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: Jul 15, 2009
Posted on: December 14, 2011 12:02 am

League gets it right with Harrison

hey hammer08 the other "penalty" that escapes you from last year was the hit on Jason Campbell of the Raiders....Campbell just barely released a pass as Harrison was about to sack him in the end zone....pass wound up being picked off by Ike Taylor for a pick 6 but was called off by something about Harrison "driving" Campbell into the ground....and ur right about Heath Miller last season at Baltimore(13-10 win) calls made against Baltimore last year or this come noone talks about Ray Lewis takin off Hines Ward's head in the 2nd game this season....oh probably because Ward is also a dirty player and got what he deserved...cost us a shot at an early TD but Ryan Clark gets a penalty just before half and gives the Ravens a cheap FG....but i know the Steelers get all the calls.......

Since: Nov 4, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 11:59 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

Judge, you are an idiot who is taking the middle ground instead of making a statement one way or the other.  I find that you do that more than any other CBS Sports writer.  You can't satisfy everybody so you may as well take a position and hold it.

Many of the flags for illegal hits are arbitrary and the fines that follow are even more so.  Harrison isn't very bright, but his reputation is built upon incredible tenacity and stupid comments after the fact, not by illegal hits.

The press is more responsible for the suspension of Harrison than Harrison's own play.  Every person who saw the play in question knows that Chickenheart McCoy dumped the ball in an attempt to avoid the hit.  Why didn't he just drop to the ground and turtle?  There should have been a penalty on McCoy rather on Harrison.

The NFL Hall of Fame is filled with ruthless defensive players who took great pride in intimidating and hurting their opponents and they were voted into the HOF by your predecessors.  The current and future Hall of Famers as voted by you and your peers is going to consist of offensive players and overly hyped defensive players (like Deion Sanders) who are afraid to make a hit on an opponent.

More than anything, I want more consistency in the calls in regard to the illegal hits policy so that I can decide whether I am going to continue watching the NFL or start surfing the channels for gymnastics and synchronized swimming.

Since: Feb 13, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 11:07 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

No the league once again has pansified the defense by suspending a player that plays the game the way it was meant to be. I think a lot of these 'helmet-to-helmet' hits are being used by offenses in the hopes of free yards, because you will never see an offensive plaeyr fined for it. Your taught if they go low, you go lower, they are taught if you go low, they should go lower. And leading with the helmet? Every good RB in the NFL, NCAA, and High School leads with thier helmet as they move forward. I've even see lineman and runners even a few daring QBs turn thier heads into the helmets of defenders to get the penalty called on the D. It's a biased rule, and it doesn't work to protect anyone. So come on and admit it, the D, not just the Steelers D mind you but the NFL Defensive concept as a whole has been put over a barrell in a bad way.

Since: May 9, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:46 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

the suspension is wrong!!!  the penalty on the play was wrong.  Harrison hasnt had any fines this year, so what the hell are you
talking about?  Steeler players take dirty shots all game without flag or penalty.  Mccoy was a runner and doesnt get the same protection
as a quaterback.  

Since: Feb 6, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:46 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

I didn't the NFL rule had a Big Ben clause!  Thanks for the enlightment!

Since: Sep 30, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:44 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

First of all, twenty years ago, this hit wouldn't even have been talked about, except on the weekly highlights. That's the football I know, the football I grew up with, and the football I want. Goodell's version of NFL is a bunch of crap to me.

Second, for the people saying it was a late hit, a defenseless player, and a head shot, if he hadn't hit Colt in the facemask, would it have been anything? It wasn't late or a defenseless player. He was running with the ball. Had Harrison not been there, he would have ran and got the first down. When Colt realized he wasn't going to make it, he pulled up and threw the ball. It wasn't like he was waiting to catch the ball and didn't see Harrison coming. He saw him, that's why he threw it. He wasn't defenseless. And it wasn't late. The only thing you can say was it was a blow to the head.

Third, everyone says he deserves the suspension because of his reputation. But his reputation has been created since Goodell. Remember, the NFL voted him Defensive Player of the Year. Some of the fouls he got last year weren't even fouls. But because of that laundry list of fouls, or supposed fouls, he needs to be taught a lesson. Had he not been penalized for his hit on Fitzpatrick and another one that escapes me right now, his rap sheet isn't that bad to merit a suspension. But it's the Goodell paranoia microscope that makes everything he does ten times worse.

Fourth, he isn't a dirty player like Suh. He doesn't get personal fouls for fighting or stomping or ripping helmets off. He gets penalized for things related to his job description - hit people. Tackle people. So I don't characterize him as dirty like Suh. His hits may be outside of current rules, and when he violates the rules, throw the flag. Fine. But you would have to say he is scrutinized way more than others.

If anyone else had hit Colt in the same manner, there wouldn't be an outrage. So are we concerned with Colt's safety, or who is doing the hitting. Is it safety driven, or sterilizing what the NFL is about. If it's safety, then it doesn't matter who hit McCoy, and there should be no bias when doling out punishment. It should be the same for everybody.

Also, someone else pointed out how Heath Miller takes a bunch of illegal hits. I remember last year when he was being tackled and someone else came in and hit him high in the helmet and bent him backwards, but not even a flag was thrown (I think against Baltimore). 

Finally, the rules are so arbitrary. I've seen many games this year where flags are thrown for pretty legit hits, and then no flags are thrown for a supposed defenseless receiver. It's just a farce at how it's handled. And now we've become conditioned to look for a flag on any big play or big hit. This is a better NFL? Really?

Since: Feb 6, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:44 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Nov 8, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:32 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

what a bush league rule, mendalhall gets hits by number 51 from cleveland in the head and the announcer even says on national tv, that the rule does not apply to running backs. they can gets head injuries just the same. harrison should not be suspended or fined. the rule should apply to everyone, not just the Steelers.  We all know the Steelers are a hated team and alot of things get called against them..

Since: Dec 22, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:51 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

Zdoood, you are lost. You call that "a late hit on a defenseless QB". Why is McCoy defenseless? McCoy put himself in that position by running toward the line of scrimmage, looking like he was going to run for a first down, running right at Harrison, and then at the last second flicking the ball out. What did McCoy expect? McCoy put himself in a vulnerable position by his own actions. He should be fined for being an idiot. 

Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:34 pm

League gets it right with Harrison

Big Ben is no wuss like McCoy is.  He can protect himself. He doesn't pull that Friday Night Lights bush league stuff like MCoy and father do.  That'll be the last time MCoy rolls out like that with the football tucked.  I promise you that.  

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