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Blog Entry

League gets it right with Harrison

Posted on: December 13, 2011 11:07 am
Edited on: December 13, 2011 11:56 am
Let's hear it for the NFL. It did the right and necessary thing by suspending Pittsburgh's James Harrison on Tuesday.

Harrison's hit on Colt McCoy didn't merit a suspension. It warranted a fine. But Harrison's series of incidents -- the fact that he's a multiple offender with illegal hits -- did qualify him for suspension, now more than ever.

Look, the NFL is trying to address head injuries and made it clear it will not tolerate blows to the helmet. So it fines players who do it, and sometimes they get the message, and sometimes they do not.

Harrison clearly did not. So that means the NFL must try something else to get his attention.

It just did.

Pittsburgh fans might see this as part of a grand conspiracy and their hard-hitting Steelers' defense, but they're wrong. Harrison and the Steelers have been warned again and again. And again and again they refuse to listen. That put the NFL in a position of having to respond -- basically, having to make it clear it means what it says -- so it just upped the punishment, and I'm all for it.

Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn't. But it had to be done.

I don't care what it means to Pittsburgh's playoff chances or chances of winning a division. I care what it means to the next guy James Harrison was going to clobber. Harrison didn't, and maybe he should have. The NFL warned him and notified him this was possible.

Harrison didn't listen. Instead, he dared the league to respond. So it did.

The NFL isn't trying to change his game. It's trying to change its game by keeping more players on the field, and what's so wrong with that? Nothing, that's what.

Category: NFL

Since: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:11 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

The only problem I have with your comment is that Harrison didn't just tackle another grown man at full speed.  We both know had he done that he would have been ok.  What he did was launch himself, leading with the crown of his helmet into McCoy's head.  That is the problem, even if he didn't want to make a fundamental tackle like wrapping up and driving through him, he could have led with his shoulder to 'blow him up'. 

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:09 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

It is impossible for a defensive player to slow momentum and avoid a facemask touching a player. The NFL should actually suspend and fine the coaching and medical staff for letting McCoy back in the game after being knocked out cold. Quarterbacks should be protected, but not to the point where players cannot play the game.

Since: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:00 pm

League gets it wrong with Harrison

The league made its point...ok fine Ill accept that.  I dont agree with it as a fan, but ill accept it.  The underlying problem with the rule is this...the offensive players are allowed...and by listening to the announcers of the lower their head and ram into the defensive players to gain yardage.

Why the double standard?

Go back and watch ANY NFL game when a running back (in this case I believe McCoy was outside the pocket and classified by rule as a runner and not a passer) is about to make contact with a tackler and watch them lower their head and initiate a helmet to helmet blow on the defender trying to tackle them in an attempt to run through the tackle. 

Its ludicrous to expect someone to pull up...ever...thats how  player get hurt.

I think its unrealistic to reward a guy with being the defensive player of the year one year, and calling him dirty for doing what earned him the accolades two years later.

The NFL asked him to change...and he did.  Not one questionable hit in over a year!  Now a QB runs outside the pocket and becuase hes a littel guy and gets drilled the NFL wants to cry foul.

The Steelers aren't dirty, their defensive.  They aren't built to be an offensive team, they are built to stop teams with a hard hitting defense.

It is clear that there is a double standard for the Steelers.  Look at the hit from Ray Lewis on Hines Ward earlier this year.  No flag thrown...yet he gets a fine after the week is over.

As a fan of the game I'm frustrated with the protection afforded to the offense and the lack of protection for the defense.  As a fan of the game I dont think that the league should be so blatant in the no calls for the Steelers opponents, and the calls against the Steelers for the same thing.

One last is complete;y absurd to ask a grown man to not tackle another grown man at full speed.  Perhaps he should have simply let him run past him...or allow him to throw for a game tying touchdown for fear of the league saying he hit the QB too hard.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:48 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

judge doesn't know what he's talking about.  He should be fined and suspended for having a one sided opinion.  Did you not see the play judge?  This isn't a stomp on a helpless player or kicking someone.  Go cover a flag football league!!

Since: Sep 7, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:47 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

I would have suspended him longer and fined both the team and player. No reason for how he hit him, he's just too dumb to understand. 

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:45 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

If Ray Lewis hits someone, he doesn't get fined or suspended.  In the second Baltimore -Steeler game this season, Ray Lewis hit Heinz Ward, helmet to helmet, and knock Ward out of the game.  There was no penalty and he didn't get fined at all.
He was fined $20,000 for that hit FYI.  That's pretty much typical for a first time offender.
In another game, one of the linebackers from the oposing team hit Mendenhall, helmet to helmet and knocked him backwards a yard or two.  No penaly, no fine.
Running backs are allowed to lower there helmet and bang it into defenders helmets, and so defenders are allowed to do the same to them.  It's not against the rules, it's never been against the rules, there is no team bias involved and you really only make yourself look sorta foolish when you try to bring up an argument involving them and helmet to helmet contact.  It's just not remotely feasable to try and remove HB helmet contact from the game.  Running backs need to duck down and squeeze thru holes that involve all kinds of piles of humanity so this contact is going to happen.

Since: Oct 17, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:27 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

not sure how i feel about this...the hit itself was not suspendable, and if that is the case, he shouldnt be suspended because the hit itself was not illegal and boarderline at best.  also Harrison has not had any incidents this season so far and since mid last season, so he clearly has adjusted his play to the new rules, and on more than several occasions hs pulled up/back to avoid hitting someone in a bad way/helmet to helmet, etc...

Since: Jan 4, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:25 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

As a Steeler fan I will say this -- Harrison has brought this on himself.

I understand that Colt McCoy had the ball cradled a second before he looped it over Harrison's head.  I also understand that, with McCoy running straight up, there is NO reason Harrison could not have stuck a shoulder in his abdomen and took him down...hell, he could have drove him to the ground if the hit was done right.  Instead, he went crown-to-face with another player (regardless if it was a QB or not)...and the Steelers will miss him for a game.
You can argue the game is becoming more like flag football than tackle.  You can argue whatever you want.  What you CAN'T argue is that James Harrison put himself in this position, was warned of his position, and now his actions will cost his teammates (having to play without him) and himself again (don't think they get paid for being suspended).  Rodney Harrison said it best -- fining him didn't sink it, it was suspending him that made him get the message.  As a Steeler fan, I hope this is the case with James Harrison.

Since: Sep 26, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:17 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

I watched the play and replay on here:

I expected to see something like when Ray Lewis clashed helmets with Hines Ward in the last Ravens-Steelers game, where Ward tried, too late, to whip his body under Lewis's arms and brought his head down to the level of Lewis's helmet.

But take a look folks, McCoy's head stays level thoughout and Harrison leans his head right into McCoy's as he's charging straight at him.

There's little doubt about Harrison's intention.

Since: Sep 26, 2010
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:17 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

Let's be real; if Harrison played for any other team than the NFL-beloved Steelers, he'd have gotten at least 2 games.  Stop whining Steelers fans.  Your team is dirty.  Between cheap shot Ward, head-hunter Harrison and the Ben "the Rapist" Rothleisberger, your team is dirty.  Clean it up.

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