Madieu Williams flagged for shoulder-to-shoulder hit

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The NFL’s obsession with cracking down on launching claimed its first victim of the 2011 season on Sunday when 49ers safety Madieu Williams was flagged for a shoulder-to-shoulder hit on Seahawks tight end Anthony McCoy.

As McCoy was reaching up to grab a pass over the middle of the field, Williams hit him to jar the ball loose. As you can see in this picture of the collision in question, Williams led with his right shoulder — not his head — and made contact with McCoy’s right shoulder — again, not his head.

Williams should have been praised for making a good, hard, clean hit while avoiding helmet-to-helmet contact. Instead he was given a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness, which set up a Seahawks field goal.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh made clear after the game that he wasn’t happy about the penalty, saying Williams delivered “an extremely clean hit.” Harbaugh said he wants the league office to explain to him what was wrong with what Williams did, because he’s not sure what he’s supposed to tell his players to do.

Frankly, if the new emphasis on “launching” bans hits like the one Williams delivered to McCoy, I’m not sure what any defensive back is ever supposed to do. It’s admirable that the NFL wants to protect players from violent hits to the head, but what Williams did was nothing more than play football the way it’s supposed to be played.

84 responses to “Madieu Williams flagged for shoulder-to-shoulder hit

  1. If you watch the video, you will see that he did lead with his helmet. He also launched himself into the receiver; and if I understand the new rules, they don’t want DB’s launching anymore.

  2. I was watching NFL Red Zone when this hit happened and this is pathetic…the announcers sounded like they wanted to lash out but kept quiet to not but their jobs in jeopardy.

    That was a text book HARD, CLEAN, HIT to jar the ball loose from a receiver, I’m sure even Seahawks fans out there werent happy this was called because it just added to the “wussification” of the NFL due to Roger and his cronies…

  3. Newsflash!!!!!! Hear it here first!!!!!

    Informants have revealed that Goodell has the largest holdings in bubblewrap stock and soon all players will be required to wear it head to toe like the Michelin Man. Roger will reap millions in bubblewrap sales and will retire on his own private island…….

  4. The NFL, by that I mean GODell and the owners, want nothing more than 7 on 7 football. Anything that interferes with offensive production will be flagged and fined. The more points scored, the higher the ratings, the higher the TV contracts. It has nothing to do with the “good of the game”. It has to do with lining their pockets. Where else in this world, can you run a business into the ground, think Detroit and Buffalo, among others, and Increase the net worth of the franchise, sometimes four fold? Looking forward to more flags.

  5. I get the penalty, because it was a fast bang bang play and they can’t replay that…unless they wait for 15 seconds and look at the jumbotron. But then to fine em???? Wtf.

  6. @randmwa Your wrong…Williams hit nothing but shoulder. I bet 98% of the force was delivered through the shoulders. Williams face mask did have contact as the receiver came down to the ground yet there was no force there. That was easily the worst call of the game that had a few bad calls both ways.

  7. Might as well put flags on them if you can’t hit shoulder to shoulder without getting a 15 yd penalty.

    I’m fine with protecting the players, but this is over the top.

  8. “I’m sure even Seahawks fans out there werent happy this was called because it just added to the “wussification” of the NFL due to Roger and his cronies…”

    Hawks fan here and you hit that on the head.

    I can’t even decide if I’d rather have the hawks or the other team be the beneficiary of such a call. Especially on the losing end of that game it felt like pity charity from Goodell’s stupid rules.

    These athletes have played football all their lives. It’s the culmination of years of taking and delivering hits throughout highschool and college. So why do we treat the NFL like it’s some sort of retirement home for fragile elderly athletes at the twilight of their career??? This is the big time and the stage they’ve sacrificed to get too.

    LET THEM PLAY.

  9. Like it or not, the NFL is trying to do away with those “launching” hits. Yes, it changes the game. You’re simply not going to be allowed to hit a guy like that anymore–leading with the helmet, or not. Not sure I agree with it, but I understand it.

  10. “Unnecessary roughness”???

    What the hell is the league coming to? If it’s an illegal hit, call it an illegal “helmet to helmet” hit.

    Penalize a defender for hitting a receiver too hard???? Seriously?

