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Old 10-19-2010, 10:07 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default James Harrison, Dirty Hits, the Media, Roger Goodell and NFL Safety

James Harrison, Dirty Hits, the Media, Roger Goodell and NFL Safety
Posted on October 19, 2010 by ryan
http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/1...ia-pr-collide/

Things I learned this week: football is violent. I also learned that people, in general, are dumb. The media-generated backlash from a weekend full of helmet-to-helmet hits has had basically the same effect Karl Rove’s media machine had on unsuspecting dipshits during the first half of George W. Bush’s administration.

I’m not trying to turn this into a political discussion and, frankly, I don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat, Tea Party or Whig. Here’s my point: sometimes folks grab a pitchfork and join the mob without considering exactly what it is they’re railing against. And that’s exactly what happened after a handful of “holy shit” helmet-to-helmet collisions in Week 6.

So, naturally, the first order of business was to blow everything out of proportion and act as if it’s just now dawned on us that, you know, football is violent. And once that was established, it was only logical to conclude that suspensions for repeat, flagrant offenders would be the only suitable solution. To send them the message that helmet-to-helmet hits won’t be tolerated.

(By the way, it’s gotten to the point that I don’t even know what the rules are. If James Harrison had been flagged for both the Cribbs and Massaquoi hits I wouldn’t have been surprised or upset. But the NFL’s Greg Aiello said after the game that the Cribbs hit was legal, although the Massquoi hit was being reviewed. And if it turns out that Harrison is a little lighter in the wallet for the latter, that’s fine too. Officials have flagged similar-looking plays before. But let’s not make him out to be a serial killer. Whether you want to admit it or not, the NFL markets violence because people like it. Just pointing out what should already be obvious but clearly isn’t.)

This isn’t a diatribe against keeping guys safe. It’s a diatribe against faulty logic and overreactions. Helmet-to-helmet hits have been a part of football, well, forever. Rodney Harrison was suspended eight years ago for a helmet-to-helmet hit against Jerry Rice. And you know what? When he returned from suspension he was still a dirty player who still got fined for — you guessed it — dirty hits.

And that leads me to this: where’s the research that suggests that suspending players is some kind of long-term deterrent? I mean, if we’re serious about player safety and removing these types of plays from the game, shouldn’t we have some notion about whether a punishment works before we proclaim that we’re serious about it?

Not only that, Roger Goodell’s doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to punishments fitting the crime. If anything, his approach can best be described at haphazard. That might make for good PR (“He’s coming down hard on offenders!”) but again, there’s no proof that randomly assigning punishments actually reduces crime. Isn’t that sorta the point?

And while I’ve heard countless times in the past few days that nobody cares more about player safety than Goodell, I have a hard time reconciling that with the fact that an 18-game schedule seems very likely in 2012.

Here’s Goodell in August: “We want to do it the right way for everyone, including the players, the fans and the game in general,” Goodell said. “There’s a tremendous amount of momentum for [an 18-game schedule]. We think it’s the right step.”

If this is the champion for safety, the players are in deep shit. Let me know when Goodell and the NFL quit talking out of both sides of their mouth.
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:53 AM   #2
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Default Did NFL make an example of the wrong player?

http://blog.triblive.com/view-from-t...ss+Box+Blog%29
View From The Press Box



Did NFL make an example of the wrong player?

October 19th, 2010

The Steelers locker room should be interesting Wednesday afternoon as it will be the first media access since the NFL hit James Harrison with a $75,000 fine.

Harrison has to be livid at the penalty. And you can bet his teammates will speak out in support of the outside linebacker since the Steelers contend that Harrison was merely doing his job on the hit that knocked Browns wide receivers Mohamed Massaquoi out of last Sunday’s game.

Consider what free safety Ryan Clark, a fearless hitter in his own right, said about Harrison after the Steelers beat the Browns, 28-10.

“He doesn’t lead with his head. He’s just a guy that hits with his shoulder but he’s explosive, uses his legs,” Clark said. “That’s what defense is about, being physical and running to the ball.”

I applaud the NFL’s attempt to reign in headhunters with hefty fines and the newly introduced threat of suspensions though a part of me wonders if commissioner Roger Goodell is becoming too much like big government in how he runs the league.

Clearly the NFL is making an example of Harrison, who has been fined twice this season for unnecessary roughness. Question is, are they making an example out of the right guy?

Patriots safety Brandon Merriweather only received a $50,000 fine for his bush league hit on Todd Heap last Sunday.

Merriweather clearly launched himself at Heap’s head with the intention of taking out the Ravens tight end.

That is the kind of play the NFL appears to be targeting in its crackdown on illegal helmet-to-helmet hits.

Harrison probably didn’t score any points with the league by saying he likes to hurt opposing players though not injure him. And NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson said Harrison received a bigger fine than Merriweather and Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson, who was also docked $50,000, because he is a repeat offender.

