Monday, October 18, 2010

Hypocrisy 101


Rodney Harrison talking about players needing to be suspended for helmet to helmet hits on other players screams of hypocrisy.

This is the same Rodney Harrison, after all, who routinely won the vote for being the dirtiest player in the game when he still played. This is the same Rodney Harrison who was fined over $200,000 during his playing career and suspended himself for illegal hits.

And some of the hits he pointed to were made by Steelers linebacker James Harrison Sunday against the Browns.

I sat in, as I do every year, on the officials meeting with the media when they come to training camp to explain rules interpretations and points of emphasis.

One of the new ones this year was put in place to protect receivers from dangerous hits. Defenders are no longer permitted to launch themselves into those receivers and must aim their hit to the torso.

Take a look at the hit by Harrison on Mohamed Massaquoi in the photo that is posted here and you see he's not launching himself. He simply lowers his shoulder moments after the ball arrives. It's a legal hit - as explained to me this summer by the NFL officials who attended the Steelers training camp.

As for the hit on Josh Cribbs, he's a running back on that play and there are no rules in place to protect them from helmet-to-helmet plays. In addition, that play was more of a freak happenstance than anything. Cribbs happened to turn into Harrison just as he arrived to help LaMarr Woodley get Cribbs to the ground.

30 comments:

greg. said...

i totally agree, Dale. they were violent hits, to be sure, but completely legal in my estimation.

marc said...

they're targeting harrison because he knocked two players out of the game. massouqua (sp?) actually came down into harrison's hit when he was in the act of dropping the pass and trying to stay with the ball.

peter king went so far as to say the receiver was defenseless. well, in that case, every receiver trying to catch the ball is defenseless and no one is allowed to hit a ball carrier from behind anymore either. that would also make the QB defenseless on blind sind hits. Or the punt returner when he's catching the punt...

Greg Mercer said...

IMO, the only illegal hit during the game was TJ Ward launching himself head first into Mendenhall's jaw. That's the type of hit the league needs to crack down on.

Same with Merriweather's hit on Heap.

Harrison is just a marked man, because he isn't afraid to tell it like it is. Love that guy.

Anonymous said...

the league is becoming way too soft

harrison's hit on cribbs may have been helmet to helmet, but yeah, he was a runninback on that play. Massaquiou's was 100% legal. What was harrison supposed to do? wait for him to catch the ball?

adamg said...

Never was a Rodney Harrison fan, but I do give him credit for explaining why these high hits happen. He said coaches teach a "target area" to hit below the neck and that coaches and players will just need to adjust to "aim lower".

I'm not a Big Ben fan, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed a Browns player diving for BR's knees on one pass play long after BR had released the ball. He didn't hit BR, but the intent was pretty obvious. If that had been Brady or Palmer back there, a flag comes down, imho.

Dan G. Switzer, II said...

IMO, if a receiver starks to go down (starts to slide, tuck down, etc) after the defender has committed to the hit, then you can't hold the defender liable for where contact is made.

In Massaquoi case, he started to duck right after Harrison commited to the tackle. He's also bobbling the ball, so Harrison's obviously try to make sure the catch isn't made. If Massaquoi doesn't start ducking, Harrison drills him in the torso.

Also, I kept hearing how Massaquoi was a "defensless receiver", but he was still bobbling the ball around which just fractions of second before Harrison hit him. If the ball would have sailed over his head or bounced immediately to the ground, then I think the rule would have applied to the hit.

Dan G. Switzer, II said...

IMO, if a receiver starks to go down (starts to slide, tuck down, etc) after the defender has committed to the hit, then you can't hold the defender liable for where contact is made.

In Massaquoi case, he started to duck right after Harrison commited to the tackle. He's also bobbling the ball, so Harrison's obviously try to make sure the catch isn't made. If Massaquoi doesn't start ducking, Harrison drills him in the torso.

Also, I kept hearing how Massaquoi was a "defensless receiver", but he was still bobbling the ball around which just fractions of second before Harrison hit him. If the ball would have sailed over his head or bounced immediately to the ground, then I think the rule would have applied to the hit.

Anonymous said...

Dale...off topic but what are you hearing about #99's hammy? Saw he was in street clothes in the second half...can't be a good thing?

Dale Lolley said...

I wouldn't expect Keisel to play this week. Maybe at New Orleans.

Joe said...

Soft? Anyone else think Desean Jackson is soft? I personally think all players (HS through pros) should have the same restraints on their helmets as NASCAR drivers have to prevent their necks from snapping forward (HANS??).

That being said, Harrison's hit on Cribbs was completely clean, Robinson's hit on D Jackson appears to be clean and Harrison's hit on Massaquoi was borderline, but probably legal.

