The word came out this afternoon that Patriots linebacker Brandon Meriweather, Falcons defensive back Dunta Robinson and Steelers linebacker James Harrison all have been fined by the league office with Harrison getting the largest fine of $75,000, $25,000 more than both Meriweather and Robinson because he is termed as a repeat offender.
What NFL football operations executive Ray Anderson and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fail to see is that the NFL needs these type hits. They profit from these hits too. NFL Films has released these video compilations since as long as I can remember. These hits are shown over and over again on the NFL Network and ESPN. They have top 10 list dedicated to them. Does the NFL make money off these? You bet your ass they do.
If you do not like watching these hits, you are as big of a hypocrite as Anderson and Goodell are. You know you like to see them, even if your favorite team or player is on the receiving end of it. You like them even more if your favorite team or player is the one delivering them. Does this mean we want to see every player become Darryl Stingley? Hell no. We want them to be OK, but it is part of the game. These players know the risk going in, they are paid well for taking said risk.
Now I am sure you are saying there is a line. Of course there is a line. There should be a committee of 5 ex-players that review these. If all 5 ex-players on that committee can agree that these hits were egregious and obviously flagrant then fine and suspend the player. These hits are obvious to differentiate and if you can\’t, then no fine or suspension. In the case of Harrison though, these two type of hits have existed since the beginning of the game. You know it and I know it. To come out and say all helmet-to-helmet hits are out is foolish. Build a better helmet if the current ones are not doing the job. If they weigh 40 lbs, so be it.
As far as the quotes from Harrison on him wanting to hurt people, intimidation is part of the game. Hello? Remember Jack Tatum, the man responsible for the Stingley hit? I HATED it when the Steelers had to play the Raiders way back in his day, because I was worried that man would decapitate Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. Even though there was not social media and Twitter in the 70\’s and early 80\’s, those interview clips made the rounds as did the quotes in the papers that Tatum will spew. You can not tell me the players did not read or watch these comments. You can\’t tell me some players were not feared more than others around the league. Just ask the players who played the game. They will tell you and many already have.
The NFL claims they are doing it for player safety. Bullcrap! When you try to ease up or not get hurt, that is when you yourself can get injured. If the NFL is so concerned with how it looks, why let the replays of bad injuries and big hits be shown over and over again? After the game Sunday I uploaded animated gifs of both the hits Harrison dished out on Sunday. Since then my server has almost crashed twice because of the increase in traffic of people searching for replays of said hits. How do I know? That post has 27 times more views than any other page and the leading search term used to find that page in the search engines has been, “james harrison hit”. My web stats do not lie.
So why do you suppose this is happening? I will tell you why. People like seeing it. Plain and simple. The NFL needs these hits. I know it, you know it and Commissioner Goodell knows it. Stop messing up the game. It ain\’t broke and your trying to fix it.