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Friday, December 09, 2011

I don't see Harrison being suspended

I just don't see linebacker James Harrion getting suspended for his hit on Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy Thursday night. A stiff fine in the $40,000 range? Sure.

But he hasn't had a helmet-to-helmet hit this season.

Heck Ray Lewis has had two in the past two years as well, but he got fined the minimum for the hit on Ward, his second in two seasons.

The NFL seems to have reset the clock this year, even though it says it didn't.

Steelers safety Ryan Clark's big fine came on his second offense, even though he had also been fined last season.

People are comparing this to Ndomukong Suh, but Suh had multiple infractions both this year and last. And, I might add, what he did came after a play was over. His stomp that was the final straw wasn't done in the context of playing the game.

© Ben Roethlisberger was in a walking boot today. So was Maurkice Pouncey.

Some have questioned why Roethlisberger was able to return to the game with the same injury that Pouncey was unable to come back from.

It's simple, really. Roethlisberger isn't pushing on a 320-pound defensive tackle on every play like Pouncey needs to be able to do.

Roethlisberger's mobility was very limited following the injury. But he got by.

Pouncey would not have been able to do the same thing.


Todd said...


I agree 100% and I hope are correct.

Odds of Pouncey and Ben playing Monday Night?

bruinmann77 said...

I think missing Pouncey for a game or two is ok since Legs has been solid at the center spot. The main issue is that steelers are using Kemo @ LG. I can;t believe that i looking to prefer Essex starting at LG.

Dale Lolley said...

It's waaaay too early to tell Todd.

Tim said...

The Steelers did make a retarded decision regarding injury last night, and that was Pouncey. He was visibly hobbled and remained in the game for several plays before finally coming out. He got worse after each play. I'm sure he insisted on staying in, but my God, how did they not pull him out right away? He could barely walk.

I don't mind that they put Kemo in at first, but by the 2nd or 3rd crippling penalty, how do you not put in Essex? I thought he must have inactive, but I saw him walking around on the sidelines. This has to be the worst game of Kemo's career. When he wasn't killing drives, he was blocking terribly or not at all.

I can't believe a suspension is even in the conversation for Harrison. First of all, he tackled a QB, he didn't stop playing football and start assaulting someone. Second of all, he was selling out more than normal because McCoy actually tucked the ball like a RB and looked like he was running. The fact that his crown hit McCoy's facemask is unfortunate, and wouldn't have even been a penalty a few years ago. And some people want him treated the same as a guy who will try to rip your head off between plays if you block him. One guy is playing football an inch away from where they want him to, and the other is crunching and ripping heads and stomping bodies, with no regard for whether they have the ball or the play is long over.

adamg said...

Ironically, I think it was on one of the 1st and goal plunges, Mendenhall was hit exactly the same way.

pgh Steve said...

How much will Paxson's fine be for hittinh Big Ben low?

joe said...

i'm beyond tired of the nfl and certain talking heads labeling certain guys as dirty. clearly suh shouldn't have "stomped" but the lion coach has encouraged his defense to be the toughest guys out there and i don't hear a word about him. look at the lions actions last weekend.
espn is now showing a giant on the bottom of a pile punching someone. really, so what, if the nfl is going to act like this kind of stuff doesn't happen every game, they ought to just shut down the league.
linemen smash heads every game all game long, nothing being done to "protect" them. nothing being done to "protect" running backs from hits like mendy took.
hypocrits, especially when factoring many of the owners want 18 games so they can make more cash

Lance said...

I agree with the assessment on Harrison, he should be fined as his hit was helmet to helmet, whether I agree or not that is the rule, but he should not be suspended, no way. Colt was running at that point. I seem to recall Mendenhall getting hit helmet to helmet on one of the goal line plays, when you tuck the ball and run you are a runner that simple in my book.

The really unfortunate part of that play came after. The Browns should have never let Colt come back in, it was a mistake and they should be fined for it if player safety is really that important to the league. His bell got rung worse than Troys last game and we all knew he was not coming back in.

Dale Lolley said...

I find it ironic that Harrison had his eye socket broken when an offensive lineman rammed his head through his face mask.

