That penalty has been the subject of a heated debate today, with some seeing it as a textbook example of the kind of hit the NFL is trying to protect quarterbacks from, and others seeing it as a completely clean play that shouldn’t be against the rules of tackle football.
As far as Jackson is concerned, he was rushing full-speed at Vick and couldn’t stop his momentum in the instant that Vick threw the ball, and Jackson says he’d do the same thing again next time.
“I was conscious not to lead with my helmet but the official felt that I did,” Jackson said. “They made the call and said it was an illegal hit, and we will see on film how it looked. I am not going to change the way I play because I thought I made a nice hit.”
Browns coach Pat Shurmur, perhaps concerned about getting fined if he criticized referee Terry McAulay, would say only, “I observed it. I’ll leave it at that.”
The league office observes every call the referees make, and we’ll find out next week whether the NFL thinks Jackson’s hit (which can be seen at the 1:15 mark here) was a clean play, or whether Jackson can expect to be lighter in the wallet when his first paycheck arrives.