If anyone watched the NFL this Sunday you got to see one of the most violent days in football history. I think there was something like 8 concussions from nasty hits incurred by the defense. Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison was involved in two of the monster hits that resulted in the ball carrier leaving the game because of head trauma. If you saw them the hits were mean, but not penalized during the game. On Monday sh*t hit the fan over all of the violent hits that occurred over the weekend, and the NFL promised to enforce the rules of tackling and hitting to the 10th degree to help get players in line with the policies. This involves heavy fines and possibly suspensions.
In Harrison’s case he was fined $75,000 for his hits on two of Cleveland’s players. That’s a pretty steep fine for two hits that weren’t deemed penalties in the game, and it has caused Harrison to consider retiring from football. In a statement he made on Fox Sports Radio Harrison said, “I’m going to sit down and have a serious conversation with my coach tomorrow and see if I can actually play by NFL rules and still be effective, If not, I may have to give up playing football.” I can see both sides of the coin in regards to this issue, but isn’t the NFL all about sick hits? In fact the NFL even had a photo of one of Harrison’s hits for sale on its website before they had enough common sense to take it down! So what’s the message here?
I think Harrison is being slightly childish with his statement, but at the same time I totally see where he is coming from. If you’ve ever played football you know that it’s almost impossible to make split second decisions when it comes to tackling or being tackled. You just let things happen naturally and go into predatory mode to take down your opponent before he takes you out. If you think about it, how can someone that plays in the NFL really slow things down without getting hurt themselves. I think the rules are just, but the league has left such a large gray area that it’s impossible for players to know if they’re doing things the right way or not. Do you really want to watch a game where every tackle has to be thought out before it is applied to the ball carrier?
Being a Steelers fan I’d hate to see James Harrison leave over this mess. He isn’t right in the head, but that’s exactly what is needed to have an all-star defensive player. The NFL needs to flesh these new penalties out, and if you are going to fine someone they better have received a penalty in the game as well. You can’t go back a day or two after the fact and then start laying down fines for illegal hits. You especially can’t use photos and dvd’s to sell your product when those materials go against the policies you’re trying to levy on your players. The whole brand of the NFL has been built around violent hits. That just sets you up as being the ultimate hippocrite. Check out ESPN’s take on it below. You’ve been wondering when the NFL will go to 2 hand touch…
E.B. “Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”