As for Pouncey, sometimes ankle sprains loosen up after a minute or two. Pouncey tried to tough it out and wait for that to happen. It didn't.

bruinmann77 said...

I just hope Tomlin knows to put Essex in if Pouncey can't go.

Henry said...

As much as I don't want to see Kemo play another down in a Steelers uni, Essex is such a bad run blocker that I have zero confidence he connect on any blocks in our trap game.

Kemo can sometimes, and with a hobbled QB, we better be able to run the ball somewhat efficiently.

Starks is no world beater as a run blocker either, so we almost have to play Kemo to have some semblance of a running especially with Pouncey possibily missing some time.

Stanford's Guard David Decastro with our first pick. Has to be.

Anonymous said...

I think he should get a major fine but no suspension. It happened quick enough that he should probably be given the benefit of the doubt. But it looked like a bit of a cheap kill shot to me, worthy of Anthony Smith.

ibygeorge said...

I disagree, I see Harrison getting a one game suspension with a next offense warning.

Anonymous said...

Stanford's Guard David Decastro with our first pick. Has to be

Dumb prediction

Patrick said...

bye bye Cinci

Dale Lolley said...

You should want Cincinnati to stay in the race - which the Bengals are.
Steelers fans should want that final game in Cincinnati against Baltimore to be meaningful for both teams.

Patrick said...

I guess they are in the race, but on the outside looking in. And I agree that we want that last game to be meaningful, which is something I didn't consider.

I guess I just have an inherent disdain for division rivals and enjoyed watching the Texans win that game.

Really have to give it up to the Texans. They lose both QB's, Mario Williams and essentially Andre Johnson for the season (Johnson will be back eventually, I know) and continue to win. I'm cheering for them until they play the Steelers.

bruinmann77 said...

I agree Dale they need to hope the Ravens lose either next week or the Final at Vinny,but today loss to the texans killed me since we need the Texans to loos at least once. They are doing it with No WR and an 3rd string QB Geez.
The espn report that they are looking to suspend Deebo which to me is a joke and the Steelers FO really needs to put some heat on the commish. Enough is enough with this Bull

KT said...

I agree that Harrison should not be suspended. Too much of a gray area there, and his first offense this year.

Thanks for bringing up the helmet-to-helmet hit that Silverback suffered.

I also agree that Pittsburgh needs Cincinnati to stay in the race....

Patrick said...

I'm curious on what Dale's and everyone thoughts are on playing the Broncos in the first playoff game.

This is too early, but the way I see it the Steelers need to beat SF and Balt needs to lose to SD for the Steelers not to be the 5th seed (I don't see Balt or the Steelers losing any of their other games, though I suppose Cinci could beat Balt).

In any event, assuming the Steelers finish as the 5th seed, they are probably going to play the West winner - most likely Denver or SD. I think Oak is going to fall apart. On first appearance, playing Denver seems like an easy advance. But going to Denver isn't easy, theres the no Ryan Clark factor, but what would worry me is their D against the Stelers O not Tebow.

I think it would be an interesting matchup but I don't think I want to go to SD because even though they play like garbage sometimes, they have the talent.

marc said...

an interesting playoff scenarion for the steelers if it started today.

go to denver, easy win. even with denver's defense, you only need a TD and a couple FG's at most to win.

then off to houston, assuming pats beat the jets. another win, as i wouldn't see a 3rd string QB winning a playoff game against the steelers this year.

then it gets wierd. if the pats beat the ravens (an lets assume the pats and steelers finish with the same record) the steelers would have to go to the pats even though the steelers would win the heat to head matchup. solely because the pats won their division and the steelers didn't.

in essence, the pats would be rewarded for playing in an inferior division.

Anonymous said...

well yeah, thats just the way it works. Just like how the pats themselves couldn't make the playoffs having the same record as the division winner, or the seahawks getting winning it at 7-9. Weird things happen. The steelers should have taken care of their business and sadly didn't. now they are suffering the consequences and they know it

Anonymous said...

Playing Denver would be low-scoring and ugly and won by a field goal, most likely.

Anonymous said...