  11. This is no different than a lineman being called for a bad hold. That happens all the time and no one complains. You don’t see posts about the bad hold call that negated a 15 yard pass and took 3 points off the board. The officials thought they saw something (shoulder to helmet), but it was bang-bang, and they didn’t get the call right because it was shoulder to shoulder. Williams won’t be fined and they are not trying to remove his hit from the game. Hopefully they’ll get better about watching for defenseless players helmets to be contacted. They are just a little jumpy on those types of plays because of the new emphasis.

    FYI: Any contact to the helmet/head on a defenseless player is what is illegal, whether it be helmet, shoulder or foreman.

  12. Refs my have blown that call. But how about that roughing the kicker call; When Aikers threw himself on the ground when NO ONE touched him?!
    The refs in that game pretty much sucked all the way around.

  13. As a fan of football I flipped when I seen this hit…what is he supposed to let him catch the ball…great hit blown call… seems like any big hit will cause a flag to be thrown…sickening it was

  14. randmwa says:
    Sep 12, 2011 6:25 PM
    If you watch the video, you will see that he did lead with his helmet. He also launched himself into the receiver; and if I understand the new rules, they don’t want DB’s launching anymore.

    ———————————————–
    You must be a seahawk fan. I was at the game and every person even the seahawk fans knew it was a clean hit. Everyone but the referee that thew the flag who was probably the closest to the hit. LAME!!!

  15. I’m a hawks fan and thag penalty really helped us but it was an absolutly B.S. call the ref should get fined for being a retard

  16. randmwa says:
    Sep 12, 2011 6:25 PM
    If you watch the video, you will see that he did lead with his helmet. He also launched himself into the receiver; and if I understand the new rules, they don’t want DB’s launching anymore.

    ———————

    Pass it when you’re done.

  17. I saw that play live yesterday and was immediately disgusted by the call. If that hit is illegal, then just get it over with and go to two hand touch. Williams’ hit was absolutely textbook and he timed it perfectly. It isn’t football if a safety is not allowed to make that play.

  18. This game was poorly officiated all the way around. Bad calls went both ways. It did not affect the outcome, but there were too many missed or bad calls. These UR crap calls are getting old. Let the guys play football like it was meant to be played.

  19. Full disclosure, I’m a Seahawks fan.

    But as a parent of a high school football player, I like the increased emphasis on the launching hits because I don’t want high school kids emulating the terrible tackling form, which leads to increased risk.

    I usually look at two things in these cases: 1) did the defender “launch” himself up high? 2) did the defender try to wrap?

    In both the hit on McCoy and the hit on Obomanu, the defender launched himself and didn’t bother with even the appearance of wrapping up. If Madieu Williams had even attempted to look like it was a tackle, I would have had no problem with the McCoy shot.

    One of the Seahawks, Chancellor, had a similar opportunity later in the game and though he still provided a good hit, refrained from launching at the head (of course, I’m not sure he could have jumped that high) and wrapped up.

    Just my 2 cents…

    BTW, I didn’t expect the Seahawks to win the game, but never thought the special teams would be to blame – it was the one functioning unit last year….

  20. Really, there was no reason for the hit, because as Goodell has made clear, all you need to do for a player to be down is to remove one of the yellow flags from the belt around his waist. I mean, it’s easy, they’re just velcroed on. Alternatively, two hands placed firmly on the opposing player will also suffice to call them “down.”

  21. The refs were awful in that game and both teams benefited from the bad calls.

    The thing that scares me is that they were so worried about protecting defenseless players that they went far beyond the call of duty. Clearly the NFL is not teaching these guys the difference between ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ well enough because other crews called great games were their was plenty of hitting. In this game if a kicker flapped, it was called. Total BS.

  22. I agree with the whole “No Helmet 2 Helmet shots” thing the commish has goin’ on, but this is just too whack….

    just whack….

    dude is an alright dude, but man does this dude suck.

  23. If a ref us going to throw the flag and issue a penalty that carries such a hefty yardage consequence then there should be a mechanism and the time should be made available to at least verify that an illegal hit in fact took place why deny a challenge to a call that could have a half a football field at stake? All of the “judgment call” and “ref’s discretion” bit of officiating piss off fans and chips away at the credibility of the game. So many laugh off fans who claim ”the fix was in” yet the NFL has rules that are easily exploited by putting what is totally verifiable in the hands on one guy.
    Oh wait, that sounds just like Roger Goodell.

  24. ninerdynasty says: Sep 12, 2011 6:44 PM

    @randmwa says:
    Sep 12, 2011 6:25 PM
    If you watch the video, you will see that he did lead with his helmet. He also launched himself into the receiver; and if I understand the new rules, they don’t want DB’s launching anymore.

