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Elway links Harrison’s fines to Decker’s MCL sprain

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After racking up fines and a suspension for repeated hits to opponents’ heads, Steelers linebacker James Harrison did exactly what the league office has been urging him to do on Sunday: He lowered his target when making a hit.

The result was a hard shot to Broncos receiver Eric Decker’s knee, resulting in an MCL sprain that will likely keep him out of Saturday’s playoff game at New England. And Broncos V.P. of Football Operations John Elway links the injury to Decker’s knee with the deductions from Harrison’s paychecks.

“The target is now lower,” Elway said on 102.3 FM in Denver on Monday, via USA Today. “Harrison yesterday, because of the fact that he’s been fined so often, really had no other option. . . . I don’t think he intended to hurt Eric. But obviously because of the situations he’s been in, he had to go low and stay away from the head. And it ended up costing an MCL sprain for Eric.”

Elway’s comments point to one of the problems a lot of players have had with the NFL’s emphasis on decreasing helmet-to-helmet hits: If you’re not hitting your opponent high, you have to hit him low. And low hits often put players out of commission a long longer than high hits. Fortunately for Decker, what looked like an ugly knee injury turned out to be a relatively minor one.

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112 Responses to “Elway links Harrison’s fines to Decker’s MCL sprain”
  1. rcunningham says: Jan 10, 2012 10:17 AM

    I think the NFL is just trolling Harrison at this point. Next time they’ll tell him the right way to tackle is to suplex the ball carrier.

  2. crashdog says: Jan 10, 2012 10:17 AM

    I’d rather have a sprained or torn MCL/ACL than scrambled eggs for brains….just sayin

  3. phonymcringring says: Jan 10, 2012 10:18 AM

    “If you’re not hitting your opponent high, you have to hit him low.”

    You know there’s a middle between high and low, right??

    In fact, it’s larger than the high and low put together.

  4. jgrange08 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:19 AM

    Pretty soon the rules will be you can only hit a player from above the thighs to below the chest, what fun that will be to watch.

  5. westmantooth says: Jan 10, 2012 10:20 AM

    If Harrison goes high on Decker there… it would have been nasty.

  6. popdawg99 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:20 AM

    “If you’re not hitting your opponent high, you have to hit him low.”

    How about hitting someone in the torso?

  7. norseyapper says: Jan 10, 2012 10:21 AM

    Decker was lucky on the play that he didn’t have his foot planted. If he had it would have been the whole ACL-MCL 18 month to full recovery (if ever) kind of thing.
    Don’t blame Harrison for this one at all, the guy was trying to make the play and he is an agressive hitter.
    All this proves the point that you can’t fully legislate safety in a game with the forces of speed/weight/inertia at play as they are in the NFL.

  8. citiciti says: Jan 10, 2012 10:21 AM

    “Tag” your it!

  9. mhassett03 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:23 AM

    What happened to running up to a guy and wrapping your arms around him to bring him down?

    It’s because players feel the need to turn themselves into battering rams to get a guy to the ground that people get injured. Stop launching and get yourself set and wrap-up. It might just be your career you’re saving.

  10. 1phd says: Jan 10, 2012 10:23 AM

    Gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘strike zone’ in sports.

  11. mrbigass says: Jan 10, 2012 10:24 AM

    Flag football. Get on board because it’s coming…..

  12. smackadabassmon says: Jan 10, 2012 10:24 AM

    Lets just put flags on em and be done with it……

  13. broncosfan3007 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:25 AM

    DUH!!! This if football!!!! Let them play, why did nobody see this coming!? “Don’t hit a players head” (take out his knee). “Okay, don’t hit a players knee or head. (break his ribs). “Okay just take the flag off his waist.” Whenever you change the target spot there will be more injuries to another area of the body. THIS IS FOOTBALL, INJURIES HAPPEN! You don’t see drivers in NASCAR racing bumper cars do you!?