If the Steelers are locked into the wild card going into Cleveland, I think it needs to be treated almost as a bye week for Roethlisberger, Polamalu, etc. Although I guess if you wanted the 5 seed rather than the 6, that might be out the window. Hopefully week 17 is either meaningless or completely meaningful (we win, we get a bye). Anything else would be annoying.

TarheelFlyer said...

Again, the last second drive by the Ravens to get the win in Pitt is really hurting this team right now. We would be sitting by ourselves alone in 1st place of the conference. We would be 11-2...Baltimore would be 9-4. Anyone NOT see us winning the division that way?

superfan99 said...

Fortunately, the Bengals are going to play Baltimore tough in Week 17 regardless of their record. It's not like they are going to empty their bench to get younger guys some game experience - their key young players are already starters.

Dale Lolley said...

I would not discount the Ravens losing at San Diego this weekend. The Chargers are heating up, and despite their recent wins, the Ravens are not playing well - particularly Flacco.
In fact, if San Diego can win this weekend, I wouldn't be surprised if the Chargers wind up winning that division.

Anonymous said...

Broncos have New England at home (whom they have historically matched up well against), @ Buffalo week 16 (is there any doubt they'll win on Christmas Eve?), and finish up with Kansas City at home. That division is theirs.

As for Harrison, apparently Shefter is tweeting he suspects a suspension. Let's hope he doesn't know what he is talking about, but he usually has some good sources.

Anonymous said...

It's his own fault if true.

I don't like the way the league is heading either but that particular hit was absurd.

It was completely unnecessary for him to put the crown of his helmet (which he led with) into the guy's face.

McCoy left himself open to a big hit, which would have been fine. Good job, linebacker, hit the QB, that's what you're supposed to do.

The helmet-to-face when there was clearly enough time for Harrison to see McCoy release the ball (and is therefore a passer, obviously) is the problem.

McCoy's face did not duck down into the hit. It was Harrison's helmet which ducked down into McCoy's face. Why not just drill him in the chest? A cheap, dirty hit.

The contortions people get into to parse the gray areas of the rule are revealing. Delusional loyalty is boring.

I think a suspension for one dirty tackle is unwarranted. Should get a stiff fine instead. I think he's had a couple of borderline hits in the past but for the most part his "controverial" hits have been vicious and clean. I think this one was different. It's his own fault.

Anonymous said...

With all the talking heads promoting a suspension and the uproar from the NFL fan base, you can count on Harrison getting a suspension.

Everything the NFL office does is driven by public opinion without regard to what is right and appropriate.

I hope I am wrong but I think we will play Monday with out Harrison.

Patrick said...

we'll hes been suspended for a game

marc said...

i told you he would be suspended one game. there was no doubt about it.

i don't necessarily disagree with it either. imo, he intentionally hit the QB helmet-to-helmet after the QB passed the ball. mccoy did not "chuck the ball" just before harrison hit him as harrison seems to think.

given harrison's history and he made this bed himself. now he has to sleep in it, and ultimately hurt his team.

instead of head hunting, a big hit to the chest and wrapping up works just as well.

Gary said...

I agree. McCoy may have been hit hard, but such life when you play football, especially in the NFL. I think they both handled it well. You didn't see Colt McCoy baby about the situation. He knows that it is an occupational hazard of being a professional football player. Either way though, I wouldn't mind putting Harrison's helmet in my football display case. That was a big hit.

adamg said...

Well, it's clear the league is intent on making an example out of Harrison to get big hits/intimidation style defense out of the NFL. He's hooked, held, blocked with choke holds, is the victim of a helmet to helmet hit that cost him 4 games with a broken orbital bone and nothing. But make one hit on a bang, bang play and get suspended.

