Saturday, December 17, 2011

#234: Dangerous Precedent

---SSL Broadcast #72---

For the first time, I think that Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison is a visionary.

Last year, football fans, including Steeler fans, had a laugh with Harrison threatening to retire because of fines levied against him last October. At the time, he said, "I'm going to sit down and have a serious conversation with my coach tomorrow and see if I can actually play by NFL rules and still be effective. If not, I may have to give up playing football."

Now, a little over a year later, the National Football League may drive him to it.

This week, Harrison was suspended for one game without pay for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. The suspension means he will miss the Monday Night Football showdown between his 10-3 Steelers, and the 10-3 San Francisco 49ers.

On last week's show, I agreed with the penalty being assessed, but didn't think a fine should be levelled. A suspension for that hit never crossed my mind.

As of this writing, you can still find video of the play in question on YouTube and can watch it for yourself and judge if you see the same two things I do.

1) Harrison pulls up considerably.

2) The hardest contact is actually done by Harrison's arms, shoving McCoy to the turf.

In no way, shape or form was this a reckless/dirty/cheap hit. Because it was helmet-to-helmet, it was going to draw a penalty. I reiterate that I am not arguing that.

To say that this is along the lines of, say, either of his hits in last year's game between these two teams at Heinz Field that saw Joshua Cribbs and Mohammad Massaquoi leave the game (that resulted in the fines that led Harrison to consider retirement) is asinine.

By levelling this punishment for this offense, what Roger Goodell and his underling/disciplinarians (who refused to even hear an appeal, by the way) have done is pretty much said this: If James Harrison is involved in any helmet-to-helmet contact, he will be suspended, regardless of circumstance.

If that's the case, then it might be said that Harrison (unlike several quarterbacks - Colt McCoy excluded) saw it coming all along.

Also on today's show:

- Panthers football head coach Todd Graham bolts for Arizona State.

- Sidney Crosby, when he's ready again, needs to come back to stay.

- The Pirates bring a third baseman on board. Do they really need him, even as insurance?

- After a bogus pass interference call on Adam "Pacman" Jones that set up Houston's winning touchdown, it's another 1-1 week on the NFL Picks front (13-14-1 overall).



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