  14. dachozen1 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:25 AM

    People who think it is easy to hit someone in the numbers perfectly all the time, apparently havent played sports. This is an imperfect science and if it were easy it wouldnt happen every single week in the National Fantasy League.

  15. rr2000k says: Jan 10, 2012 10:25 AM

    I think he was trying to take his knee out…but it was legal.

  16. flavordave says: Jan 10, 2012 10:26 AM

    Its a professional sport. Do boxers worry about hurting the other guy? Or hits to the head? Nobody wants a concussion but you cant prevent them by telling players to lower your point of impact because then the defensive players take knees to the head or break the tackled players legs. Its football for Gods sake. Goddell is ruining the sport.

  17. austrianpanther says: Jan 10, 2012 10:26 AM

    If you can’t stand the pain, then get out of the game!

  18. tfbuckfutter says: Jan 10, 2012 10:29 AM

    When it’s the same guy injuring people over and over again, it’s not a problem with the rules. It’s a problem with the player.

  19. sonvar says: Jan 10, 2012 10:30 AM

    If Harrison gets fined on this the dude might as well retire as what he did was a legal hit. It was a bad result but injuries happen in football.

  20. 187onsandusky says: Jan 10, 2012 10:30 AM

    By 2015 the only legal tackle will be a perfectly executed sack tap.

  21. bigbabies says: Jan 10, 2012 10:30 AM

    “If you’re not hitting your opponent high, you have to hit him low.”

    You know there’s a middle between high and low, right??

    In fact, it’s larger than the high and low put together.
    That idiotic statement tells me and many others you have never played football.

  22. deeeeetroit says: Jan 10, 2012 10:30 AM

    you must run up to the ball carrier and politely ask them to fall to the turf, if they dont you tell their mom.

  23. riverhorsey says: Jan 10, 2012 10:30 AM

    Harrison just made the hit. He did not purposely go lower on that hit.

  24. raider316 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:31 AM

    ‘low hits put out players longer than high hits”

    I think players rather limp around for a while than end up drooling from their mouths foe the rest of their lives. Don’t you think?

  25. technovike says: Jan 10, 2012 10:31 AM

    to clarify, Harrison was not fined for the hit on Decker. Harrisons previous fines is what resulted in Harrison going low taking out Deckers knee.

    the play itself was legal, but it sure made me cringe when i watched it. he projected himself towards another players knees. for the love of god, learn to tackle. wrap them up/ polamalu too btw, iv seen him trying to launch himself at players when he could just tackle a guy for a loss.

  26. jackntorres says: Jan 10, 2012 10:31 AM

    Ending your career because of blown out knees, while devastating, is not nearly as bad as ending your career with too many hits to the head like Aikman or Young.

  27. raven410 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:32 AM

    Here comes another god awful Goodell rule change!

  28. bspurloc says: Jan 10, 2012 10:33 AM

    the rules are pathetically dumb…

    this is FOOTBALL not tennis.

    Oh no my hand touched a receivers helmet… YELLOW FLAG…..

    hey did u ever think dudes hit higher cuz it knocks other dudes off balance where hitting low allows for them to jump over u?

  29. santaxico says: Jan 10, 2012 10:35 AM

    It’s a major dilemma for the NFL and the players:

    On one hand, you’re risking long-term brain injury which is a major reason that some reports say the average life-span of an NFL player to be 58. The NFL knows that younger generations won’t get involved in football if they think there are such grim prospects for their future.

    On the other hand, major knee injuries could cost a player his season and even career. While the damage LONG-TERM is much less of an issue, most of the guys aren’t prepared to face the real world without football. Players want to make the money now and will deal with a 1 or 2 game layoff due to concussions so they can make their big-money contracts and deal with the consequences later.

    Honestly, with the size and speed of players today and the glorification of big hits, I don’t ever see this issue going away (until maybe somebody is actually killed on the field).