I don't think he'll be missed that much vs SF and he'll get another week for his eye to heal.

marc said...

adamg, you're blinded by your love of the steelers.

first, keep in mind the league has not outlawed helmet-to-helmet hits on all players/plays. you can hit helmets when blocking as much as you want. any hit on harrison's helmet when he is being blocked is perfectly legal. just like when harrison hits helmets with a RB, perfectly legal.

second, the hit on mccoy was bush league by harrison, imo. watch the video. harrison is almost 2 yards away from mccoy when mccoy releases the ball. it's not bang bang by any stretch. harrison targets mccoys head and delivers a knock out blow with his own head, intentionally.

it doesn't really matter if you like the rules or not, learn to play by them. harrison's arrogance/ignorance has now potentially cost his team a division title and first round bye.

Anonymous said...


Two yards away is six feet. Six feet moving at football speed might as well be six inches. This game is fast - much faster than it looks even in real time on a television. You must have never played it before, otherwise, you'd never argue that two yards is plenty of room for a 240 lb. athlete moving at 4.6 speed in which to see a new variable, process the information, and pull up or change a tackling angle.

That said, it is still a foul, should draw the flag, and the player be disciplined. In this, case, though, the discipline was way above and beyond the offense and obviously chosen to serve notice to the rest of the league.

adamg said...

Marc, you can believe what you want, but why would a player who is STILL recovering from a broken orbital bone deliberately lead with his facemask/helmet? I'm sure he wanted to risk his eyesight.

The league talks about player safety, but if that's such a big deal, why was nothing done to the player who hit Harrison so hard in the facemask, that his orbital bone was broken?

It's a double standard when it comes to James Harrison for sure. He's fair game for any kind of rough play, but if he dishes out the same, he's fined and now suspended.

The league told him to change the way he plays and he has as far as I can tell, but on the very first flag he's gotten all season, he's suspended.

It's really ridiculous and should make the Rooneys reconsider their support of Goodell.

marc said...

anony, get a clue if you think harrison was moving at 4.6 speed when mccoy released the ball and actually pulled up a step. harrison clearly saw mccoy without the ball, lowered his head and went for the helmet.

additionally, are you telling me you never saw a player pull up right before blasting someone? give me a break. i, like most, played football up through high school, so no, i do not have college or nfl experience.

however, i did play baseball at the minor league level and i know a hitter has roughly .4 seconds to identify the pitch, determine if it is a strike, gauge it's speed, swing the bat and hit the ball. therefore, to actually check your swing on a 90+mph fastball takes even less time than that. but you don't think harrison could have gone a few inches lower and hit mccoy in the chest, even though harrison is a world class athlete?

please, just admit he is a head hunter.

marc said...

did you really just ask me if the visibly most intense and arguably most pshychotic player on the steelers team intentionally lead with his facemask/helmet? yes, i do...and i think it was obvious. as do many others. i'm not sure what you are watching.

also, you keep comparing apples and oranges. if harrison blitzes and destroys the blocking RB and cracks the RB's helmet open, it is not a penalty. just like when no penalty was called on the guy that busted harrison's.

but if anyone, including james harrison, blasts the QB helmet-to-helmet after he throws the ball it will be called a penalty.

this is harrisons fault. no one elses. he easily could have destroyed mccoy with a body shot. but he didn't. he went up high and now the steelers will pay.

Anonymous said...


Just to be sure I've gone back and watched it again. McCoy releases the ball dead on the forty yard line. Harrison is at the 41 (3 feet less than what we allowed previously) and makes his cut for the tackle as McCoy's arm comes up for the throw. McCoy's receiver is also at the forty along the sideline only about 3 yards from McCoy as he throws. Now, here's how fast it is. Looking at the clock, the time the play starts is 5:59. The play proceeds and when the clock first ticks to 5:54, McCoy is at the 42 yard line - two yards from where he will throw and be hit which happens, by the way, exactly as the clock ticks to 5:53. So, less than one second is what we're talking about here. The hit actually occurs BEFORE McCoy's receiver three yards away even has the ball! This is not a baseball swing. We're not talking about checking a, what?...two pound bat? These are big, athletic 200 pound plus men running at full speed with the intent of stopping dead another big, athletic 200 pound plus man. Inevitably, these kinds of hits can and do happen under those conditions. Sorry, if you don't think so. Maybe you should stick to baseball - sounds more your speed.

marc said...

Good god you are an idiot.

Anonymous said...


