James Harrison apparently hasn’t gotten the message yet


With Steelers linebacker James Harrison suspended for one game after his latest illegal hit, the question becomes whether the latest step in the system of progressive discipline will prompt Harrison to change his behavior.

Harrison’s public statements suggest that he won’t.  Most recently, he posted on Twitter the following reaction to his suspension:  “17 games, 1000+ snaps, 100+ tackles, 12+sacks and 2 forces fumbles since my last incident and I get a suspension for a football play!

There are two problems with his comments.  First, he doesn’t realize that the league looks at three seasons when determining whether a player’s past actions merit enhanced punishment.  Second, while it definitely was a “football play,” the hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy was an “illegal football play.”

Regardless of whether Harrison likes it (and he clearly doesn’t), the rule is that a quarterback who throws on the run can’t be hit in the head.  Period.  The notion that McCoy was running with the ball just before throwing it doesn’t matter.  He threw on the run, and thus he shouldn’t have been struck in the head.

Again, if Harrison genuinely believes that a quarterback becomes fair game for a helmet-to-face hit once he’s running with the ball out of the pocket, Harrison should take it up with his coaches, who apparently haven’t taught him the rules.  And his coaches (along with all other coaches) should be teaching their players that, when the quarterback is behind the line of scrimmage, players should assume he could throw it at the last minute, so they should aim lower than the quarterback’s head, and they shouldn’t strike him with your helmet.

If Harrison doesn’t change his ways, the next illegal hit could result in an even stiffer suspension.  Though the manual regarding discipline for on-field infractions lists only the minimum fines for a first and second offense, the league ultimately wants to get players to comply with the rules.  If a one-game suspension doesn’t work, then a longer suspension will be the answer.

115 responses to “James Harrison apparently hasn’t gotten the message yet

  1. I believe that Harrison makes a great point and that it’s Goodell (and his lackeys Cottrell and Anderson) that don’t get it.

  2. What I don’t understand is why running backs are allowed to use their helmets as weapons. You would think this would also be removed from the game. Linemen also bang helmets nearly every play as well. I understand why harrisons hits are illegal but so should these hits. A little consistency please

  3. “Again, if Harrison genuinely believes that a quarterback becomes fair game for a helmet-to-face hit once he’s running with the ball out of the pocket, Harrison should take it up with his coaches, who apparently haven’t taught him the rules.”

    I seem to recall and article on a certain website that claimed this particular hit may fall into a “gray area” within the rules. That’s a pretty high and mighty comment given that fact.

  4. While I respect his desire to play and keep the game as is, you have to know when to relax. How many fines/suspensions is it going to take for this guy to realize this isn’t the past. There are new rules and more protective measures are being taken to prevent injuries. Oh and not to mention calling the commisioner names and posing with guns.

    This guy needs to go hang out with Suh, they are made for each other.

  5. Football and/or hockey – you nail your opponent in the noggin you’re gonna pay big time now. What part of that memo don’t these guys get? Maybe they’re just not intelligent enough to get it!

  6. This guy has to be one of the stupidest players in league history. This goes all the way back to him not wanting the visit the white house. I know he thinks he’s a gangster and all that, but we simply know too much in this day and age about what happens to a person’s brain when they take repeated shots to the head to allow a goon like him to keep playing with such disregard for his fellow player’s safety. Stay classy, Pittsburgh. Stay classy.

  7. Harrison is right here. It is pretty obvious that he did adjust his play after the league punished him last year. To suspend a player for just one play after that is ridiculous. Do you think people like Ronnie Lott and John Lynch could have even played in this league if they got suspended for one helmet to helmet play in a game? Ridiculous.

    This is nowhere near the level of Dante Wesley, who egregiously hit a defenseless player. Colt McCoy in this situation was not a defenseless player.

  8. Dirty player. Meathead. Thats all I’ll ever remember James “Helmet to helmet” Harrison for.

    Hey, James
    Clean, great players like Brian Urlacher, Patrick Willis etc,. would have dropped their pad level and speared Colt McCoy right through the chest… you know, like a non dirty plater does. You know, how everyone is tought in high school??? A CLEAN, devastating hit… puts you on the highlight reels without giving someone brain damage… like appparently your parents did years ago.

  9. henrykissingerisgod says:
    Dec 18, 2011 10:05 AM
    What I don’t understand is why running backs are allowed to use their helmets as weapons
    i ask the same thing/dont make sense.and mike f is a steeler hater

  10. Someone needs to say it: Fl0ri0, you’re a hack journalist & ur song is just plain tired. You suck at this job, seriously.

  11. The League gave him their highest defensive honor.

    And now they tell him he doesn’t know what the eff he is doing.


  12. I will help with your misunderstanding. A defender getting run over by a running back if not a defenseless player. Just like if a LB meets the HB in the hole, and there is helmet to helmet contact, it is not a penalty, because……..HE IS NOT A DEFENSELESS PLAYER

    If you think the defenseless player rule is a good one or not is a matter of opinion. I think they overprotect players these days, and the whole defenseless player thing is ridiculous (it should be the players responsibility to keep themselves out of a defenseless position), but the rule is far from confusing.

