Tag:Art Rooney
Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:13 am
Edited on: December 6, 2010 12:15 am

NFL needs consistency with illegal hits

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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Posted on: December 3, 2010 11:28 am

Rooney thinks the NFL targeting the Steelers

J. Harrison has racked up $125,000 in fines this year due to illegal hits (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With the $125,000 in fines Steelers LB James Harrison has racked up this season, Pittsburgh owner Art Rooney II thinks there might be something to the idea that his squad is being scrutinized by the league with extra-sensitive eyes.
He’s also worried the Steelers might stop playing as aggressively on defense because of the threat of fines for big-time hits.

So, is Pittsburgh being targeted?

"It certainly looks that way," Rooney told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Not that we're expecting much sympathy from other teams, but I think some of this will be part of the discussion after the season is over. Hopefully we'll all have our chances to express our opinions and at that point have a better understanding of where the owners in the league stand on some of this.

"I think we're sympathetic to the idea that we need to focus on player safety and particularly on helmet-to-helmet hits. The other side of it is it's still a football game, and I think we've got to be realistic about how the rules can be changed and what we expect of the defensive players in particular."

From the story:

Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, told the Tribune-Review yesterday that the league is not singling out Harrison.

Anderson did put the onus on Harrison to play within NFL rules. He added if the Steelers' sacks leader continues to run afoul of them that it could see him suspended.

"At the end of the day we have an important responsibility, and if that means at some point we have to remove a player from the field to get the message clearly in his mind and to protect players that he's violating, we will do so," said Anderson, whose office reviews every play from a given week and decides if any warrant fines. "But we hope that doesn't come to pass."

Harrison said earlier this week that he won't change his style of play and "will let the chips fall where they may."

Look, I have some sympathy for Harrison, because the NFL saw fit to change its rules in the middle of the season and because everybody is still confused about what is and what is not a legal hit.

But the fact of the matter is that these rulings are not going to change (this season, at least). So, if Harrison isn’t going to adjust his style of play, he can expect the NFL to keep taking his money.

He can decry the fact he’s been targeted – and you’re crazy if you don’t think officials are keeping an extra eye on him at all times (that’s what happens when you develop a reputation like this) – but if other players can tweak their styles to avoid the potential for badly injuring players, it’s not impossible for Harrison to do the same.

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Posted on: July 23, 2010 1:53 pm

Steelers confirm Tomlin extension

Earlier this month, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the Steelers had given coach Mike Tomlin a three-year contract extension. You might remember our post about it from July 13.

Today, the Steelers finally got around to announcing it.

The only difference from the initial report: the Steelers say it’s actually a two-year deal with an option for 2013.

“Mike Tomlin has proven to be one of the top head coaches in the National Football League in a relatively short time,” Steelers’ president Art Rooney II said in a statement. “His unique ability to lead the team and motivate individuals have been key factors in our success over recent years.”

Said Tomlin in a statement: “I have been blessed to have the opportunity to be the head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I am excited to have the opportunity to live and work in this great city, and to focus on the true matter at hand, which is winning football games and bringing another Super Bowl title to Pittsburgh.”

--Josh Katzowitz

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