    I really think the best, and only solution, albeit insanely unpopular, is to either remove or give much smaller helmets. While research groups and the NFL work tirelessly to make BETTER helmets, taking them away is really the best option. Players won’t lead with their heads, hits will be less vicious, and players will be much more careful when making tackles/ lowering their heads in piles.

  30. realitypolice says: Jan 10, 2012 10:36 AM

    90% of a reciever’s body is legal to hit.

    Look in a mirror. Notice that the head takes up very little of your actual height. Now look at the area from your knees down.

    Subtract those two areas and you can see that most of your body, including you entire friggin torso, is still in play.

    Now factor into the equation the fact this area of your body which is eligible to be struck violently by football players is also the area they were trained to hit since they first put on pads.

    So what exactly are we talking about here?

  31. zaggs says: Jan 10, 2012 10:36 AM

    “If you’re not hitting your opponent high, you have to hit him low.”

    Funny, I’m pretty sure thats not how tackling is taught. Head up, wrap your arms around the guy. Don’t recall any coaches say “Hit them right on the knee”.

  32. sixaspadz says: Jan 10, 2012 10:36 AM

    …and I link John Elway to Bugs Bunny. One has bucked teeth and big ears and the other is a cartoon character.

  33. bospat says: Jan 10, 2012 10:36 AM

    If it were most other players it wouldn’t be questioned but base it’s a known dirty player it’s questioned…any he’s golfing now

  34. blackqbwhiterb says: Jan 10, 2012 10:37 AM

    From peewee football up through high school, you’re taught to put your numbers on the opponent’s, and wrap up…somehow, that whole technique got lost….silly, cuz it’s very effective

  35. seidinho says: Jan 10, 2012 10:38 AM

    Just hit him in the chest and crack a rib or two!

  36. snixxx says: Jan 10, 2012 10:38 AM

    Flag football is fun!

    Go Denver!!! (Since my Lions are out of it)

  37. ticalcaldwell says: Jan 10, 2012 10:41 AM

    Look, I cant stand the steelers but leave this guy alone…he goes to high….no, no, no….now he goes to low…..come on man…..let him play

  38. nightrain42 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:41 AM

    The nfl tackling zone is going to go the way of baseballs ever shrinking strike zone. U will only be and to hit from ur waist to the bottom of the rib cage.

  39. peytonwantsaflag says: Jan 10, 2012 10:41 AM

    the Broncos had people out because of injuries? huh – had no idea.

    According to what I’ve been reading for the last two weeks (both in pregame-potential-damage-control-mode and in post-game-excuse-making-mode) the Steelers were the only team with injuries.

  40. realnflmaster says: Jan 10, 2012 10:42 AM

    A torso is large than the legs? What planet are you from? Clearly not Jets land, we aren’t stupid like the 31 other clown fanbases.

  41. metalhead65 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:43 AM

    who said you can’t them high? you just can’t hit them in the head. how is it most nfl players have adjusted to the rule but harrison can’t? so his response is to go for the knees? sure I believe he didn’t intend to injure him.. not! he has proven he is nothing but a cheap shot artist and has chosen to go for the knees instead of the head now. he can’t go tackle at the waist like most players do? can’t go from chest to above the knee like real players do? it is one thing to go low and hit the knees but to aim and dive at them? cheap shot!you armchair waariors never played the game so shut up already with your that is what he is suppose to do and that’s football talk.

  42. vaphinfan says: Jan 10, 2012 10:44 AM

    I totally agree with Elway. Harrison is not the only LB that is doing this either. I have seen over the last few weeks, can’t recall any specific incidents, but its happening. I know this is silly but I don’t see any flags for helmet to helmet contact when a WR cracks back on a DB or when a RB lowers his shoulder and has helmet to helmet contact with a defensive player like when Bradshaw ran over the DB for the Jets. Not a steelers fan by any means and it is dirty but Goodell brought this on.