    Maybe you should try to read the rules before being confused by them

  13. As a fan I get the message. Football will never be the same. I believe you should have concern to protect the players but protect the game as well.

  14. @henrykissingerisgod

    The issue isn’t so much the hit to the head itself, it’s that the player being hit is not looking at the defender and therefore has no time to brace himself for a hit to the head. It is for this reason that players that are deemed as runners can be hit in the helmet, but players in the act of passing or catching the ball cannot.

  15. “at I don’t understand is why running backs are allowed to use their helmets as weapons. You would think this would also be removed from the game. Linemen also bang helmets nearly every play as well. I understand why harrisons hits are illegal but so should these hits. A little consistency please”

    …the thing morons like James Harrison and dumb fans dont get get is that 2 players in motion collide and transfer energy and impact differently than someone runing 15-20 yards and teeing off on a semi-stationary target (a QB in a throwing motion). Meathead players and semi educated fans dont understand physics.

  16. we get it dude you hate the steelers! if it was a brown who hit ben, and the steelers let him play, then these stories would be about that. that said, the suspension is ridiculous, considered nagta has been fined as many if not more times for hits to the qb than harrison has, and also that bum seymour gets ejected from 3 games for PUNCHING people. It is obvious Harrison is treated differently when it comes to league dicipline. I would not be upset about this suspension if there was some sort of consistency when it came to these types of things.

  17. Face it, because of that play the rules will be changed for a QB out of the pocket with the ball tucked! Like many LBs have said on Sirius NFL Radio, Once you see the QB with the ball tucked and running toward the line a switch gets flicked.

  18. We will end QB’s careers. We always have & we always will! If you don’t like tough defense go watch a patriots game or packers game!

  19. The next time give him two choices, retire or play the rest of your career with a sofa pillow tied to your helmet.

  20. Harrison is either stubborn or dumb. A tremendous talent, but he’s hurting his own team. He could have just as easily made that same play without driving his helmet into McCoy’s facemask. Simply put, he was trying to hurt a player. That’s not part of the game.

  21. linemen are already close and they dont launch. and they hit hard but not with the same momentum harrison put on mccoy.

    and there is little size diff between linemen.

    harrison will keep doing what he does and end up a broke badass. and based on his responses, he has already had brain damage set in. in 10-15 years he will be begging for help.

    and i will laugh.

  22. Its because hes a dummy..if he cant adapt, then he is not coachable meaning hes a poor football player. He should sit out as long as McCoy is out..as should all helmet hits. Youre out until the player you ht is back to full health.

  23. I’m looking forward to it. He will do this again as soon as he can, to prove he does not have to play by the rules. I can’t wait, suspension will be a big one next time. And, I can count on him to do it.

  24. The NFL should change the rule to say you can never hit the QB above the shoulders. Then there would be no guesswork. It’s really a simple thing to fix

  25. Can we call it like it is with this guy?? He wasn’t taught this.. he was taught to wrap and drive.
    He was cut by two teams, one of whom was the Ravens (GM Ozzie Newsome RARELY misses[not including Kyle Boller, can we blame Billick for that?]). Google will tell you he was cut because he didn’t know the defense. Since you cant go head hunting in practice (or your teammates will kill you), we’re talking about a linebacker who cant tackle, can’t learn a defense. I.e. a “slappy”.

    Fast forward to today: He still doesn’t put his arms into any tackle, he simply launches headfirst at a guy. Brian Urlacher doesnt leave his feet when tackling, and he doesnt stop moving his feet. Harrison has made a career out of being a cheap shot artist with limited skill. (If he had talent, he wouldn’t have been cut twice by two franchises who know what they are doing).

    He is the equivalent of a hockey enforcer only without the honor. Stop defending him. He has no talent, just a strong body and no fear.

  26. I’m not defending Harrison, he deserves to fined. I think a lot of people posting how fast these athletes are moving and it is difficult to control your natural reaction in fractions of a second.

  27. Speed limits are modified so it is safe to drive through those areas and as the NFL has issued rule modification to protect players. If a driver was to disregard the speed limit he will be ticketed whether he likes it or not and Harrison has to obey the rules from the NFL as well.

  28. For all the non Steelers haters…Harrison is correct in his thinking. He tried to change and these stats showed this. Hits happen. Good or bad, God-Del has opened up a big can of worms by suspending players for plays on the field. Football is becoming basketball on grass.

  29. All I can do is shake my head at some of you people. Do you want a league where Rodgers, Brady, Newton, Brees and so on cannot play because some out of contol meathead likes to hit in the head? Also, some people think it’s a pansy game now??? Wake up kids and stop being ignorant. Watch the games today and you will see plenty of hard hits, most of which you would not be able to handle. The bottom line is I would rather watch Rodgers and other QBs play than Harrison. The people in charge know this and that’s why they protect QBs.

