NFL Says Hit By Steelers LB Terence Garvin On Bengals P Kevin Huber Was Illegal

According to Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Terence Garvin should have been penalized for his hit on Cincinnati Bengals punter Kevin Huber during the first quarter punt return for a touchdown by Antonio Brown.

“Huber, he’s a punter. And the key is he’s defenseless throughout the down,” Blandino said on the Tuesday edition of NFL Total Access. “So even though he’s pursuing the play, he still gets defenseless-player protection. You can’t hit him in the head or neck, and you can’t use the crown or forehead parts of the helmet to the body.”

Blandino went on to describe the play that resulted in Huber suffering a broken jaw and a cracked vertebrae in his neck.

“This is an illegal block. It should have been a flag for a 15-yard penalty,” said Blandino. “You’ll see the close-up where you can see the contact to the head or neck area. So this will certainly be a point of emphasis this week, especially with our referees who are responsible for the punter on plays like this.

“We have to watch the punter, he’s defenseless,” Blandino added. “And we want to flag hits like that.”

So there you go, expect Garvin to be fined this week by the league.

  • Steve

    So if Huber makes the tackle, is he fair game and defensless? Huber was going for Brown and could very well have made the tackle.

  • Michael Pearce

    Everyone in today’s NFL is defensless. Lets just give everyone flags already and outlaw hits anywhere all together.

  • CommonSenseGoneWild

    The real reason the hit was illegal was that it was too violent for today’s PC NFL. You can almost guarantee any hit that draws ewhs and ahs from the crowd will most certainly be a fine and shown by the NFL as what an illegal hit is considered to be.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    All he was doing was doing his by blocking the punter so Antonio Brown could make the TD. this is down right ridiculous.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    How do you explain penalty by Clark last week against Miami when he was called for hitting a defenseless receiver when clearly he had the ball and your supposed to tackle to stop him from making the TD it’s all standard football, the new rules is ridiculous.

  • SG

    No what else is illegal? All the friggen pick plays that NE and Denver run, but I don’t see them getting any fines.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    The NFL could solve this problem by using kicking machines in lieu of punters and kickers on kick offs.

  • T R

    how about the punters should just exit the field as soon as they punt the ball.. how about that for protecting the punter.. Exit left… any variation to exiting left could result in a hit..

  • r4kolb

    You know what’s funny….we all here on this site, and Dave and Dave, talk about the bad tackling issues the Steelers have. I live closer to Philly then to Pittsburgh and the Eagle station has been talking about the same issue for the last 2 or 3 years. Do you ever wonder if the way the NFL now has turned this league into a bunch of, dare I say, pussies? I really think that plays into it. Clark, Ike, Troy and the rest of league didn’t just start to forget how to tackle. There has to be more to it then that. Pretty soon we are going to say Offense wins games. As a Steeler fan how sad is that.

  • Eric

    Jack Lambert used to say “:quarterbacks should wearing a dress” Does that mean punter’s should war a mini skirt? My mother told us if we played rough we should not cry when we get hurt. If you suit up for a professional football game. Get ready to get hit!

  • SteelersDepot

    Tackling around the league this year has indeed been VERY bad.

  • Aric Brown

    I think the issue with that is 2 things #1 Not enough contact in practice due to the new rules set by the NFLPA about practice schedules and #2 a smaller tackle box

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Our old friend Mr. Lambert must cringe when watching football nowadays. What kills me is that I remember a kicker a couple of years ago that was no slouch. I think he made highlight reels perhaps 5 times in 1 year by making a bunch of TD saving tackles. I wish I could remember who the hell it was. Anyway, you would have to be able to block him — hell he’s like a real player as he would actually kick and tackle.

    2 different rules for those who are either capable of tackling or just kickers. Something like the difference between Ben and Brady. Ben gets hammered with rarely a penalty, but gets up and taps the guy on the head, but don;t even think about breathing on candy ass Brady or he’ll call his own penalty.

  • Rick M

    I don’t believe, because of one incident, that you suddenly change whatever you’re doing. But there are rare situations (and this was one of them) where it becomes awfully difficult for the opposing players to know who the punter is. It isn’t like an obvious sliding quarterback, or an obvious receiver trying to catch a pass.

    You can have a short punt, or you can have the punter choosing to race down the field to recover the ball – and it’s virtually impossible for the opposing Special Teams’ players to know which player is the punter. Maybe they should identify the punter with a different colored helmet or something. Yes, I know it sounds dumb; but I believe Garvin when he said he didn’t know it was the punter. And the responsibility to identify the punter – if they insist on maintaining this ‘punter defenceless’ rule – lays with the league.

