 2007, during a game, an announcer gave Harrison the nickname, "Mr. Monday Night", because of his outstanding performance on November 5. He piled up 8.5 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 3 recovered fumbles, and 98 tackles on the year. He was voted team MVP for the 2007 season.

2008-Harrison amassed 16 sacks, breaking the team record set by in . The two teammates set a team record with 27½ sacks. DPOY

2009- On January 5, 2009, Harrison was named the AP for the 2008 season, beating out Cowboys linebacker for the award.
During , Harrison intercepted a pass from Cardinals quarterback at the goal line and ran back the length of the field for a 100-yard at the end of the first half. It was also the longest interception return in Steelers franchise history, surpassing the 99-yard return by which occurred in the club's and was the oldest team record on the books.

2010-During the 2010 season, Harrison drew several penalties and fines for hits that were deemed to be illegal by referees and the NFL. On October 17, he knocked out two Browns wide receivers; , and his former college teammate, . On Halloween against the Saints, He hit defenseless quarterback . Against the Raiders, he hit another defenseless QB, Jason Campbell. The following week at Buffalo, another incident occurred when had thrown a complete pass to , Harrison came out of the line and tackled Fitzpatrick. Harrison was fined $120,000 in total.

Harrison is a STUD at the linebacker positon as his Defensive Player of the Year award will show you, now all of a sudden MR. Roger "I'm an idiot" Goddell changes the rules MID season, and all of a sudden idiots like you say he has no talent blah blah blah. hey redskin, worry about your own 5h-i-t-t-y team.

Since: Jul 27, 2010
Posted on: May 30, 2011 11:20 pm

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

I still dont understand how people support this guy. I dont have anything against him personally...he fails to recognize the difference between what he is talking aobut that the fact that the NFL hasnt changed much at all. You ARE NOT supposed to be taught to lead with your's that simple. Tackle like you were taught (or should be taught) the first time you step on the field and there is no problem. He cannot seem to figure this out and it is simply astounding...and even more stupefying is that fans agree with him. I see that hard hits are fun to see, but the fact is that you WERE NEVER supposed to tackle leading face first. Anyone saying that this is wussyfying sports needs to take a step back and say that they just want to see people playing with bad fundementals so that  big hits happen. Im fine if you admit that, but for the people hiding behind the "wussification of the NFL" need to man up...that's not AT ALL what it is about. If you can't see that they are enforcing the fundamentals of tackling for safety, than you really dont know a thing about football and how it is actually supposed to be played. 

Think of it this way, you can get into a bar fight and get it over with quick if you kick the otehr guy in the nuts...but no matter what you say, everyone knows that kikcing a guy in the nuts during a fight is a wuss move. I real man will fight the fight. With the NFL, you are supposed to tackle a guy with a shoulderpad to the sternum and drive, you CAN tackle by lauching with your head, but your coach, every time, should pull you back and tell you to run the drill again. Instead of complaining, maybe Harrison should just realize he has bad tackling fundamentals and work on them...

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: May 30, 2011 11:18 pm

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

I'm a Steeler fan so maybe I'm biased.  But if I re-call J. Harrison's hit on Bill's QB was totally legal.  He lowered his body and aimed for his gut and ended up in his chest because of the QB's throwing motion.  Point is the game is so fast that you can aim for something and not hit it because things change so fast.  

I'm sure Harrison will try to make an effor to keep his helmet to the side instead of burying it into the player, I saw him trying to do this towards the end of last year.    

Either way any idiot that watched the Super Bowl can tell you that the 3 turnovers which lead to 21 points for Green Bay was the deciding factor in that game.  Teams who are -3 turnover differiential in a game lose said game 96% of the time.  That being said against a team as good as GB that number is probably 100% of the time.  Green Bay didn't use any new game plan, its the same game plan every team tries to use against the Steelers.  Its just only the elite QBs can execute that plan, Brady, Manning, Brees, and now Rodgers.  Which is why the Steelers struggle against those QBs being 2-8 against those teams in the last couple of years.  They will get their chances against Brady and Manning again this year to improve that number but I don't think it will until they get better play out of their corners.

Since: Feb 20, 2009
Posted on: May 30, 2011 10:50 pm

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Fans of today would never be able to handle football in the 70's and 80s. If they think Harrison is rough, they are clueless to the history of the NFL. Harrison is right on, and his fellow Kent State alum Jack Lambert said it best -- "put skirts on them." Anyone who thinks he is too rough needs to go shopping at Victori Secrets for their undies.

Since: Feb 20, 2009
Posted on: May 30, 2011 10:46 pm

blueprint, schmooprint

3-0. That was the turnover ratio in the Super Bowl. That was the difference. Even that out, or go in the Steelers favor -- the outcome would have been different, no matter how they "schemed" Polamalu, or Harrison, or.........  I love how the simplicity of this is lost on so many football "fans." Turnover differential decides most games, and THIS Super Bowl was a textbook example.

Since: May 30, 2011
Posted on: May 30, 2011 10:00 pm

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules


C'mon son, you're the one that's full of it. Hating a s s troller.

Only cowards, sissys and weaklings have problems with what Harrison has to say. Believe that.

Since: May 11, 2007
Posted on: May 30, 2011 9:33 pm

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Teams should use Green Bay`s game plan from the Superbowl,  he was pretty much a non-factor in that game...

Since: Feb 24, 2007
Posted on: May 30, 2011 9:20 pm

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

Agreed. The rules simply prevent players from launching themselves head first at other players, and using your helmet as a weapon. When i played they taught you to plant your facemask in the ither guys gut and that is still legal. you just can plant it so that your continued motion drives the crown of your helmet into his jaw. It prevents hits on the QB after an int like the one that gutless Warren Sapp put on Favre a few years ago as well. The only shakey part of the rule is when it comes to WR. Wr receivers are taught to duck low when they come down with the ball and embrace for the hit. I can see the situation easily happen a lot when they actually duck int othe hit because the tackler is going for a legal hit to the gut or thighs. The rule also relomoves the automatic penalty for incidental contact to the QB's head by a hand or arm without intent. Also a judgenent call but at least the ref isn't forced to throw a flad for a non-hit like last year. This guy Harrison is a menace withoug technique or fundamentals who depends on the sportscenter hit to knock a guy off his feet, or out of the game. Fear factor instead of skill. Days are numbered for goons like him. 

Since: May 2, 2011
Posted on: May 30, 2011 9:02 pm

James Harrison clarifies comments on new rules

harrison is full of BS - Oh let me clarify - full of s-h-i-t

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