  30. 3 hours before kickoff and this is your latest post? If i say the Steelers are rapist, Will my comment be posted then. Can’t wait till you are sued for slander.

  31. I believe it’s less about behavior and more about the game becoming something it was never meant to be. Pretty soon, figure skating will be more rough than football.

  32. uh o.k. and jerry sandusky should be let go because some of these things happened years ago. just learn the rules and play by them!!!

  33. You girls are sooooooooo right, hey BTW would you mind changing your golf swing a little and also change your sons or daughters throwing and hitting motions while your at it. It’s easy…right.

    What you people don’t think about…ever, is that these guys have been doing this their whole lives its pretty hard to change now, especially when you’ve been awarded millions for your efforts.

    Look if your wife doesn’t understand the game of football because her favorite QB isn’t playing and now “they just run up the middle and that’s so stupid.” Explain to her she just might not be a football fan. If you don’t understand then your the problem. This sport is dangerous to the CNS for every player. I just don’t remember reading about all the retired QB’s in the league with dementia, I have read about LB’s and OL and other positions though.

    If QB’s can’t be hit, they should work on their pitching.

  34. “someone needs to leg whip him”

    “with a sofa pillow tied to your helmet.”

    “I hope he retires.”

    I see there’s a lot of Browns fans here today.

    Once Colt left the pocket, he better be ready for a hit from anywhere on the field while he’s holding the ball.

  35. “tinbender2000 says:
    Dec 18, 2011 10:22 AM
    The next time give him two choices, retire or play the rest of your career with a sofa pillow tied to your helmet.”

    Actually, I think you’ve just found the perfect solution for repeat offenders. Make them wear large, padded outer shells on their helmets, for the rest of their careers.

    These should be designed to not only prevent them from injurying other players but also to make the offender look completely rediculous. Imagine something like Mark Kelso wore, except scaled up to look extra goofy.

    Offenders should also be compelled to wear a big, frilly, pink tutu to indicate that this is a player who refuses to tackle properly and prefers to launch himself the heads of other players because it poses far less risk of injury to themselves.

    Over time, good behaviour would allow these players to move back to a smaller outer shell and get rid of the tutu.

    A similar process should be applied to blockers who put defenders’ knees at risk with chop blocks.

  36. We’re always reminded that the NFL is a business. Simple resolution this problem – owners should be able to sue when their players are injured by illegal play. In this case, the Browns owner should be able to sue Harrison for any time missed by McCoy as a result of the play. Quit coddling these people – hold them accountable. A one or two game suspension might have some financial impact but a law suit does much more. If suing is feasible, he gets one more warning and if he blows it, permanent removal from the league. If he injures my new first round draft pick QB who I am paying millions to play then I should be able to sue the jerk who took him out of the game.

  37. i love the morons who say the league is getting soft. i’m tired of hearing how much tougher the game was in the past. it may have been tougher, but the guys that played in the eras of the past are a complete mess right now. i bet they wish that the league would have been looking out for them they way they do for players now.

  38. steelersownyou says: Dec 18, 2011 10:21 AM

    We will end QB’s careers. We always have & we always will! If you don’t like tough defense go watch a patriots game or packers game!


    really? the packer defense seemed to shut you down in the super bowl.

  39. Did you really interpret Harrison’s comment as him not understanding the fact that the league was taking into consideration previous offenses when ascribing his punishment? His problem is with them doing that when he has obviously tried much harder to play within the rules this season.

  40. jc1958cool says:
    Dec 18, 2011 9:57 AM
    dumb as a box of rocks! just doesn’t care, someone needs to leg whip him on evey play

    I agree that he just doesn’t get it….however you are advocating the same kind of insanity.

  41. The one thing that he will understand is being suspended for 1 game by his salary = about 75K.
    Next time, it will be 4 games. That would equal about 300K. Think maybe then that will draw his attention to stay within the new rules ?
    After that, 16 games. How much could that be ?
    Some hate change and will never get it.

  42. I think people are missing the point here. While it is true that helmet to helmet contact is legal when it applies to a runner, I am pretty sure it is still unnecessary roughness to purposely launch the crown of you helmet into the face mask of another player.

    If have seen plenty of plays get flagged when defenders have speared runners and recievers downfield.

    So even though the technical reason for the flag was that he went helmet to helmet on a QB throwing the ball, an argument can certainly be made that the violent way he thrust his helmet into McCoy’s grill would be illegal anywhere on the field.

    And of course, the overriding point remains. If he had made this tackle the way every football player is taught from Pee Wee on up- shoulders square to the midsection, arms out, head to the side, it would have been completely legal.

  43. Like another famous Steeler, Harrison is an idiot – but I bet he would at least spell “cat” if you spotted him the “k” and the “t”.

    And who is ghost-writing his Twits for him? I can’t believe this roid head can even use most electronic devices?

