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: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:52 am

League gets it right with Harrison

Your dead on Boisen8ive, Harrison is a repeat, dirty player. There is no place in the league for his and Suh's actions. These two guys are a joke.

Since: Oct 19, 2007
Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:20 am

League gets it right with Harrison

I agree and disagree.  When players habitually break rules once educated, warned and then subsequently fined, then suspension is the logical next progression of discipline.  What I disagree with is that the rule is making play "safer."  I agree that concussions need to be curbed, but everyone will tell you--the equipment gurus, trainers, brain surgeons--that head injury causation cannot be pinpointed. Basketball players get concussions.  Baseball players.  No helmet-to-helmet collisions there, typically.  I believe, and many players and trainers concur, that the rule actually puts defenders in a position that endangers them just as much. 

Defenseless players getting hit in the head = penalty (if flagrant, ie--player launches himself from the ground and spears the other player--fine him).  A player running and getting tackled in the due course of the game = no penalty.  Come on.  Have any of you who cry "playing dirty" or "everyone else is playing within the framework of the game" EVER TACKLED ANYONE?  You tackle with your shoulder and arms, but God in His almighty wisdom attached that shoulder to (gasp!) your head.  When you come in contact with another player (and his shoulder pads, helmet, elbows, midsection, etc.) your helmet is going to contact that person.  It is natural.  Where your shoulders go, there goes your head as a natural consequence of that action. 

Maybe it is the speed of the game/the violence of the hits that attracts the attention. The game in which Colt McCoy first injured his head (Texas vs. Alabama), would be a perfect example of this.  Colt put his head down while running.  Many RB's and QB's do it, it is natural, I suppose (but not a penalty).  But, against the Steelers, Colt is running, looking downfield and Harrison form tackles him--watch the video from the side, not from behind Harrison--and just as Harrison is coming in contact with Colt (who is shorter than James), Colt moves slightly to his left, which throws off Harrison's aim some.  But the issue is really the helmet-to-facemask hit, here.  As a due course of hitting someone, wrapping them around the torso, your head (inside a giant shell in order to protect you, of course) can--and will, as much as you don't want it to--come in contact with the facemask of the other player.  If both players had no helmet, no contact would have been made at all.  Maybe the helmets are the problem.

Until the NFL can become more consistent with their model of enforcement, penalization and response, I cannot support thier continued "head hunting" of players who tackle hard.  I believe something needs to be done, for sure, but their definition of what is an what isn't a penalty is sketchy and one-sided at best.  It smells like the "juiced ball" in the Major Leagues:  an attempt to incur more offensive scoring and a protection of the elite players who bring the league the most money.  A balance between protection and cohesive and fair gameplay should be the priority, in the end.

Sorry for the rant.


Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:52 am

League gets it right with Harrison

Boisen8ive... seriously... that's about the dumbest thing I've read in a long time.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:18 am

League gets it right with Harrison

Harrison is a thug and a dirty player. Most everyone else is learning to play within the framework of the rule changes. Harrison is "gangsta" mentality player and got nowhere near what he deserves. His head was down and right into the facemask. We were all taught in pee wee ball to hit with you head up, face forward. He chooses to try and maim.

Also, BlaknGold: Pure evil-Jerry Sandusky
Someone you disagree with--Goodell.

Since: Jul 2, 2008
Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:01 am

League gets it right with Harrison

I hear that these rules are for the safety of the players, but I don't believe it.  If that was the case, how come nobody is trying to come up with rules to eliminate the types of hits that caused Kris Dielman to lose the rest of the season because of a concussion?  How come there are no rules stopping Adrian Peterson & Frank Gore from running through the line head down?  If Peyton Hillis had run over James Harrison with his head down, would there be a flag, fine, or suspension?  When rules are made they should be able to be enforced with consistency, practicality, fairness, & (excuse me) honesty...

Since: Oct 17, 2007
Posted on: December 14, 2011 9:44 am

League gets it right with Harrison

How is this guy a paid writer? Choppy writing, poor sentence structure, and repeating the same thing over and over again ad not making of a good sports writer. Just horrible. Not to mention that he is completely wrong and inconsistent in all of his articles. As for the article Harrison is playing hard nosed football. The kind of football that made Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, LT, and every other linebacker great. You go in there looking to hit someone, not hoping to gingergly tackle someone and then get up in hug. You want to clean up the NFL do it off the field. Let the guys on the field play.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 9:26 am

League gets it right with Harrison

Judge is an idtiot. The Packers LB spends a weekend in jail for domestic violence and got ZERO GAMES. Harrison hits a QB out of the pcoket who was trying to get out of the way, but Harrison is suppsoed to? Judge... those who aling with the devil, usually end up serving him. Goodell is 100% pure evil, and he is not right. You stink as a writer and yoru judgement is beyind bad. How did you get a job???

Since: Jun 30, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 9:02 am

League gets it right with Harrison

Of course, Clark Judge will be leading the charge when Ray Lewis gets his next fine...  Oh, wait, that would require consistency

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:47 am

League gets it right with Harrison

Wildcats-When Did the Steeler D get carved up? The SuperBowl last year? I don't think so. Did you you watch the game? Only a novice football fan would make that statement.  But for the Turn overs The Steelers win #7 going away. The Steelers offense did more damage to the Steeler D than the GreenBay offense did. Go watch again.
Vis 20/40 

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 7:24 am

League gets it right with Harrison

I'm all for throwing the book at dirty players, and Harrison has a history of going for the kill shot.

However, when an offensive player lowers his head at the last minute, after the defender has lined up at his chest and lowered his own head so he can't see or react to the offensive player's level change, how is this his fault?  Why aren't offensive players being told not to lower their heads at contact or they're on their own?

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