Only reason focus is on Harrison this week is due to Robinson knocking D Jackson & himself out and the kid from Rutgers (30 minutes from NY media + pickup from Philly with Jackson) getting paralyzed. Very sad story there.

Gregg said...

Anyone else notice that the NFL Network video at the end of their highlight show last night had several of the "vicious" hits choreographed to thumping rock music? Talk about hypocrisy. They market and promote the game with these hits.

Anonymous said...

He said that as a player, suspensions are what made him want to control those hits. He said he'd gladly pay a fine, but a suspension was actually a worthy punishment. If anything, he's qualified to talk about this, not being a hypocrite. I don't know where you got that crap from.

Dale Lolley said...

The guy made his living, his name for himself, dealing out purposely vicious hits. Now, he's one of the guys leading the charge against them.

Ron in Michigan said...

How can we celebrate Lawrence Taylor and Jack Lambert, and turn around and tell James Harrison his play is too "devastating"? Jerome Bettis would have been suspended every week for the "devastating hit's" he laid on defensive backs. Larry Csonka and the Miami Dolphins never would have gone undefeated. As far as Rodney goes, he can go break a leg!

Anonymous said...

All the talk about suspending plaayers for hits like Harrison, is driving me nuts. Really starting not to like Comminioner GoDdell. THe should fire GoDdell, for being a pansy.

How about a rule against the offensive - lets not tell the defensive that this is now powder puff football.

Admin said...

Massaquoi looks he is scared sh:tless and decides to squat down and take a crap. If Massaquoi had not been such a scared panty waste harrison's hit would have been at the torso.

These guys get paid to play, and if the play they might have to pay by taking a few hard hits.

Has anybody seen BOXING lately - they get paid for KnockOuts.

Anonymous said...

First the NFl leadership tries to take out the Steelers offense (Ben), now they are trying to justify dismantling the Steelers defense.

The NFL leadership must:
1. Be afraid of another Steelers Superbolw win and/or

2. Godell works for the NE Patriots

Anonymous said...

The NFL has gone insane. Now it will start suspending players for "devastating hits" without a definition for "devastating hits". The Steelers have at least one so called "devastating hit" every game. This means there will be a Steeler suspended for every game the rest of the year. And now that it has installed the rule, because it has to do with player safety, it can never go back! I am sad for the state of NFL football.

marc said...

i listened to a nfl "rule guy", anderson i think, this morning on mike & mike, and he says they never used the word devastating. however, his description of what types of hits where the rule will be more strongly enforced was still vague, imo.

for example, he said a receiver in the act of catching the ball is defenseless. does that mean a player cannot hit a receiver while catching the ball or just not to the head? he would not clarify that in the interview, probably because he wasn't sure.

in any case, if the referees do come down on the players for big hits, there will be at least one steeler ejected every game. i hope it happens to expose the hypocricy of the nfl.

and, from another perspective, i've never heard anyone complaining about MLB catchers getting lit up at home plate. i played college ball and got drilled 3-4 times a season and no one ever thought twice about it. it's part of the game and i knew it could happen everytime i played a game. the nfl really is getting soft.

Anonymous said...

Talk about hypocrisy - It seems that the only team in the NFL that playes 'clean' football is the Pittsburgh Steelers! All one has to do is read this blog to understand the lack of objectivity. If a Steelers player does it (levels a player from another team) thats NEVER anything but a clean hit. If a member of an opposing team does the exact same hit then the Steelers fans cry like little children about how dirty the other team's players are.

marc said...

hey cribbs, i mean anonymous, put your feeding tube back in and get a clue.

when harrison got called for late hits last season he was criticized by the the fans. no one here wants to see cheap shots on any players. but the steelers defense lights people up every week with clean hits and we don't want to see them getting called for hitting too hard.

and if your thinking of rodney harrison when we call someone a dirty player, keep in mind he said himself that he set aside $50,000 a year for fines he expected to get because of the hits he would make. he actually planned on playing dirty.

Dale Lolley said...

Look, if Massaquoi catches the ball cleanly on that play instead of bobbling it, he gets drilled in the chest by Harrison. Maybe he holds onto the ball. Maybe he drops it. But we're not having this conversation right now.
He bobbled it, which caused him to lower his head. Again, look at the photo on this page. Massaquoi is looking down and lowers his head because he didn't catch the ball cleanly. Are players supposed to stop, let him catch the ball, then tackle him? Ridiculous.

The only hit I had a real problem that happened on Sunday was Merriweather's on Todd Heap. He launched himself, helmet first, into Heap's helmet.

The Dunta Robinson-Desean Jackson play was bang-bang. Tough play, but it's football.

