Will James Harrison be suspended? Is the NFL out to get the Steelers?
Monday, 12 December 2011 00:30
Written by Bob Smizik
Two related issues today:
* Will James Harrison be suspended by the NFL?
* Is the league out to get the Steelers?
Harrison does not deserve a suspension for the helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy Thursday. If the league feels a fine is in order, and it probably will, it should be a whopper, considering Harrisonís past history.
As for a suspension, there has been such a lack of transparency by the NFL on disciplinary issues that itís hard to figure what it will do. But the circumstances of the play must be taken into consideration.
It looked like McCoy was going to run with the ball and Harrison thought he was fair game. Thatís not an excuse but it can be considered mitigating circumstances. Harrison chose to launch himself and the consequences of that were a helmet-to-helmet hit. He will probably pay the price for his recklessness.
But heís been on good behavior for more than a year. A suspension is not warranted, particularly because of the confusion on the play.
If, however, Harrison is suspended that does not mean the league is out to get the Steelers. That's a charge regularly thrown around Pittsburgh and on this blog. Itís a serious charge with little or no foundation.
Answer this question: What possible motivation would the NFL have to be out to get the Steelers?
The Steelers are a premier franchise. They draw viewers, they draw fans to visiting stadiums. People regularly accuse MLB of catering to the Yankees and Red Sox. The Steelers are the NFL equivalent of the Yankees and Red Sox.
Thereís no reason for the NFL to be out to get the Steelers or any team. No sports league more values its integrity than the NFL. The best way to destroy that integrity is to be deliberately unfair to any team or teams.
Lastly, the notion that Roger Goodell is behind this attempt to get the Steelers is beyond preposterous. Goodell, if anything, is indebted to the Rooney family, which backed him when he was seeking the commissionerís job.
No owner -- and the owners are Goodell's boss -- would stand for unfair treatment of another team. If they did, they might be next.
Finally . . . the belief the refs are under orders from Goodell to hurt the Steelers chances of victory is equally without merit.
The Steelers are 16th in the league in penalties and 12th in penalty yards. Those numbers should end any discussion of officiating discrimination.
If the league is out to get the Steelers, what is it doing to the 15 teams that have drawn more penalties?
Sure there are calls that go against the Steelers. There are calls that go against all teams. Good, bad or indifferent, the officials are human. They make mistakes -- just like the players.
Give it up, Pittsburgh. The Steelers are a cherished NFL franchise. It would be stupid to deliberately plot against them.
(What Smizik doesn't realize is that God
ell is stupid! (and arragoent and ignorant, etx. Note the misspelling of Goodell was deliberate. Then again Smizk isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer either. After all he thinks Airhead is a good OC. - mesa)