    ———————————————–
    You must be a seahawk fan. I was at the game and every person even the seahawk fans knew it was a clean hit. Everyone but the referee that thew the flag who was probably the closest to the hit. LAME!!!

    ___________________________________

    Just because he is wrong doesn’t make him a Hawks fan! Huge Seahawker here and that call was pathetic. My U15 girls soccer team hits harder than that. Let ’em play or let’s start a Fantasy Refs League award points for blown calls.

  25. Football is a mess. Either play the game, take your chances, collect the massive paychecks or play two hand touch. The players assume the risk knowingly and willingly. The game is being ruined.

  26. If this type of hit is going to get flagged I bet Ronnie Lott is glad his playing days are behind him, he built his reputation by jarring the ball loose from recievers on hits just like that one!

  27. Frankly, I think the NFL is quickly becoming flag football. If there ever was a time for another league, this might be a good one. Most of us became football fans because of guys that hit and knocked people out. I didn’t start loving the NFL by watching flag football. Bring back Jack Tatum!

  28. when u get paid millions to do a job ….there r risks u take……playin football with the best in the world means takin hits from the best hitters in the world…..a risk u take in order to make alot of money….they sign the contract they accept the risk….

  29. Like others have said. If you’re gonna require your refs to make potentially BS calls like this one was, you need to make penalties reviewable so when they get it wrong, like they did in this case, they can reverse themselves.

  30. I hate to say it because it will only make the games longer; but the only way to fully solve this problem is to now review all helmet to helmet penalties. As soon as one is called, the replay booth should make a decision within 30 seconds whether the call was legitimate or not, and we will no longer have to worry about unnecessary penalties like Madieu Williams’

  31. @seahawkharden – your 2 cents are worthless on the pro’s … dont bring your hs crap here. If Lott had gotten fined for every hit he laid out, he wouldve gone broke after a couple of seasons. They are safety’s, they are suppose to put hits like that to pop out the ball, u should know this, you can’t pop the ball out if you wrap up.

    @Buzzkillbill- you say that just because randmwa was defending the call doesnt mean he is a hawks fan? lets see.. look at his username dummy.. he has WA at the end.. isnt that stand for your state? moron.

  32. Hits should not be banned because “impressionable student players might try to emulate NFL heroes” anymore than racy literature should be banned because impressionable children may read it. It’s coaches job to teach them the way he expats them to play.

  33. peed1: “The players assume the risk knowingly and willingly.”

    Now that they current set of players are grown adult men, yes, that’s true… for them. It’s the next generation of players – or to be more precise, their parents, like seahawkharden above – that we and the league have to worry about, because they can pull their kids out of the sport at any time, or refuse to let them start in the first place, if they aren’t confident that playing organized football won’t lead to serious health problems later in their kids’ lives.

    Like it or not, it’s those parents who really hold the future of football in their hands. Not the current NFL players or owners, and sure as hell not Roger Goodell. So, I would venture that that’s who these new rules are really aimed at.

  34. seahawkharden says: Sep 12, 2011 6:50 PM

    Full disclosure, I’m a Seahawks fan.

    But as a parent of a high school football player, I like the increased emphasis on the launching hits because I don’t want high school kids emulating the terrible tackling form, which leads to increased risk.

    I usually look at two things in these cases: 1) did the defender “launch” himself up high? 2) did the defender try to wrap?

    In both the hit on McCoy and the hit on Obomanu, the defender launched himself and didn’t bother with even the appearance of wrapping up. If Madieu Williams had even attempted to look like it was a tackle, I would have had no problem with the McCoy shot.
    ___________________________________
    My disclosure: I’m a Niners fan. I think you don’t know jack about football. The CLEAN, EXCELLENT play by Madieu Williams wasn’t a tackle attempt, it was an attempt to dislodge the ball and cause an incompletion, which is exactly what he did.

    There was another hit later in the game that WAS a helmet to helmet hit (by a Niners player on a Hawks player) that wasn’t flagged, when it should’ve been. Williams’ hit, on Obomanu, however, was a good, clean hit that dislodged the ball.

  35. @seahawkharden

    I understand what you’re saying, but you are missing the point. The hit was never meant as a tackle so you can’t look for a form tackle here. The entire intent was to knock the ball loose before he could secure it.

    This is football. Big hits are a part of the game. There are even helmet to helmet hits on every down. If a RB puts his head down and a LB hits him head of and helmet to helmet, thats a part of the game.

