Blog Entry

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:11 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 2:47 pm
  •  
 
Some players might argue that the rules change led to Decker's knee injury. (US PRESSWIRE/AP)

By Ryan Wilson

On the first play of the second quarter of Sunday's Steelers-Broncos game, Tim Tebow completed a 21-yard pass to then-favorite target Eric Decker. It was a nice throw, and an easy catch for Decker right up to the moment when Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison tackled him low, collapsing Decker's knee in the process.

The Denver wide receiver ended up on the turf writhing in pain. He was helped off the field and didn't return. Literally adding insult to injury: the Steelers challenged the call, which was overturned to an incompletion. Of course, a play later, Tebow threw the first of many 30-plus-yard passes to Damaryius Thomas, and two plays after that, Denver led 7-6.

The hit by Harrison -- which is perfectly legal in the eyes of the league -- was the realization of fears many players voiced after NFL rules prohibited hitting players high. The players' thinking: it's a lot easier to come back from a high-impact collision when it doesn't involve torn knee ligaments or broken legs.

Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway knows this, and he doesn't think that Harrison's intentions were dirty. It's just the nature of today's NFL. (And we discussed it on Tuesday's Pick-6 Podcast embedded below for your listening pleasure)


"The (tackling) target is now lower," Elway said on his weekly Denver radio show on 102.3 FM Monday night according to The Huddle.

"Harrison yesterday, because of the fact that he's been fined so often, really had no other option. ... I don't think he intended to hurt Eric. But obviously because of the situations he's been in, he had to go low and stay away from the head. And it ended up costing an MCL sprain for Eric."

It's the unintended consequences of actions not thought through entirely. Yes, the NFL should thrive for making the game as safe as possible, but drastic changes don't come without ramifications. And the league can't argue that knee injuries were unforeseen because players lamented the possibly as soon as the new rules were announced.

The NFL could point out, however, that the prevalence of knee injuries haven't increased in light of the rules changes. (We write this anecdotally; Decker is the first time we remember a player suffering a below-the-waist injury on a play that, in previous seasons, might've resulted in a hit to the shoulders or head area.) The NFL could also show that even chronic offenders can change the way they play.

Harrison was suspended in Week 15 for taking off Colt McCoy's head in the previous game. At the time, Harrison said "I don't know. I guess try and be more aware about the placement of my face mask. I don't know how you tackle someone and not use any part of your head, especially if you're trying to see what you're hitting. I mean, your face mask is going to touch them."

And now the league has what it wants. It's just that, depending on player backlash, they might not want it very long.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
  •  
Comments

Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:25 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

you're missing the point, this guy is always injuring other players.  why is he incapable of a good clean hit?  im not saying hits at the knees or below the waste dont happen nor should they, it just seems to me, based on the player that the intent was to injure. 



Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:19 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

There was speculation that a low hit was dirty?  Let's do this, paint a red square on every players jersey in the acceptable area that is ok to hit....better yet, let's just have them play flag football.




Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:11 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

agreed - im not a superstitious man, but that guy has some bad karma on his side.



Since: Aug 25, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:10 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Do not care any more.   Harrison does not care about anyone else, so.........................



Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:01 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

that may be, but theyre still in the playoffs.....doesnt speak much for you.



Since: Dec 21, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:00 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

There are NO rules about going low on a player, but I'm sure now that harrison hurt someone, next year there will be even more rules adjustments to outlaw all tackling that doesn't hit the skill players square in the waist.



Since: Dec 21, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:59 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Just because someone got hurt doesn't equate to a dirty hit.  Don't be jealous because your $60 million secondary couldn't tackle a girl scout.



Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:58 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

what ever happened to text book form-tackling?  its the head one week, the knees the next.  the guy is a dirty player.  Rodney Harrison, probably my favortie patriots player of all time, was also dirty.  Its called nbeing a man and admitting something when its staring you in the face.  If you're a lesbo, im sorry



Since: Dec 21, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:56 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Why is it every time JH makes a tackle, idiots come out of the woodwork to scream"dirty hit"?  He didn't go for the head, every week secondary players go low at the knees of WR's and RB's and no one screams about that.  You can't go high, you can't go low, you can't hit a WR as he's catching the ball - the NFL is turning into a joke.  Just put skirts on the offensive skills players and flag on their waists and get it over with.



Since: Jul 23, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:56 pm
 

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Perhaps the NFL should outlaw tackling altogether. In fact, it will probably just outlaw James Harrison. How strange it is that a man is so demonized just for doing his job extremely well. If you look closely at that photo, you can see the receiver bent over. If Harrison tries to make a normal tackle, it becomes by necessity a helmet to helmet hit (with attendant fine, suspension, dunce cap, etc.). Harrison is obviously doing what the NFL wants and changing the way he tackles. Enjoy the knee injuries, backs and receivers.

Also, it made me laugh out loud to read after the game that, officially, the Steelers D did not rack up ONE QB hit in the game. That's right. According to the satisticians, no Steelers defender touched Tebow all day. So, someone will have to explain to me how Harrison got flagged for roughing the passer. Just throwing it out there (heh, heh).



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