That's usually the general response people have when they see their arguments have completely failed, they don't have any legitimate counter-arguments and they realize they're completely out of their depth. My advice is to just to keep away from the keyboard the next time people are discussing something you know very little about. Cheers.

marc said...

well, i didn't feel like wasting my time pointing out that harrison wasn't running at full speed, which i thought was obvious, but to you i guess not.

i didn't feel like wasting my time that the receiver was 5 yards or more away from mccoy when he threw the ball.

i didn't feel like wasting my time pointing out we have seen harrison pull up before at the last second (at least twice last season). hmmm, i guess he can make those types of decisions quickly.

i didn't feel like wasting my time that mccoy started his throw before he hit the 42. harrison had plenty of time to see mccoy was passing.

i ddin't feel like wasting my time that harrison did not lower his head until right before he hit mccoy. harrison clearly saw mccoy throw and release the ball, then he decided to lower his head.

also, next time you watch albert pujos, a world class athlete, try to check his swing why don't you give him a call and ask him why it's so hard to stop that little tiny bat. idiot.

Anonymous said...


How fast does he need to be going? 3/4 speed? 1/2 speed? The fact is that in less than one second he covered the ground, made the hit, took the guy completely off his feet and put him on the ground before his pass makes it to the receiver. I don't know how fast he was going but it was obviously fast enough.

Not that it makes one bit of difference, but I'll concede that his receiver was five yards out after seeing the play at another angle.

Your conclusions don't follow your premises at all. Sure - he's pulled up short under completely different circumstances and in completely different plays. He didn't here. Does that automatically make it intentional? That would be like trying to make the case that just because I've see Ben escape a sack, the next time I see him actually get sacked, I have to conclude that he must have intentionally taken it.

Watch it again. His arm starts to come up when his right foot is six inches from the forty. In any case, Harrison hits him immediately after the ball leaves his hand. Now, if you define plenty of time as a fraction of a second, then you're right, he had plenty of time.

These are all direct quotes by you. All emphasis is mine.

the hit on mccoy was bush league by harrison, IMO.

harrison TARGETS mccoys head...

harrison CLEARLY saw mccoy throw and release the ball, THEN HE DECIDED to lower his head.

delivers a knock out blow with his own head, INTENTIONALLY.

These are all subjective opinions rather than objective facts. It seems that these almost constitute your whole argument. If you disagree, feel free, but also please provide the evidence to support your position. I'm going to go ahead and not hold my breath.

Is it possible that he consciously led with his helmet? Sure. That would have to mean, though, he also made the conscious decision to draw a flag, a fine (suspension as it turns out), and hurt his team's chances to win the game. You want to think it was intentional? Fine. I'm going with what makes sense, though.

BTW, not everyone who disagrees with your position (especially when said position is almost entirely personal opinion) is an idiot, and name calling always makes you and your position look weak. Food for thought.

You seem really hung up on trying to make a point about football using what you know about baseball. Again, football is not baseball. The closest comparison you could fairly draw between the two is that both are sports and have the word "ball" in their names.

marc said...

you simply are not watching the video of the same play.

harrison dropped back into coverage, came up a few yards to the flat, moved laterally a couple steps...stopped and changed direction...then hit mccoy. please stop telling me how fast he was going or that he couldn't react. it's simply ridiculous.

and again, it is a fact, harrison took two..count them...two steps after the ball left mccoy's hand before he hit mccoy.

this is pointless...i call you an idiot because you are so deadset on defending a steeler player you can't see what actually happened. in case you didn't notice, the head coach for the steelers also said the hit was illegal.

Anonymous said...


You wrote: "i call you an idiot because you are so deadset on defending a steeler player you can't see what actually happened. in case you didn't notice, the head coach for the steelers also said the hit was illegal."

Oh boy. You apparently don't read the entirety of what people write or perhaps you don't comprehend well? Not sure. In any case, I never once defended Harrison for making the hit. In fact, I stated it WAS illegal. Let me type it again so you don't have to be bothered with the seconds it would take to actually go back and, you know, read it.

"That said, it is still a foul, should draw the flag, and the player be disciplined."