    In this case, the defenders helmet was never even touched. This was a clean hit and completely within the scope of the rules.

    Bottom line, bad call by the ref.

  36. Nicely said! Maybe the NFL should replace all players with chicks from the Lingerie League if they want to see nothing but girly tackling!

  37. The game was full of wuss calls. Both roughing the kicker calls were bull. The one against the Niners dudes ass grazed the plant foot as he was redirected into the ground by the kicking team. And against the Seahawks it was more of the same. The Madieu hit was 100% a clean hit. I screamed WTF IS THIS? BASEBALL? after the penalty, and I stand by it.

  38. wrong Johnny Shore get rid of the stupid rule. They are paid enough to come accross these risks. Military men and women get nothing close on paycheques.

  39. timpiker says:
    Bring back Jack Tatum!
    ———————————————————
    Tell that to the family of Daryl Stingly, a$$hole.

  40. Keep it up NFL, you’re about to free up my Sunday afternoons. I’m sure my wife will be happy. NFL going the way of NASCRAP, will end up chasing away fans.

  41. The NFL needs full time officials. It would greatly reduce the number of bad calls. That’s all this is right? If that stands as a good call then just fold up the league right now.

  42. The fact that he HIT the receiver, is the part that is so astounding… where the hell was this in three seasons in Minnesota?

  43. Yea it was a pathetic call. He clearly hit him with his shoulder in his shoulder. Then said he was flagged for shoulder to helmet hit. I was in my seat and can clearly see he didn’t. It cost him a great play and set up Seattle for a field goal. Soon there going to ask the DB’s to just yell at the receiver while he’s in the air and just see if he catches it. There takings this way too far.

  44. ruggerlad…..i agree with you, but it won’t happen. the nfl is all about safety now and they aren’t going to get rid of the rule so the only option is to improve the applying of the penalty.

  45. randmama is nuts. I looked at the play over and over and Williams made an effort to slide his helmet to the back side and hit with his shoulder well under the neck line and no where near the head. As for “launching” , that is ridiculous. A defensive player can deliver a hit with much more force if he drives through the opponent with his feet on the ground. Check your High School Physics books. Overall, terrible calls on both sides. Lousy camera work. Lousy resources from FOX as this was not a premier game. These calls should be reviewable!!

  46. The NFL has turned into a padded version of All Star Wrestling / Arena Football for yuppies. It’s become a complete joke…just like the commissioner. I have been a huge football fan since I was 8 years old (43 now) & after the 1st week of football…I haven’t been able to watch more than 2 quarters because I can’t bear to watch this much UN-improved farce they call the NFL.

  47. The 49ers did take the brunt of the bad/missed calls during this game. For one that was a bad call and gave the Seahawks some inspiration a la getting points on the board. Also the guy did touch our kicker though not very hard. I personally don’t know how that one should have been called but either way it didn’t effect the score. There was also some pi that was missed on Braylon Edwards in the endzone. This could have been another seven points for the niners and a touchdown pass for A.S. which gives him confidence and every bit is important for him and his coaches. I’m sure there’s more. This game could have been a shutout for us or went to the Hawks had it been called correctly. The problem is we will never know now. It’s a big deal.

  48. mjdstwittervoice says: Sep 12, 2011 8:27 PM
    Nicely said! Maybe the NFL should replace all players with chicks from the Lingerie League if they want to see nothing but girly tackling!
    ——————————–
    I know I called for replay reviews earlier, but I could get behind this solution as well, especially if they started with the Bengals. They could make even that team worth watching. 😉

  49. Begs the question. Since there are a limited number of replays given to each time, why cant penalties be reviewed. Upon review this would have been clearly overturned end of story.

  50. Really bad call. Referee must have been a SeaChicken fan.If that was a foul, they should have flags on their belts.Kickoffs are on their way to being over, tackling will be too.Time to follow the American TaeKwonDo association and be about teaching kids how to dance, Ninja Turtle style.

  51. razorsedgeperformance says: Sep 13, 2011 8:32 AM

    Did anyone else notice the head to head hit later in the game by the other SF safety? I believe obamanu was down for a little while. No flag on the play, absolutely absurd.
    ————————————————–
    I actually did see that, but i think the refs knew they messed up before and it was a way to call it even. The thing about that one is that it wouldnt have had an impact in the scoreboard, the first one did, it gave the seahawks 3 points and made it a 1 score game.

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