Blog Entry

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:11 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 2:47 pm
Some players might argue that the rules change led to Decker's knee injury. (US PRESSWIRE/AP)

By Ryan Wilson

On the first play of the second quarter of Sunday's Steelers-Broncos game, Tim Tebow completed a 21-yard pass to then-favorite target Eric Decker. It was a nice throw, and an easy catch for Decker right up to the moment when Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison tackled him low, collapsing Decker's knee in the process.

The Denver wide receiver ended up on the turf writhing in pain. He was helped off the field and didn't return. Literally adding insult to injury: the Steelers challenged the call, which was overturned to an incompletion. Of course, a play later, Tebow threw the first of many 30-plus-yard passes to Damaryius Thomas, and two plays after that, Denver led 7-6.

The hit by Harrison -- which is perfectly legal in the eyes of the league -- was the realization of fears many players voiced after NFL rules prohibited hitting players high. The players' thinking: it's a lot easier to come back from a high-impact collision when it doesn't involve torn knee ligaments or broken legs.

Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway knows this, and he doesn't think that Harrison's intentions were dirty. It's just the nature of today's NFL. (And we discussed it on Tuesday's Pick-6 Podcast embedded below for your listening pleasure)

"The (tackling) target is now lower," Elway said on his weekly Denver radio show on 102.3 FM Monday night according to The Huddle.

"Harrison yesterday, because of the fact that he's been fined so often, really had no other option. ... I don't think he intended to hurt Eric. But obviously because of the situations he's been in, he had to go low and stay away from the head. And it ended up costing an MCL sprain for Eric."

It's the unintended consequences of actions not thought through entirely. Yes, the NFL should thrive for making the game as safe as possible, but drastic changes don't come without ramifications. And the league can't argue that knee injuries were unforeseen because players lamented the possibly as soon as the new rules were announced.

The NFL could point out, however, that the prevalence of knee injuries haven't increased in light of the rules changes. (We write this anecdotally; Decker is the first time we remember a player suffering a below-the-waist injury on a play that, in previous seasons, might've resulted in a hit to the shoulders or head area.) The NFL could also show that even chronic offenders can change the way they play.

Harrison was suspended in Week 15 for taking off Colt McCoy's head in the previous game. At the time, Harrison said "I don't know. I guess try and be more aware about the placement of my face mask. I don't know how you tackle someone and not use any part of your head, especially if you're trying to see what you're hitting. I mean, your face mask is going to touch them."

And now the league has what it wants. It's just that, depending on player backlash, they might not want it very long.

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Since: Jan 19, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 11:15 am

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Men the size of Harrison are beasts
They will continue to get bigger and stronger. Receivers are getting bigger, too. This was the year of the TE and the big receiver. Expect more big, strong, fast receivers in the future. The days of little guys like Wes Welker (Patriots) and Steve Smith (Panthers) are ending soon. The new, massive, powerful, fast receivers will rule the game for a long, long time. Megatron is the prototype.

Since: Oct 3, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 10:40 am

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Why can't people just tackle the guy?  What happened to wrapping up at the waist and driving your man into the ground?  These idiots don't have to choose between helmet to helmet or, in this case, shoulder to knee!  That's what you get when you let these kids go to school and skate by, not a single one of them has a good head on their shoulders.

If you are fundamentally sound in your tackling then you don't have either problem.  It's such a shame that these guys have been so concerned with getting their hit on sportscenter that they don't even remember how to do it right.

Since: Jan 11, 2012
Posted on: January 11, 2012 10:24 am

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

This hit reminds me of Culpepper's hit by chris gamble but, daunte didnt sprain his knee. he tore his ACL, MCL, & PCL. I agree with elway though not dirty according to these rules but, hitting/blocking below the waist should be illegal.  the funny think is if james hit him any higher it would of been H2H, 15yrds, & 2 game sup.  I think thats why he hit him low???

Since: Aug 12, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 9:56 am

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

NFCEASTFAN, if you ever have anything more to contribute than an original quote from a movie, maybe I would spend my time expaining whatever you didn't understand from my post. 

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2012 9:13 am

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

rborgo2........ Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. 

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2012 9:11 am

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Too many calls missed, facemasks on the Broncos, and a ton of holding on the Steelers. You see hometking2, everything you complain about can be thrown right back at you. I won't even talk about the obvious lateral that the Broncos recovered deep in Steeler territory that was negated due to an officials early whistle......and that kept a drive alive the led to a Steeler TD.....But that's football. The refs could throw a flag for holding on EVERY play of every game in the NFL.........and facemask penalty? Were you referring to the obvious facemask on Tebow 2x that wasn't called? Didn't think so. Face it.....your team didn't show up and Denver did. Grow up.

Since: Aug 12, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 9:03 am

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

Why are people retarded?  You don't tackle receivers, you separate them from the ball.  When are people going to get this through their dense little skulls?  Also, just because slowed down HD replays of the final second of a play make it look like it is so easy to predict the exact location your opponent will be, this is not even close to reality.  If it was, no boxer would ever land a punch and no player would ever juke out another.  If you just tackled receivers, Drew Brees would have 6500 yards this season.  I know most NFL fans never played football and either are scared of football players or want to perform fellatio on them, but stick to sports you are able to understand and stomach better.  WHY DO YOU EVEN WATCH FOOTBALL???? IT MAKES NO SENSE!!!  THERE MUST BE SOME TYPE OF NEW PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDER.  Were you small, weak, unathletic, or picked on in high school?  Does watching football make you feel like you are on the field and you can imagine what it would be like?  Then when someone gets hit hard, does it make you remember how fragile you are and cry, because then it destroys the fantasy you have built up where you could actually be on a football field?

Since: Feb 20, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2012 8:35 am

Goodell wanted Harrison to aim lower

I said this all along. Goodell is an idiot. Men the size of Harrison are beasts -- and now you want these huge hunks of muscle to aim low at a person's knee area???!! He did, and almost ended Decker's career, or put him on a 9 month recovery from torn ligaments. BUT IT WAS LEGAL! If he hit high, Decker would be running around today.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2012 7:23 am

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

BRONCOS_15 It's a metaphor moron. you don't like it I don't really give a rats patootie. As for my personal experiences, I was just reiterating what your dad said after a night out with his bf. Now go get your blankie and go back to your crib.

Since: Oct 1, 2010
Posted on: January 11, 2012 6:46 am

Elway says Harrison's low hit on Decker not dirty

I am a Steelers fan. I agree with you 100%. My Steelers didn't show up to play and the Broncos did.

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