Whether the punishment is fair or not -- and Harrison’s agent, Bill Parise, plans to appeal it -- is probably irrelevant at this point since the NFL is so resolute about ridding the game of helmet-to-helmet hits on players it deems defenseless.

“We are committed to safety at the highest level,” Anderson said Tuesday on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” morning radio show. “We will take all of the criticism and the backlash against those who say that we are acting too aggressively in this regard. We are not going to be apologetic. We are going to protect our players and hopefully players at the lower levels as well.”
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:56 AM   #3
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Default Tomlin supports fining players, but not Harrison

Tomlin supports fining players, but not Harrison
http://tribune-democrat.com/prosport...t-not-Harrison
ALAN ROBINSON Associated Press Tue Oct 19, 2010, 11:24 PM EDT

PITTSBURGH — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is a strong supporter of the NFL’s crackdown on dangerous hits. He’s equally adamant in his support for linebacker James Harrison, whose violent play resulted in a big fine and may have pushed the league toward its toughened stance.

Despite Tomlin’s argument that Harrison’s concussion-causing hit Sunday on Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi didn’t violate league rules, the NFL fined Harrison $75,000 on Tuesday.

Harrison’s fine was announced a few hours after the league said it would immediately begin suspending players for dangerous and flagrant hits, particularly those involving helmets.

While Harrison was not suspended, his agent, Bill Parise, called the fine “staggering” and said he would appeal.

“I’ve talked to James, and he’s very upset,” Parise said. “He’s quite confused about how to play football.”

Earlier, Harrison said it would be a “travesty” if the league took action against him.

Harrison, the 2008 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker, rammed headfirst into Massaquoi as the receiver was attempting to complete a catch during the second quarter. Massaquoi briefly crumpled to the turf but was soon on his feet, although he didn’t return to the game.

That play occurred a few minutes after Harrison’s helmet-first hit sidelined Browns wide receiver Joshua Cribbs with a concussion. Harrison lowered his head and drove into the left side of Cribbs’ helmet, a tackle the NFL said Monday was permissible because Cribbs was a runner on the play. That hit did not factor into Harrison’s fine, and Harrison wasn’t penalized on either play.

Tomlin called both tackles “legal hits, not fineable hits,” but the league didn’t agree about Harrison’s hit on Massaquoi.

“Cribbs was a wildcat quarterback, he’s a runner – and those guys are not protected,” Tomlin said. “A few weeks ago, you asked why (Steelers quarterback) Dennis Dixon does not run. The NFL is a dangerous place for non-running backs running in close quarters.”

Harrison not only wasn’t apologetic for the hits, he said he tries to hurt players because it increases the Steelers’ chances of winning. Harrison drew a line between hurting and injuring, saying his intent wasn’t to put players out of games.

With Cribbs unable to run the wildcat formation that Cleveland used effectively in upsetting Pittsburgh 13-6 in December, the Steelers went on to win 28-10 on Sunday.

“I didn’t see those comments, but I know James,” Tomlin said. “James says a lot of things he doesn’t necessarily mean. He’s a tough talker, like a lot of guys that play the game at this level. If you want to get to know James, catch him on a Tuesday when he’s walking through the building with his son. He’s a big softie.”

Tomlin argued there is room in the league for physical play like the Steelers encourage, yet also safe play. One way to eliminate some helmet hits, he said, is to further emphasize a lowering of the strike zone, the area where players are tackled.

“I’m all for player safety. I think it is the proper initiative that the NFL has,” Tomlin said. “I think we need to safeguard the men that play this game to the best of our abilities and make it as safe as we can. I’m a proponent of player safety and whatever rule or rule adjustments we need to make to make it safer.”
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Old 10-20-2010, 01:03 AM   #4
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Default Collier Give NFL top brass an A for fines, F for no flags

Collier Give NFL top brass an A for fines, F for no flags
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

So the NFL is going to start suspending the people responsible for its most "egregious" head-to-head collisions.

Good.

Start with the officials.

It's one thing for players not to know the rules, but players aren't paid to know what constitutes encroachment or how many seconds to put back on the game clock in defiance of the whole space-time continuum. Officials, as I understood it from the ancient texts, in addition to being paid expressly for those purposes, owe their professional existence to not only knowing the rules, but to enforcing them correctly.

But that's strictly theory.

Perhaps owing to the unrelenting cadence of high-speed collisions, perhaps in deference to marketing forces that position the game as some celebration of violent acts you'd get arrested for in any other place, the modern NFL official enforces league rules selectively, ignoring some, insisting that others receive 100 percent compliance.

So please, keep those end-zone celebrations tasteful. Catering is frowned upon, certainly.

