Blog Entry

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:13 am
Edited on: December 6, 2010 12:15 am
H. Miller suffered a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Baltimore's J. McClain (Getty).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Despite the detailed instructions and the diagrams and the variety of explanations and the tutorials, many of us still don’t understand the newly-reinforced helmet-to-helmet and defenseless receiver rules.

Why are some hits called and not others? What about the helmet-to-chest hits on a quarterback who just threw the ball? Is he defenseless? Can the defender led with his facemask? With the crown of his helmet? What if it’s below the waist?

I suppose some people have a handle on the rules, but there are times when I’m not sure if anybody knows what the hell is supposed to be called. Like, um, the dudes wearing the stripes during tonight’s Ravens-Steelers game.

Last Sunday, I got into a discussion with a Steelers fan on Twitter about why James Harrison was penalized for his illegal hit on Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

He claimed Harrison hit Fitzpatrick in the upper chest, and his helmet slid into Fitzpatrick’s chin. I countered that it was head-to-chin all the way.

He claimed there was a bias against the Steelers. I countered that the officials were giving Harrison more scrutiny – based on his reputation, why wouldn’t they? – but that ultimately Pittsburgh was treated the same as everybody else.

We went back and forth probably 10 or 12 times.

This week, owner Art Rooney II got into the act, saying he thought the NFL looked at the Steelers differently. I still vehemently disagree, even after tonight’s 13-10 Pittsburgh win against the Ravens when Roethlisberger was hit in the helmet twice with no flag thrown.

But what I’ll continue to question is why every game is called differently. And I believe this: if Harrison had destroyed the Ravens TE, instead of Baltimore’s Jameel McClain leveling Steelers TE Heath Miller on what was CLEARLY a helmet-to-helmet hit, Harrison would have been ejected, fined and suspended.

But with McClain, a yellow flag was not thrown. I’ll repeat that: when McClain gave us an absolute clinic on what is an illegal hit – there’s very little doubt this play will show up on the video that officials present to teams during next year’s training camps – and what should be penalized.

Instead, Miller crumpled to the turf in a frightening manner, and he later walked off the field with a concussion. And a 15-yard penalty was not called.

Minutes afterward, while the game was still in the third quarter, word began to leak out. NFL officials made sure to let everyone know that a penalty should have been called and that a mistake had been made. But the flag wasn’t thrown. And frankly, it wasn’t fair.

I understand the argument that players move at warp speed, and they can’t always control how they’re hitting an opponent. Mistakes happen. I get that. But the rule is the rule, and the penalties need to be enforced equally across the board.

I’m sure Harrison would agree.

“It was a hit that should have been penalized,” Harrison told NBC after the game. “Nine times out of 10, if you put me on that hit, a flag goes up and I’m fined.”

At the very least.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
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NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

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NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

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Posted on: December 10, 2011 2:23 pm

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

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NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

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Since: Oct 13, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2010 6:45 pm

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

 Of all the blown calls by the refs the one that made me the most mad believe it or not was that non-call on the facemask. It was in a very crucial sitution and led to Baltimores only TD of the night. Yes I hate to see Steelers taking cheap shots and the other team not getting penalized but I can guarentee ATLEAST 1 ref was watching Polanalu and Rice to see if Troy was going to get through and hit Flacco.

  I wouldnt say the NFL or the refs target the Steelers IF it wasnt the same story week after week. Blown calls against the Steelers opponents and BS calls against the Steelers have become a weekly trend for awhile now and it sux. I am going to be so PISSED if the Steelers season ends due to a refs terrible call. I know their job is tough but come on guys ATLEASt BE FAIR

Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2010 6:38 pm

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

Facesmashers - Great post. I watched the post game videos of about six Steelers and Coach Tomlin. They have a lot of respect for the Ravens. Ryan Clark also said that if he could not play for the Steelers; he would play as a Raven if he had a choice. The Raven players including Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs have also stated their respect for the Steelers and the brand of football they play. I have been to a number games in Pittsburgh and a couple other cities, notably Washington. I must say that the Pittsburgh fans at games are much more decent toward the few visiting fans who come there. It is too bad that the fans cannot show as much respect with one another as the Steeler - Raven players.

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2010 1:53 pm

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

Every team has fans that like to call the writers names. The writers have their own opinions and may not always be right. Sometimes I think they write stoties with a tilt to start a contraversy, and I'm ok with that. Seymore is a repeat offender with a sucker punch. Johnson and Finnegan were both participants and are both first time offenders. I was at the game and had a Raiders fan in front of me (pretty knowledgeable guy and represented Raiders fans well) and he thought there would be a suspension, and said it looked like the Steelers were getting the shaft the way the Raiders normally get it. I think Rodney Harrison would be a target, as is James.

I didn't mean you were getting upset when I said you were blowing it out of proportion just that you were stretching what I said into something totally different. Everyone has the right to their opinion, but most of the time we base it off half the story. Like we admit I don't watch all Patriot games, and you admit you don't watch all Steelers games. We both made statements of opinions without knowing all the facts. It is just the way it is.

On a side note, at the Raiders game sitting just ten seats down from me was Lynn Swann and Cliff Branch (a great WR from the Raiders past). I thought it was really cool to see the two of them watch the game together in the Joe seats. Mr. Branch was very pleasant and took pictures and signed stuff after the game. They both were wearing their Super Bowl rings.

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2010 1:32 pm

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

Facesmashers - I think we've come to an impass on everything except two points. The first being, you're right, you never said Freeman was a douche. I threw that one in there as a generality. If you read the articles on here, and I'm willing to bet a large sum of money you do, you'll notice that whenever Freeman writes a "Ben Rothlesbergasdfrewr Is Innocent Until Proven Guilty" article, every Steeler fan comes to his defence, and every fan of every other team writes "You're a douche Freeman, Rothlesagdgasdfer's guilty!" Just like, whenever there's an article that reads "Brady Gets Special Treatment" every Patriot fan writes "You're a douche Freeman", you know what I mean. And it doesn't just happen to Freeman, it happens to anybody that writes an article on this thing.

The only other point, and it's one that I didn't even touch on in my last post, is Seymour. He kind of proves my point, too. Should Seymour have been fined heavier? Probably, he threw a punch at your man's family jewels. Remember though, Raider fans all think the NFL's against them too. If they weren't paranoid, if they were RIGHT, Seymour would've been fined out the wazoo, but he wasn't. His fine was commensurate with fines that were levied on Johnson and Finnegan for their fight. It was a punch, not a helmet to helmet hit. The league isn't trying to get rid of dirty play, they're trying to get rid of dangerous play, or at least that's what they'd have us believe. What I think the deal is, and I've already given the Steelers the nod on this one, is that HARRISSON is targeted. If Rodney Harrisson was still playing, I think he'd be in the same category, maybe it has to do with the names, I don't know.

Last thing - as far as blowing things out of proportion goes, don't take this personal. I may be a Pats fan, but I'm not going to defend them to the death, or anything like that. My paycheck doesn't change on what happens in tonight's game against the Jets, or any other game they play for that matter. I don't get penalized, and I don't get fined! I'm just a dude with an opinion watching a game who likes a little debate every now and then!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or