  44. It is scary that there are so many people that defend this guys head,neck & spine hunting. People, youtube the the video of Rutgers player Eric LeGrand trying to learn how to walk again. Although Eric’s injury was completely accidental, why try to injure another player this way purposely by hitting with the crown of the helmet to an opponents chin?

  45. Dumb. So if I know I speed I shouldn’t get pulled over and fined. Why does this moron think it’s okay to do this. Especially when he could have just pushed him over. McCoy is Hal his size. Why the head idiot. Thats like being a six grade bully to a first grader. Yes football is a tough sport but players shouldn’t have brain damage at the end because losers can’t think. Does tough equal dumb now days.

  46. Consistency with these rules would work both ways. If Mccoy thought that a hit like that was legal, he wouldn’t have tried to make that play. The difference is that running backs know that all hits are fair game on them. The RB can also look at the guys right in front of them(not downfield like a QB) and brace for a collision. The QB is playing a different game than the LB. One in which he thinks he is protected by the rules. Which is it NFL?

  47. It’s funny he attempts to say he’s changed the way he plays when he flat out has said he doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong, therefore he’s not going to change? It’s obvious his intent was to hurt McCoy on this hit. He had him lined up for at least 4 yards and was faced with a decision. Hit him high or hit him low. He knows the consequence of both hits but chose the more damaging hit. Either would have done the job.

    To Harrison this was a “football play.” To anyone with a brain this was a violent hit delivered with intent to harm. Yes, these types of hits were not only accepted, but encouraged, in the past. In current times there is no tolerance for it.

    Bottom line is Harrison is employed by the Steelers who are part of a greater organization, the NFL. Just like any workplace there are rules and regulations set in place by governing bodies that need to be followed. This suspension is as much about his inability to adhere to those guidelines as it is the hit itself.

    It’s highly unlikely the NFL will budge on this stance so Harrison must either make this change he claims he has made, or won’t make, depending on when you talk to him. If not he better get used to spending time away from the facility.

  48. Repeat offender?

    He was fined last season for hitting Brees in the back with his facemask and for the side of his helmet hitting Fitzpatrick as he put his shoulder into his chest. He was also the only one of three Steelers to be fined as all three of them tackled Vince Young and their momentum slammed him into the ground.

    This McCoy hit is worthy of a fine– but most of the fines he got last year were laughable– and now he is being suspended for them? And he will have to go three years without a personal foul to avoid another suspension??? That is an impossible task to ask of ANY NFL PLAYER.

  49. Foolio is such an a-hole. But I say to Harrison and others, go low and take out a few ACLs….then let’s see how they change the rules….AGAIN. Lambert had it right….let em wear skirts.

  50. Goodell hasn’t gotten the message. He’s cherry picking violent incidents to punish, which indicates that he really doesn’t give a crap about the problem.

  51. Goodells next move will be that the teams play a video game instead of a real game Can’t make any safer then that

  52. If he thinks that his hit that got him suspended was OK then let him play the next game with out a helmet and see how fast he changers how he hits QB, I think he would have an epiphany, this guy acts like he is short of a full sack of light bulbs, time his coach kick his ass because he is hurting his team. Bill

  53. Harrison!! The last true defender of the National Football League!! I am proud to say the Steelers were the best in the Football era. Other teams can have the National Fantasy League era. You have teams with #31-#32 ranked defense undefeated and 10-3 competing for a championship?? You call this football?? That never happens in football. When defenses dont win championships, then the rules have change. Steelers must get more finesse with smaller and softer players to compete going forward. They need to start this makeover going in to the new Fantasy Football era

  54. It’s truly not James “H2H” Harrison’s fault. Being a neanderthal, he has severe issues and major drawbacks. He certainly can’t be coached. They just point him on the right side of the ball and the lather begins to form while the hair on his back stands upright. After the contest, it’s back to his cave, awaiting his reward of raw meat and berries. Sub-humans are a strange breed, which “H2H” is proving each and every Sunday.

  55. @Bignugs: just know this, if McCoy keeps the ball tucked like he had it for the 5 steps before the hit, it is a legal tackle. He pulled the ball up 1 step before the hit and threw it. At that point, it becomes illegal. It is a tuck rule again, again favoring the QB. I don’t like the hit to the head that McCoy got, but I also realize that he gave every impression until the very last second that he was a runner, and that hit is perfectly legal on a runner.