  43. chatham10 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:46 AM

    Could the same be said about the hit on AP which put him out. I guess every hit now will be in question.

  44. rdrdrs58 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:47 AM

    anyone saying that they would rather get hit in the legs and either sprain a knee or tear a ligament has never had it happen. Trust me… I’ve torn my ACL, partially tore my MCL and shredded all of the cartilage in my right knee after taking a hit low.

    I’d take hit to the upper body any day over shots to the legs

  45. 1captain1 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:47 AM

    Butkus, Tatum, Lott, Alzado could not play in today’s game.

    They made a living taking cheap shots.

    And cheap shots are fun to watch!

  46. Stiller43 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:49 AM


    You ever see a big rb get tackled? You get tackle him high, you tackle his legs. Tackling at the legs is part of the game.

    If you had a league where you get penalized and fined unless you hit a guy squate in the midsection every tackle, games would be 70-68 and obviously the fines/penalties would be outrageous.

  47. napoleonblownapart6887 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:50 AM

    It’s such a difficult situation for the guy. I applaud the fact that he’s lowering his target zone, but of course its unfortunate that Decker got hurt because of it.

    A word of caution to everyone saying, “aim for the middle”… two things that are difficult about that: first, when players are running at full speed it can be difficult to aim with pinpoint accuracy, so its not just as simple as “aim for the middle”, secondly, breaking down and tackling the legs of a speedier/shiftier, guy is a good idea… how many times do you see someone try to tackle CJ2k or Ray Rice in the gut?

  48. illiniftw says: Jan 10, 2012 10:51 AM

    I think the NFL is trying to copy the MLB strike zone!

  49. brutus9448 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:52 AM

    you can hit them in the torso and not the knee. Low doesn’t mean the knee.

  50. foobarfoofoo says: Jan 10, 2012 10:53 AM


    Funny comment is it not. Did you realize that the hardest/most crushing hits which make highlight reels have always been the ones where the shoulder hits the upper body. Which is clean, has little risk for injury and certainly doesn’t look like little girls playing.

    Otherwise, if you prefer people getting hurt – which I think is the reason some of you watch – something’s wrong with your head.

  51. havok82 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:54 AM

    It was a clean hit. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t want an NFL where you can’t tackle a runner by the legs. I can understand not hitting a planted QB in the pocket, but any runner should be fair game. It stinks for the Broncos, but this is no different from a guy rolling up on another guy’s leg. It happened to me in college and it certainly wasn’t the guy’s intent or fault. It happens.

    Where Harrison gets in trouble is the head shots. I am glad to see him adapt his game. He’s too good of a player not to do so.

  52. camp1746 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:54 AM

    Whatever happened to hitting guys right in the gut and trying to dislodge the ball? Whatever happened to quality WRAP them up tackling? Too often guys are going for the “highlight hits”. BTW hit was clean. Yes I am a Die Hard Broncos Fan.

  53. cliffordc05 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:57 AM

    I completely agree with Elway’s comments. A defender may target the other players’ numbers but as in all things human there will be misses. With the new rules the league is telling the players that if you miss it is damn well better for your wallet to miss low. Your team will also suffer a penalty if you miss high.

    The comment about preferring to suffer from scrambled brains rather than losing time to a knee injury points to the dilemma the league faces. It also points to the need for sideline evaluation of head injuries by independent medical personnel. Players always want to stay in the game. The immediacy of the game dictates that players will almost never make the right choice and opt to play rather than sit out. When a coach asks a player if he can go back in the game the answer is always the same.

  54. gln9213 says: Jan 10, 2012 10:57 AM

    Gee you sure can’t get anything past Elway….DUH

  55. originalsteelcurtain says: Jan 10, 2012 10:57 AM

    John Elway…voice of reason.

    Czar Goodell will find a way to penalize hitting low soon.

    The special “James Harrison treatment” is ridiculous.