The most ignored rule in the league's ever-fluid digest of not-terribly-well-written rules is the one about the helmet. I'd even say it's ignored "egregiously," a word the NFL brass rarely delivers unto the fan base until somebody's really, really upset. I'm talking about the rule that prohibits "using any part of the player's helmet or facemask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily."

If there are 130 plays in an NFL game, I'm going to say that something like that happens on at least a third of them. In the Steelers-Cleveland game Sunday, eight penalties were called, none for that particular violation.

Where is the flag for a defender running into an opponent head first? Where is the flag for the defender who launches himself at another player's head, intentionally compromising the safety of both's brains?

You might see a penalty flag occasionally for this, but they are nowhere near as common as the violation, and thus, nowhere near as common as concussions are in this game. The NFL, most conspicuously, but to similar extents the colleges and high schools as well, have created a football field where just about any kind of collision is not only permitted but encouraged.

Sunday was an especially brutal day for purposeful head trauma, coming as it did one day after a Rutgers University player was paralyzed below the neck making a tackle against Army. So the announcement Tuesday that suspensions are forthcoming for players who have no respect for the cognitive future of others or for themselves was most welcome.

It's not an overreaction in any sense, and, after decade of underreacting to the game's snowballing dangers, or not reacting at all, it's doubtful the NFL would even be, as Mike Tomlin might put it, overreaction capable.

There are plenty of overreactions out there, but they're nowhere near the implementation stage by any football administrators. One is the proposed elimination of helmets. Since rugby players routinely tackle each other without commonly disastrous head-banging, this theory goes, your footballers would be better off without them. Wrong, I'm afraid. Rugby is played by not-very-big people running not-very-fast, and players generally have enough to time to protect their heads. Football players explode at each other in bursts of adrenaline, the traffic often not allowing for even minimally protective reactions.

James Harrison's hit on Joshua Cribbs Sunday could not likely have been helped, because Cribbs changed direction directly into Harrison's path. But that's not the same as saying it shouldn't have been flagged. When a defensive player hits someone head first, flags should fly. It's the only thing that is going to change the way people are tackling. Harrison's hit on Mohamed Massaquoi, the one for which he'll pay $75,000, met every conceivable interpretation of unnecessary roughness and violated the newly legislated protections for defenseless receivers.

The fine itself, James apparently believes, is the media's fault.

Another overreaction would be to widen the field. The theory here is that the increased space will give players more operating room and thus more time to avert debilitating collisions. I think this would have the opposite impact. More space might make the game more exciting, particularly the running game, but given more room to run, the speeds attained by attacking defenders might only increase, and thus the danger.

What's truly astounding in all of this is the level of danger to which players will subject each other. New England defensive back Brandon Meriweather's helmet-to-helmet launch toward Baltimore tight end Todd Heap borders on the unconscionable.

Had Meriweather saved that one for this Sunday, I presume he'd have been suspended.

And still, that might still be too presumptuous, as I'm not at all sure he'd even be flagged.
Gene Collier: gcollier@post-gazette.com. More articles by this author


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10293...#ixzz12oUUEVQw
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Old 10-20-2010, 01:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: Tomlin supports fining players, but not Harrison

I wonder how Tomlin feels about fining coaches, particularly coaches who speak glowingly of how violent his men are.
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Old 10-20-2010, 02:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tomlin supports fining players, but not Harrison

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Originally Posted by ricardisimo View Post
I wonder how Tomlin feels about fining coaches, particularly coaches who speak glowingly of how violent his men are.
Dude your a Troll.......
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Old 10-20-2010, 02:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tomlin supports fining players, but not Harrison

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Originally Posted by wootawnee View Post
Dude your a Troll.......


Ric is a lot of things. Devout Catholic, champion for Republican causes, chronic masturbator.


But he's no troll.
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Old 10-20-2010, 02:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: James Harrison, Dirty Hits, the Media, Roger Goodell and NFL Safety

Here is the thing......Hits are only dirty looking if they are made by the teams/guys that you don't like...........

Rodney Harrison hits in Steeler country look dirty.......

Ryan Clarks do not.............

So I am not surprised when guys are fined , by the stupid guys that are called "the league",cause they are not the league..... The players, coaches, and owners are...period...
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Old 10-20-2010, 03:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: Tomlin supports fining players, but not Harrison

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Ric is a lot of things. Devout Catholic, champion for Republican causes, chronic masturbator.


But he's no troll.
You know me all too well, mein freund. And it's not chronic, it's acute... I'm sure it's going to pass soon, hopefully before the swelling and the pustules get any worse.
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:13 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tomlin supports fining players, but not Harrison

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Originally Posted by ricardisimo View Post
You know me all too well, mein freund. And it's not chronic, it's acute... I'm sure it's going to pass soon, hopefully before the swelling and the pustules get any worse.
Go away troll.


I agree with you about the Tomlin comment. It's only a matter of time before our coach feels the wrath of der commissioner.
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