  56. sdjay76 says:Dec 18, 2011 11:01 AM

    i love the morons who say the league is getting soft. i’m tired of hearing how much tougher the game was in the past. it may have been tougher, but the guys that played in the eras of the past are a complete mess right now. i bet they wish that the league would have been looking out for them they way they do for players now.
    I guess you don’t watch ESPN or the NFL Network ? There alot of old time player on those networks and they even say that the game is turning into flag football . Now footballs a mans game so go back over to golf talk where you belong

  57. now here is what i’m trying to figure out… i thought leading with the crown of your helmet in a launching manner and directly hitting the helmet of another player was an illegal hit reguardless of the player inwhich you make contact with…. a la Duante Robinson and Brandon Meriweather hits of a year ago…. so i am still trying to figure out this whole But the QB was out of the pocket part of this… didn’t we learn in the NFL last year that this would have been an illegal hit if it had been made on Greg Little running in open space, or even Hillis running in open space after getting through the trenches???? cause that was how i understood it. I didn’t realize that there was a “Grey Area” when it came to player safety and what kinds of hits were allowed and not allowed when it came to leading with the crown of the helmet. I kinda think there isn’t a “Grey Area” in the eyes of those that are passing out the fines, only amongst the media and players

  58. well its certainly a sad time for football as we have known it thru the years. pretty soon it will just be flag football, then everyone will be safe!
    all the alltime greats were known for their ferocious hitting and tackles. to get suspended for a football hit is ludicrous? i dont know why some player dont file a lawsuit on the nfl for these fines?? and who is Goodell to be the almighty ruler?? this guy is ruining the sport.
    have been a football fan all my life, but now losing interest with the czar Goodell in charge!

  59. I keep hearing people use the term football play and while I know what they mean by it, it just doesn’t make sense to me of course it’s a football play it happened during an NFL game it certainly wasn’t a soccer play or a tennis play

  60. The new rules in and of themselves are inherently flawed. They don’t take INCIDENTAL h2h contact into account, which will happen on big hits. And I love how when an offensive skill position player gets blasted, all this illegal hit garbage comes up. But when linemen butt heads or RB’s use their helmets as battering rams, or when a defensive player gets kneed in the head by a ballcarrier running with his legs up, nobody says a thing. The rules are idiotic and are slowly handcuffing defenses more and more. Anybody who actually saw the play could see there was no intent by Harrison to use his helmet to directly contact McCoy’s

  61. While i’m on Harrison’s side in terms of his hits not being dirty, someone needs to keep him from opening his mouth off-the-field..Dude is clearly not the brightest bulb in the closet when it comes to statements he makes

  62. For you Harrison haters, watch more games before making ludicrous opinions. The hit was not illegal, the QB was running the ball, was across the line of scrimmage, saw Harrison right in front of him and cringed,, litterally. If he would not have, Harrison’s helmet would not have hit the QBs helmet. Besides the fact Harrison let up, if he hit him hard, he wouldn’t have gotten up. I have watched several games where worse hits were given out and nothing called, no fines, no suspension. Goodell is using Harrison as an example. I miss the days when I was a young boy, there were no domes, no multi-million dollar players and they played football. Bloody uniforms, and crutches were common place on a sideline…

  63. steelersownyou says: Dec 18, 2011 10:21 AM

    We will end QB’s careers. We always have & we always will! If you don’t like tough defense go watch a patriots game or packers game!


    Just like the tough defense that lost last years Super Bowl, right? Some of you Steelers fans are the biggest clowns on the planet.

  64. This jerk’s attitude is proof positive that he does not respect the game and that he has put himself and his gutter play above the rules of the NFL. He should be warned by the NFL that if he does it again, he’ll draw a one-year suspension. One time after that and he’s out of the league forever. That’s the only thing dudes like this understand.

  65. I love how some of you complain that the hit was bad because McCoy is half his size! Last I checked, football is a game played by mostly gigantic men, so, if you don’t want to be hit by a massive human , you should try another Profession!
    I don’t want to see anyone injured permanently, intentional or otherwise, but football is a contact sport, and sometimes you get hurt!

  66. What bothers me the most is that the big point seems to be getting missed. In his own defense he said he thought it was ok to hit another player in the face with the crown of his helmet. WHEN IS SPEARING EVER OK….ANY ONE “TACKLING” like this should be immediately ejected. This concussion stuff is worse right now because chuckleheads like him are trying to kill people. Watch the old school classic stuff. They hit but didn’t go to the head like a guided missile.

  67. I agree with the people that say the guy needs to know the rules! Whether he or anyone else disagrees with the rules, that is an opinion that you are more than entitled to have…..but the bottom line is, it is a rule, and you need to follow it, or face tougher penalties! It is odd that the Steelers are the main (possibly only) team in the league that vehemently fights and argues and disagrees with this rule and thinks that Goodell has some sort of vendetta against them? Not sure why? The ONLY point or argument I have is, why does the league continue to produce NFL’s biggest hits videos and stuff? Seems sort of contradictory, or something? Just sayin!

  68. All these posts on here don’t get it.

    It has nothing to do with “helmet to helmet hit” that makes it legal or illegal. Helmet to helmet is illegal on a defenseless player in the NFL.

    The “grey area” comes from the following…

    When a QB is out of the pocket and trying to advance the ball as a runner, he is afforded none of the protections that a QB in the pocket has. Among these protections are that it is illegal to hit them in the head/neck area with any part of the tackler’s body. When a QB is OUT of the pocket and advancing the football as a runner, that protection goes away (unless the QB gives himself up and slides or…as we’ve seen here…even if he *eventually* throws the ball). if a QB runs, but eventually throws the ball, the 1 step rule is gone but the protection to the head/neck area remains.