  • treeher

    Dave: The cracked vertebrae is an old injury not related to the hit, according to the Bengals. Don’t inflame the situation more than it already is.

  • srdan

    defenseless doesn’t mean you can’t block him. Similar rules to a defensless receiver. you can’t hit certain areas.

    Regardless. You make a flagrant foul on national TV that makes the NFL look bad, Goddel will intermpret the rules to send a fine.

  • srdan

    I live close to philly as well. Their issue was having asante and DRC on the field at the same time. When it comes to tackling It was like playing baksetball 5 on 3.

  • John A Stewart

    That hit was Steeler football I loved it, all season long other team’s were smacking us around Cutler running over Golden that still is pissing me off.

  • GH05T

    pretty soon the defensive players are going to have to set a pick like in basketball and hope the offensive player runs into them

  • SteelersDepot

    Because Ian Rapoport is ALWAYS right, right? #Rollseyes

  • That’s what happens when almost all of the practices are non-contact. Everyone ends up tackling poorly and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more injuries as a result.

  • r4kolb

    Ah how they miss the days of Brian Dawkins blowing people up. Ah how “I” miss the days of Clark blowing people up!!!!!

  • Superdriller316

    If they are defenseless then they need to kick/punt and run off the field. I can see if he wasn’t part of the play but he was trying to make the tackle. Such bull…..t. The only reason he’s classified as defenseless is that there is only one on the team.

  • Superdriller316

    Article 8: Initiating Contact with the Crown of the Helmet. It is a foul if a runner or tackler initiates forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top/crown of his helmet against an opponent when both players are clearly outside the tackle box (an area extending from tackle to tackle and from three yards beyond the line of scrimmage to the offensive team’s end line). Incidental contact by the helmet of a runner or tackler against an opponent shall not be a foul.
    Note: The tackle box no longer exists once the ball leaves the tackle box.

    So why wasn’t the hit on Bell flagged? Bell was way outside the tackle box. I’m just going on the assumption that the Fed Ex letter is coming. That being said, I would appeal. The league can’t cherry pick who they want to fine. By the letter of the law both should have been flagged. And since the Dirty Birds weren’t fined they shouldn’t fine Garvin.

  • Steelerbob

    Absurd that he is “defenseless” throughout the play. that’s laughable. after he completes the kick and makes a decision to enter the play, he should not be “defenseless”. That’s just dumb.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    I gotta disagree. That clip gets played over and over again, the league is raking in ca$h all day long. Flagrant fouls on national TV make the NFL’s bottom line look very good.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Darren Bennett of the Chargers in the ’90s was an ex-Australian Rules player who once knocked out a punt returner. Couldn’t find the clip I recall on youtube but he got over to the sidlines and it looked like a bad angle as the returner sped past….NOT, One-armed stiff arm clothesline sent returner flat on his back. Not exactly a defenseless punter.

  • Dabo8484

    PUNT, then sit down or run off the field!!!!

  • Mark Jennings

    I agree its flag football. Now to be a defender you have to remeber if the guy you are blocking or tacking is a reciever, quarterback, punter, kicker, or a protected player. Thats alot to think about when you have to made a quick decision. lets put PINK shrits on all of these type of people……

  • Douglas Andrews

    If the punter is defenseless throughout the down then he shouldn’t be a defender on the play either period. You can’t have it both ways

  • treeher

    Well,you make it sound like a forgone conclusion without proof of when it occurred. The articles I’ve seen say that it is an old injury.

  • Tim Cogan

    Forget the defenseless thing for a moment…..the guy used his helmet as a spear on the guy….isn’t that a personal foul ???? Very dirty hit….cowardly.

  • Michael Pearce

    Exactly Mark.

  • Steve

    If it was a personal foul then a penality would have been called. There was no penality. Maybe they need to start hitting them in the knees, but the guys a punter, that would have taken his livelyhood away. Football IS a contact sport and if a person don’t want to get hurt, get him the hell off the field.

  • Tim Cogan

    It was absolutely a dirty hit, punter thing notwithstanding. To say if it was a penalty it would have been called…are u kiddin….they miss call ALL the time ! It is a stupid rule about the punter being defenseless and needs to be changed….but they need to REALLY start handing out serious consequences to spearing and slamming your helmet into another players face/chin/head….tough guy sport or not….people can get paralyzed/killed that way