The NFL will likely fine Harrison, but that will have more to do with his comments about the hit than the hit itself. Had he said nothing inflammatory about it, I don't believe he would have been fined. It was a legal hit as the rules were explained to me by the officials at training camp this summer.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. Listening to Mike and Mike this morning it sounds like they are going to go after every helmet to helmet hit that a defensive player makes whether it was avoidable or not (The VP from the NFL said that the hit on Jackson was illegal because there was contact). I saw Trent Dilfer on Sportscenter after the horrible game last night and he said that all this is going to do is make the player hit a lot lower to avoid any sort of helmet contact and instead of the reciever missing a game with a concussion, players will be knocked out for a year or more with rib and knee injuries.

marc said...

yeah, the guy said they'd rather have knee injuries than head injuries so that is ok with them. i understand where he is coming from in that regard.

however, there's an underlying issue with regards to these "dangerous" hits. it's the fact the NFL wants an 18 game schedule and most players are against it because of injury concerns. naturally, how could the NFL push for more games while at the same time say "well, it's football and sometimes people get hurt."

the NFL has to go down this path so they can tell the players union they are doing everything they can to make the game as safe as possible. at the end of the day, it's still all about money.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I just read about the fines. It begs the question, how can I as a consumer vote with my wallet? There is really no way to express my displeasure. I'm not going to stop following my beloved Steelers or stop buying their merchandise. I'm certainly not some bloody-thirsty monster, heck I don't even like boxing or MMA etc. but hard hitting is part of the game of football. To put J. Harrison's hit in the same universe as the head butt thrown by Merriweather is insane!
This kind of crap ultimately will change the make-up of the game.

Three ways to break up a pass…
1. Get the ball before the receiver gets it.
2. Knock the ball out of the receiver's hands after he catches it.
3. Hit the receiver and dislodge the ball.
It appears the NFL is legislating out number 3.

If the NFL is really serious about protecting players, it’s easy, widen the field. Turn it into a track meet. Yes that’s dripping with sarcasm. Who are these fans who enjoy 56 to 51 point games?

While I am on a roll, what is a defenseless receiver? A receiver who’s quarterback hangs him out to dry? A receiver who elects to stretch out for a ball in heavy traffic when he sees an approaching defensive back? If a boxer elected to put his hands behind his back and stick his chin out would anyone be surprised when he got clobbered.

While watching NFL network one of the commentators criticized a QB for throwing the ball to a receiver in a situation which ultimately got the receiver pounded (I forget the exact details). The point is, the players are well aware of the dynamic. Crossing the middle of the field is dangerous. Fine Colt for not looking out for the well being of his receiver not James Harrison for doing his job!

Sorry for the rant, I’m just a bit annoyed. So much so, that I considered starting a website to accept donations to pay the fines ($.75 from 100,000 fans and the commish can kiss our butts). Probably wouldn’t work though because of the handling fees.

joseph said...

Dale, on the NFL website you can purchase the picture of James Harrison hitting Massoquoi. That they NFL is trying to profit from the picture on one hand and give a fine on the other borders on unbelievable. here is the link below:

http://www.replayphotos.com/nflphotostore/2010-11-season-pictures/week-6_1011_WK6__0001048.cfm

Anonymous said...

Harrison is threatening to quit football. Just about every single player and ex-player I've heard has spoken against this.

I think tackling needs to get better in the NFL. However, the way I heard Anderson describing it yesterday on Mike and Mike, even going in for a text book tackle could end up becoming an illegal hit. Take several of these hits yesterday, you're going in head up arms out and the last second the receiver drops his head, either your head, shoulder or arm is going to hit him in the head. So there was many of them I think they still would have been hit in the head.
As much as I would like to see better tackling, I also understand that as fast as the game is moving, text book tackles are not always possible. Not to mention for years players have been taught to separate the receiver from the ball.
This was stupid, the NFL went way overboard and they will never legislate out all hits to the head or concussions. What they will legislate in with this overreaction is more knee injuries.

marc said...

no doubt, there will be way more knee injuries. guys are going to have to come in a lot lower. reason being, as the rule was stated, even if you make initial contact in the chest and then carry thru to the head or neck area, it is an illegal hit.

if i'm a DB and see a receiver going up for a ball and i can't get my hands on the ball then i'm taking his legs out hoping it messes with his catch or he slams to the ground and loses control.

oh well, that's what the nfl is asking for.

Dennis Jones said...

To bad we cant bring Tatum back to join Rodney in his rant against vicious hits ... lol WHAT A JOKE ...for a player that made his living dishing out the exact same type of hits ( or even worse , R.Harrisons hits were most times illegal according to NFL standards!) There was nothing illegal about James Harrison's hits last Sunday and he should not be fined especially since he was not penalized IMO

poker affiliate said...

The Harrison hits were legal according to NFL rules, but he received a huge fine to give the appearance that the NFL is serious about protecting players. On the NFL.com website they were selling pictures of the hits by Harrison, so it seems a little hypocritical.