    Now, the bigger issue that I (and Harrison) has is the fact that the NFL has stated that each individual penalty/fine stands alone, yet they look at three years of previous history? Ok, so if we accept that at face value, why wasn’t Kam Chancellor suspended for 3 helmet to helmet hits on defenseless WRs in three consecutive games?

    Oh, that’s right…”Kam who”?


    Last year Harrison was fined for $75k for a hit on Massoquai when Harrison went LOW, and because the receiver ducked into his path, Harrison was at fault…

    ….yet hours later the NFL store was selling that same picture on it’s web page….

    …just like it was selling a picture of a concussed Colt McCoy…

    The NFL knows exactly what it’s doing with these haphazzard and ham-fisted penalties and fines, they make examples of who they want to because they know it’s the people at the top of the food chain who are doing it and no one can make them stop.

    You have refs missing blatant and wide open facemask calls that cost a team a game, blow coin tosses, and call phantom ‘forearm to the helmet’ penalties when any and all replays clearly show the defender’s arm nowhere NEAR a QBs head….yet the players get fined.

    The rules, and those who enforce them, are no longer about making the game fair or safe…it’s about marketing for the almighty dollar.

  69. There really are some stupid posts on here….needless to say the article itself totally misses the point. It is obvious that Harrison HAS changed the way he plays the game. This is his first incident of 2011 – clearly he is not playing the same way he played last season. The league has chosen Harrison to make a point. Don’t bad-mouth the commish, because at the first opportunity to nail you, they will. This infraction in and of itself in no way warranted a suspension. The fact that this was Harrison’s first such hit SHOULD have been taken into account. The league needs to be transparent in the application of its rules. What is the number of hits/fines/unsportsmanlike plays that lead to a suspension?

    Probably the dumbest comment on here is “spear him in the chest”. Spearing in any shape or form is illegal.

  70. Taking the “football” part of out of it…here is the meat of the matter. Every job has work place polices that every employee must follow. You or I just can’t decide to blatantly choose to ignore policy or challenge management who creates those policies. If we do, it’s considered gross insubordination, and we would be instantly terminated. Lots of workplace policies may not make a lot of sense, but they must be adhered to as a condition of employment. This is the same situation here. The NFL has created these rules/policies to protect the players. Are they popular? Are they killing “old school” football? Maybe. However, regardless of opinion, these players are expected to be professional and follow what is expected of them. Fact of the matter is, Harrison is fighting the NFL tooth and nail. He doesn’t WANT to change his playing style, and he obviously doesn’t care about what his actions are doing to not only himself, but to his team as well. Harrison needs to grow up, be an adult, accept the new rules, and adapt and learn to play within the rules…period. Otherwise, he and others will face more and more severe consequences. The Steelers have a chance to make the Super Bowl. He is a talented player. He needs to decide what’s more important to him….fighting the rules and the NFL or fighting for another NFL championship.

  71. This was a bang bang play, there was no malice intent by Harrison to hurt McCoy. The guy has tried to play within the rules.

    The league could care less about concussions. If they did the linemen and running backs would have to change their game, not just James Harrison.

    But its about points and explosive offenses that the league places its interest. Not concussions or player safety.

  72. I agree with u! Football is physical hard hitting man sport! (Yall r a bunch of crybabies!!!!) What about hockey? They hit, fight until someone tooth comes out and no one breaks up the fight.No fines, just go sit in the penalty box for awhile!!!! Go figure!!!!!

  73. Gee, isn’t it just awesome how someone with a brain the size of a walnut- and an attitude to match- can and will make more money in a year than many of us will make in 20 years? The universe is balanced! ha ha…

  74. Hey, ass hat curtainclosed, NFL moves on with or without Harrison. He doesn’t get it? Fine, life goes on without him, he’s no better than anyone else. He doesn’t get it? Team will move on, the league moves on, games go on, period. League is trying to make a statement, he thinks he bigger than the league? Get over yourself Harrison, you’re just another player, no more, no less.

  75. I can’t wait until he illegally hits the wrong guy and gets sued. Just wait, it will happen. What the idiot doesnt understand (IQ cant be much over 45) is that he has opened the door for it by being so outspoken with his refusal to obey the rules. Personally though, I hope next time he spears a RB, Harrison breaks his own neck so we can all laugh at him while he’s laying on the field. There’s nothing more PUNK than playing in an illegal manor with the intent to hurt others. This isn’t war, it’s a freaking game; and James you sure as hell aren’t a soldier..just a worthless excuse for a human being.

  76. So a few days ago a certain professional football tabloid said that Harrisons hit fell into a gray area of the RULEBOOK because a QB turns into a runner when he tucks the ball and runs, and according to current rules, there is no penalty for helmet to helmet hits on a runner.

    Today this same professional football tabloid claims it’s a black and white hit, and there is no gray area?

