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Blog Entry

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Posted on: November 8, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 4:20 pm
 
Several players could be lighter in the wallet following the Sunday night game. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

NBC color analyst Cris Collinsworth must've mentioned it a dozen times Sunday night: the Ravens-Steelers rivalry transcends the NFL's recent emphasis on player safety. It was old-school football, where people actually hit each other. And if that resulted in the league handing down fines then so be it.

Well, it sounds like that's exactly what will happen. Ray Lewis, Ryan Clark and James Harrison can all expect to be out some money after hits the NFL will almost certainly deem illegal, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday.

Lewis, the Ravens' ageless linebacker, had arguably the most egregious hit, a head shot to Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward that sent him to the bench with "concussion-like symptoms." Lewis wasn't flagged on the play.

Clark's open-field collision with tight end Ed Dickson was penalized at the time (unnecessary roughness -- hit on a defenseless receiver), and this could be his second fine for a personal-foul penalty in as many weeks. Against New England in Week 8, Clark incurred what turned out to be a $15,000 penalty for a late hit on Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

(Three years ago, Clark did this to Wes Welker. He was flagged on the play, but the NFL later admitted that it was a legal hit and he wasn't fined. Now look at us, fining guys for low blocks.)

The NFL also has an issue with Harrison's third-quarter helmet-to-helmet hit on running back Ray Rice, though replays show Harrison falling on Rice at the end of a play. At the time, it seemed innocuous -- and legal -- but the league's history of arbitrary punishments suggests that everything's fineable.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who received a Gatorade bath for the Week 9 win and later cut his chin celebrating with general manager Ozzie Newsome, didn't "want to get into that conversation right now" when asked about the hits leveled by Clark and Lewis.

"I mean, it's tough. There's no doubt about it, it's tough. It's fast and it's physical and all that, but the rules are in place for a reason, and that's the way it works," he said, according to the Baltimore Sun.

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Comments

Since: Jun 26, 2009
Posted on: November 9, 2011 7:58 pm
 

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

This isnt football anymore. This is a game based on violence. Anyone that doesnt see that has never played.

I dont think it is a game based on violence, and I played football until my senior year of high school. The game is violent, but I dont think it is BASED on violence. They are trying to protect players from getting seriously hurt, and having effects of these injuries for the remainder of their lives. I think they should replay any of these hits in which a flag is thrown, just from the booth. I have seen too many drives get extended on 3rd down that should not have ever been flagged in the first place and the team go down the feild and score. Football is a very fast game, and it is almost impossible to see everything. These refs are taught to flag anything that looks bad, when you can look at half the tackles on the feild, and from certain angles, good hits look like helmet to helmet contact. If they are going to make all these rules, then they need to make it so that the refs cannot turn the momentum of the game on a dime with a drive extending penalty IMO.



Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

droop,


You're right.  Lewis should be fined by the letter of the rule as well.  I know it was helmet to helmet but it appeared he was actually in tackling formation (arms toward ball carrier).  You guys can argue all you want about the form of the tackle but if you're arms are completely down at your sides (like Clark) that is a helmet launch by a defender.  The only other type of athletic move that even resembles it is a high jump (again a projectile launch).   It's actually quite easy to raise the arms to tackle in the fundamental way.  If you can't do it then face the fines and hopefully suspensions if they continue.  


If you don't know what fundamental tackling is simply think back to the old tackling dummy.  You ran through as hard as you could, wrapped at contact, and drove through the ball carrier.  I don't remember anyone running up like a male bighorn sheep during mating season and cracking their head and shoulder into the dummy (not only would you look foolish you would have fallen flat on your face to boot.)  The tackle sled is another tool used for leg drive and to train the proper drive through tackle.  If you try what Clark does on a tackle sled you aren't going to complete the drill because you aren't supposed to leave you're feet.   You can defend it all you want but it's just poor technique plus it's only going to hurt your team now that it's getting flagged and fined so you might as well start doing things the right way.


As for the other players you mentioned. many of them were considered "dirty" in their day as well.  They would've had to adjust to today's rules and if they couldn't, oh well.  It reminds me of the palming rule in basketball, it had gotten so bad with guys palming the ball instead of a legal dribble they had to place an emphasis on the rule.   It seems to me that it's mostly DBs that are the problem with this stuff.  Teach these bozos how to tackle and quit whining.


Watch some highlights of Butkus.  There were a few hits that would be considered helmet-to-helmet because as we agreed helmet contact is sometimes unavoidable.  95% he ran through the midsection or chest of the ball carrier, wrapped him, and drove him into the ground.  Butkus was as good or better than any of the guys you named and was as hard of a hitter as there ever was. 




Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

I played plenty of football, and was taught to put your head between the running back and the goal line (on a side tackle) or to the side of the running back (head on tackle) wrap your arms, lift and drive your legs.  That's tackling.  Turning your body into a missile with either the shoulder or head leading is not football.





Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

I would be nice if the referees could be fined when they totally blow a call, having no recourse on them lets them skate when they are the reason for changing a game.  As far as this helmet to helmet stuff goes, and I don't agree with the Harrison fine, I agree with Ditka, take the helmets off and they will go back to form tackling.  It will only take a couple heads to clash and that trend will come to a close.  All this protective gear has made these guys even more fearless, go back to leather and you will still have the violence we all watch for, but in a different way and the head to heads will cease to exist.



Since: Sep 19, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

With all the emphasis on safety by the NFL, why are there not more flags for the helmet to helmet hits?  Fines are all well and good, but in the above mentioned incidents, the Steelers DB was flagged for the hit on the Ravens WR, but Ray Lewis' hit that almost knocked out Hines Ward went w/o a flag.  The tv camera angle from the original play somewhat hid Lewis' hit, but on replay, from a different angle, it was obvious he led w/ his head.  Why no flag there?  Is it just because it was Ray Lewis?

These kinds of calls, especially in tight games like Pittsburgh and Baltimore usually play (we'll forget about game 1 this year) can turn the tide or at least turn a non-scoring drive into a scoring one.  I dont' understand why fines are so pervassive for helmet to helmet contact , while game time penalties are not.



Since: Dec 5, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:08 pm
 

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

This isnt football anymore. This is a game based on violence. Anyone that doesnt see that has never played.



Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:00 pm
 

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

I think pass interference needs to be enforced as a spot foul with a 10 yard maximum without automatic first down. Same for defensive holding. How many times have you seen an offense get bailed out by a defensive hold on 3rd and 20. If the offense has 3rd and 20 and the defense is flagged for holding or interference 5 yards downfield, THEY SHOULD NOT GET AN AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN. The offense is penalized 10 yards for holding, but doesn't lose the down, they get to play it over. I think it's unbalanced the way it is right now
I disagree on pass interference except for it being an automatic first down.  I don't see any reason why a defender, geting beat, should be allowed to mug the receiver 50yds down field, maybe in the end zone and receive only a 10 yard penalty.  I think the spot foul works well as a balance as in many cases if the receiver is not interfered with he would not only catch the ball at the spot of the foul but gain some yards after the catch that he is not getting as a result of the penalty.  Now if the spot of the foul is not a first down, I would not make it an automatic first down...repeat the down, i.e instead of 3rd and 20 its now 3rd and 5 or whatever.

I agree with you on defensive holding however.  Change 5 yds and repeat the down..or maybe change it to 10 yards and repeat the down (that way most defensive holding penalties will result in a first down but you don't get completely bailed out on a 3rd and 15 or 3rd and 20 type situations).



Since: Mar 1, 2010
Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:34 am
 

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Always above the Ravens. That is trash talk and nothing else. Steelers have beaten the Ravens in a couple of playoff games and that is worth something but Ravens are a better team then Steelers this year and that is not trash talk. That is the truth.
If the Steelers do manage to make it to the playoffs this year I hope they meet the Ravens again.
It will be good to face a team we are likely to beat.



Since: Dec 8, 2008
Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:33 am
 

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

I think pass interference needs to be enforced as a spot foul with a 10 yard maximum without automatic first down. Same for defensive holding. How many times have you seen an offense get bailed out by a defensive hold on 3rd and 20. If the offense has 3rd and 20 and the defense is flagged for holding or interference 5 yards downfield, THEY SHOULD NOT GET AN AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN. The offense is penalized 10 yards for holding, but doesn't lose the down, they get to play it over. I think it's unbalanced the way it is right now.

I'm really tired of seeing a jump ball get thrown up 50 yards downfield and when the receiver doesn't catch the pass, immediately lobbies the ref for a flag. There should be some penalty for that. Play the game, and let the officials call the game. 



Since: Mar 1, 2010
Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:30 am
 

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Always above the Ravens. That is trash talk and nothing else. Steelers have beaten the Ravens in a couple of playoff games and that is worth something but Ravens are a better team then Steelers this year and that is not trash talk. That is the truth.
If the Steelers do manage to make it to the playoffs this year I hope they meet the Ravens again.
It will be good to face a team we are likely to beat. 


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