My argument, however, IS that he didn't INTENTIONALLY make an illegal hit. Did he make one? Absolutely. Did he do it on purpose? To assume so would be ridiculous for reasons I've already written.

To recap, just so we're clear, did he make an illegal tackle? Yes. Should it have been flagged? Yes. Should he have been disciplined? Yes. Do I think it was intentional? No. Do I think the discipline was fitting of the offense? No.

Your argument (and this is our only point of contention as far as I can tell) is that it WAS intentional, but, of course, once again, that's nothing more than your SUBJECTIVE OPINION as I've already pointed out and which you've failed to contest. Now, if you do contest that it's not opinion but rather fact, you now have the burden of proof to convincingly establish that. That shouldn't be much of an issue, though, because if it IS a fact that he intentionally wanted to concuss McCoy, you should have no problem producing the necessary evidence that supports that position. Again, I'm not going hold my breath because you can't prove intent by watching a video.

I don't know that I can be much clearer. Maybe you need to Google the words, objective, subjective, fact, and opinion to gain a firmer grasp on the argument you're attempting to make.

marc said...

i stated several times it was "in my opinion" he intentionally went helmet-to-helmet with mccoy. i never said it was fact.

the video supports the following:
1. he went up high.
2. he lowered his helmet into mccoy just before contact.
3. he did not lead with the shoulder.
4. he did not make an attempt to tackle mccoy (wrap up or hold onto in any way).
5. he took two steps before he hit mccoy.

now, based on that and the comments made afterward by harrison that mccoy was "fair game" (even though harrison did not fully understand the rule) lead me to believe he deliberatly went for mccoy's head. based on harrison's comments, i believe he felt mccoy was a RB and harrison knows it is ok to hit the RB in the helmet.

my opinion is based on those facts and my interpretation of harrison's comments.

now, i apologize if i offended you or anyone else in misinterpreting your remarks. maybe i got all the anonymous' mixed up. feel free to log in with your name so it's easier to tell next time.

either way, we agree on most points. though the suspension is harsh, it was not unexpected by me.

would you agree harrison must accept responsibility for the position he has now put himself and the team?

Jason said...


At last I think we have progress here. Although you write this:

"i stated several times it was "in my opinion" he intentionally went helmet-to-helmet with mccoy. i never said it was fact."

I again point out these quotes:

"harrison TARGETS mccoys head..."

"harrison CLEARLY saw mccoy throw and release the ball, THEN HE DECIDED to lower his head."

"...delivers a knock out blow with his own head, INTENTIONALLY."

In none of these statements do you write that these thoughts are simply a matter of personal opinion which I grant you may be nothing more than an oversight on you part.

As to the rest of what you wrote, I have no problem with it and yes, I do think he now must accept responsibility.

Apology accepted. In the future, though, for the sake of nothing other than courtesy, please present facts and opinions as facts and opinions and dispense with the name calling.

Having said that, I hope we can have friendlier exchanges in the future. Cheers.

marc said...

"harrison TARGETS mccoys head..." - that whole paragraph was "imo"

"harrison CLEARLY saw mccoy throw and release the ball, THEN HE DECIDED to lower his head." - unless he is running with his eyes closed i cannot fathom how he did not see mccoy release the ball. also, no one forced harrison to lower his head, he did it of his own accord.

"...delivers a knock out blow with his own head, INTENTIONALLY." - that whole paragraph was "imo"

marc said...

ronnie lott destroyed james harrison on the radio yesterday evening. he said, and i am paraphrasing -

every player has a choice when they go to hit someone. you can lead with your shoulder, your arms, your head. harrison decided to lead with his head. he could have taken out mccoy with his shoulder, but he led with his head and he went up high.

when lott was asked if it is too hard to adjust your hit at the last second he said -

usually, no. the rules started to change later in his career and he had to learn to adapt to the rules. there times he had to pull up so he didn't get a flag and he could keep playing. in lott's opinion, harrison had plenty of time to ease up or drop down before he hit mccoy.

so, to all those who think the nfl moves at god like speed and it is impossible to react, take not arguably the greatest safet of all time thinks harrison had time to make an adjustment.