    Hmmm talk out both sides of your mouth much? I dont mind someone taking a stand on an issue and refusing to see both sides of the issue, but ocne you’ve made your point based on certian facts, dont then change the facts to suit your argument when its been proven yoru facts were wrong.

    Now we know that the NFL goes back 3 years to determine punishment. However 2 years ago helmet to helmet hits werent fineable, (unless they were obvious spearing penalties). So Harrison is being punished for incidents that at the time 2 years ago werent punishable. That would be like fining someone for texting on their phone 2 years ago when the law wasnt passed until this year.

    So now that the NFL has set this precedent of going back 3 years, and they have also determined exactly how many penalties equal a suspension, that means any current player who equals the same exact amount of penalties that Harrison has, should also be suspended. Correct? Other teams might want to count up which players have penalties over the past 3 years.

    As for James understanding of the rule, he understands it, and i believe what he is saying is that for over 17 games he changed his style of play, but now after 1 penalty hes being suspended. It would be different if he had 3-4 penalties since then for this.

  77. OK, let’s look at it. Who knew how many years back the NFL looked? Until they suspended Harrison I never heard this 3 year policy ever mentioned. When was it put into place? Is it a written policy? Who is keeping track of who has how many fines/infractions and in what time period? Is any of this information systematized and available to the media and public?

    The FACT of the matter is that the current NFL policy toward fines and discipline has all the appearance of:
    a) no one is in charge
    b) no formal pre-determined system that can be looked to for guidance
    c) no one is reviewing every play of every game to find illegal hits (which ARE COMMON) that are not brought to the NFL’s attention via media scrutiny.
    d) no consistency in what is fineable, the amount of the fines and discipline. Repeat offenders are getting fined less for similar hits than first time offenders.
    e) with the millions of dollars involved in these fines it is shocking that the whole system appears to be run like an informal three-ring circus.

  78. so some of you are saying lineman hitting each other helmet to helmet isnt that bad because of the close proximity? Hmmm arent you the same people also pointing out Mike Webster as the classic concussed lineman? He was a center wasnt he?

    Some people say James is a liar because on the one hand he claims hes not doing anything illegal and yet he also says hes changed the way he plays. so why is he changing if hes not doing anything wrong? Please tell me you are not that stupid, as to be able to figure this out? He was defender of the year, the way he played football 3 years ago was fine, hell the way he played football up until the cleveland game last year was fined. Then Massaquoi ducked low and got knocked out, cribbs took a H2H hit and was concussed and the league decides to change the rules. So OBVIOUSLY he has to change the way he was playing because the NFL changed the rules. Get a clue people.

    As for the idiots on here saying that its ok for a running back to hit a defender, because the defender is not defenseless, or the defender is looking when hes hit, what games are you watching? I’ve seen hundreds of hits where a defender is standing flat footed waiting for the runner, or not looking when a running back runs him over. So for those of you saying its ok because the defender is moving or expects the helmet to helmet contact you must be watching a different football game, because RB’s are steamrolling flat footed defenders helmet to helmet every single game. If defenders cant ram into offensive players, then offensive players shouldnt be allowed to ram into defenders.

    I caution every fan to realize what they are doing to Harrison will be done to your star defender. I like football, and no I’m not a Steeler fan, but its as plain as the nose on your face that the inconsistencies are outrageous. The league wants to reduce concussions and improve player safety, but they are doing it on the fly without any real plan, and they keep changing their tactics week in and week out. As the previous poster said, just when did these rules of going back 3 years come into effect? Would love to know if the league is keeping track of all penalties for all teams and if so where is the list?

  79. I can understand why the NFLPA wanted to find out why the Browns put McCoy back in the game, but why don’t they talk to the Steelers about James Harrison, who has established himself as a serial head hunter and all-round cheap shot artist. Someday Harrison is going to get a good dose of his own medicine, and it just may happen Jan. 1 in Cleveland.

  80. philahitman says: Dec 18, 2011 10:11 AM

    Hey, James
    Clean, great players like Brian Urlacher, Patrick Willis …


    Here we go yet again…

    Urlacher was fined twice last year for illegal hits.

    Willis was fined once this year for an illegal hit.

    But who knew that??????????

  81. 17 games and 100 tackles without an incident. Obviously Harrison HAS changed his play. And he tweeted that two days ago. You’re still a masterful click magnet and recognize that Steeler threads–especially those calling Harrison a th*g and Roethlisberger a drama queen–are money. Hope you’ll throw at least a little love our way the next time Ben takes a head shot while running with the ball or Ray Lewis launches his umpteenth helmet-to-helmet on a defenseless receiver and no one in the league gives a damn.

  82. @tobiasjodter

    Thank you. Someone gets it.

    I seriously believe this will come back to bite the NFL in the ass in one way or another. Either the next time Ray Lewis (or anyone else) pops a defenseless player helmet to helmet and doesn’t get flagged, the opposing team should petition the NFL using all the info people have learned from the Harrison situation (penalties in x number of years and such) to push for a suspension based on the precedent that has now been set…and if it DOESN’T happen, the NFL rules/penalties/fines committee will be shown out to be the meddling and game-fixing sham that it is.

  83. I knew he was going to get hit with a suspension for this lastest hit, but I don’t think he deserved it. Like he said, he was suspended for a game for making a football play. He got the same punishment as a guy that rammed an opposing players head into the ground, and stomped on the player after the whistle. Does that make sense? And all the people saying that he is dirty are out of touch or have never played the game. Most of the former players I have seen on TV have said that it wasn’t a dirty play. Those calling him a repeat offender need to look at the past calls, of which some of the fines and penalties were unwarranted. The hit on the Cleveland WR was clean. The WR saw James coming and actually ducked to avoid the hit which resulted in the helmet to helmet contact. Look I’m all for protecting the players, but you have to admit that some of these penalties have come on hits that are unavoidable. From time to time helmets are going to come in contact with each other. Hence, the reason they wear them in the first place. Ryan Clark was flagged and fines 40k for a clean hit on Ed Dickson. Hit wasn’t helmet to helmet, and Dickson wasn’t a defenseless player. Who is looking at film? Cheerleading coaches?

  84. Harrison had plenty of time NOT to hit McCoy. He was trying to take him out. He took flight AFTER the ball had been thrown, didn’t have his hands up trying to block the pass. Just had his sights set on McCoy’s head. He should take the damn tinted shield off, and look at what the **** he’s doing!

  85. Why is it that steelers fans insist they are the ones being targeted? why is it they swear this site just hates them?

    Last I checked…the league & PFT have no problem with lawrence timmons or troy palamalu…maybe thats because they play the game fast & hard like everyone else & though the occasional helmet to helmet is bound to happen…they aren’t out there seeking it out

    Somehow the other great steelers are able to bring people to the ground without trying to injure them

    James Harrison is a great player but somewhere along the way he seems to have lost sight of the idea that a truly great player can tackle without aiming high…its happened too many times now for him to pretend its all just a byproduct of him playing hard

    No amount of millions can fix the kind of long term brain trauma that comes from these hits…if they really wanted to get his attention they would make him sit down with the wives & children of all the players he’s injured and explain why he can’t seem to tackle without intent to harm

  86. Instead of an arrest tally, which has to do with irrelevant off-field issues, I’d like to see a running tally of every players flags and fines for illegal head shots over the last three years, including the dates of the infractions. Let’s start making this a fair fight instead of pretending James is doing something significantly different from other defenders. Let’s also keep a tally of retired linemen suffering from post-concussion syndrome and other head traumas … just to keep in perspective which players are most at risk.

  87. So I’m watching the Giants-Redskins and what do I see? Pierre-Paul (who already has a 10K fine this season for a roughing the passer penalty on Ryan Fitzpatrick) is flagged for another one with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Grossman.

    Will he be fined again? What will the amount be? Will he be put on a repeat offender list? More importantly – WHY DOES NO ONE IN THE MEDIA CARE TO ASK THESE QUESTIONS?????

    It was curious that the game announcers did not raise a hue and cry over this “repeat offender”. Could it be that they were not aware that Pierre-Paul has a fine this year? Could it be he doesn’t have a rep so they don’t care? Could it be he’s not a Steeler so they don’t care?

    And now that no game announcers made a big deal of it – will the media completely ignore it was well?

    No worries folks, I will be relentless in pointing out the media hypocrisy on this issue. And lucky for me, every game has these hits so I’ll have fodder to bring up every game I watch.

  88. These guys nowadays are built like tanks. Plus I think half of them if not more are roided up on GH. This means you cant have them hitting each other with their helmets, whether its a shot to the QB or a WR. Because eventually someone is going to wind up dead or in a wheelchair paralyzed from the neck down.

    Hitting people with your helmet doesnt make you a tough guy. Harrison needs to get the message

  89. What some fans view as hypocrisy by the league, I tend to think it’s not that Harrison is doing worse things than some other players, it’s more that Harrison always has rebuttals on Twitter or in articles when he gets fined. I truly believe that had he just appealed the fines/ suspension while being bland about it to the media (or had he apologized and seemed humble)he wouldn’t seem so targeted by the league. I think this is what made Suh’s issues so big too, his absolute jerkiness when talking about it. Goodell is an “image freak”…he wants guys who talk the talk too. It’s been shown over and over with various players and situations.

    As a Pats fan, I know that feeling well and sympathize. BB’s refusal to kowtow to Goodell’s image freak ways (In BB’s case, he talked too little instead of too much) made things much much worse on him and my team.

  90. It’s not American to just conform. Americans fight for what they believe in. I and so many others believe this is ruining football because this is just the beginning. Goodell will ruin football a little at a time. I support you fully James.

  91. Rules are like a brick wall, there until it’s changed. Harrison is the epitome of ignorance, thinks he can move a brick wall by banging his head against it.

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