    Ryan Clady did a pretty good job on James Sunday, but he blatantly held, choked, and mugged James on at least 10 pass rushes and didn’t get 1 single penalty.

    NOT ONE SINGLE PENALTY! Refs gotta call one or two to at least keep the integrity of the game.

    The special “James Harrison treatment” goes way beyond fines and suspensions for hard hits.

  56. badtimeoutcaldwell says: Jan 10, 2012 11:00 AM

    Call me crazy, but i think id rather have a bum knee than a bum brain…

  57. evensteven1984 says: Jan 10, 2012 11:01 AM

    Lead with your shoulder, hit the opponent below the head. End of discussion.

  58. rankoutsider32 says: Jan 10, 2012 11:03 AM

    How about keeping your head up, put your head across the body, wrap-up and drive thru the ball carrier? Just like they teach you in little league.

  59. dclogicatlast says: Jan 10, 2012 11:08 AM


    You do realize that when guys hit the “middle” that more often than not their helmets touch. I’ve tons of clean hits penalized this year. The problem is that “blows the head” should be penalized, but not simply contact with the head.

    This is football and it’s fast. Creating a hitting strike zone will further push this game towards “pass skelly” aka 7 on 7’s.

    I vote for a relaxing of the rules, especially illegal contact. Give me back defense.

  60. otis52gsh says: Jan 10, 2012 11:09 AM

    The game is too fast to prohibit anyone from getting hurt. James did exactly what he needed to make the play. Let it go please.

  61. salmen76 says: Jan 10, 2012 11:11 AM

    This is what happens when the NFLs head guru (roger g) starts tampering with what has always worked and puts millions of fans in the seats. He’s trying to soften up the NFL from being a vilolent sport. So he changes rules thinking he’s so smart and now we’re gonna have players getting their knees blowed out on legal hits. Now goodell will try to outlaw the low hits. Then, where are the defenders going to hit the ball carriers? Tha’s right. Nothing left to hit legally. This is when the NFL will put flags on everyone just like pee wee league. Roger is a JOKE. He has been a joke since getting the job. Yet the NFL leaves him in that postion while the NFL begins to sink like the Titanic. Geaux Saints!

  62. varnbo says: Jan 10, 2012 11:14 AM

    Why is it that whenever we are talking about controversial hits, Harrison seems to be involved?

    The majority of defensive players in the NFL seem to be able play the game without being fined/suspended.
    Everyone understands in the heat of battle a mistake can be made, but come on folks, why does this guy always seem to be involved?

    No doubt everyone viewing this site watched the game and saw the hit on Decker. Why can’t this guy just make a tackle? He’s a linebacker getting ready to tackle a WR! It’s not like Harrison is a smaller DB getting ready to take on Jacobs after he has burst threw the front 7 and he has no choice but to go low. Harrison made a deliberate decision to hit Decker in the knee. Why?

    Are we to believe Harrison only knows to hit the head, or dive at a smaller players’ knees?

  63. sudz28 says: Jan 10, 2012 11:14 AM

    AMEN! I was just waiting for the ref’s to throw a flag on that hit at Deckers leg, simply calling “Personal foul – Harrison tackled someone.” That one personal foul, ‘late hit on the quarterback’ call in the same game on Harrison was an absolute joke. He was in the process of lurching at him to make the sack when Tebow threw the ball and turned his back. Harrison raised his hands to AVOID crushing him, basically pushing himself away on Tebow’s back, and they call the foul. Tebow barely budged from the touch. A complete joke of a call.

  64. fancyleague says: Jan 10, 2012 11:20 AM

    Every player you ask would rather get his bell rung than have his knee taken out. A concussion can end your game. A knee can end your career.

    Harrison lowered his target. Ball carriers started dipping on impact, which caused the same problem. The legs are the only tackling target left if you want to make sure you don’t make contact with the head. Blame Goodell.

    As for why it’s always Harrison, he simply hits much harder than most of the guys out there. The guy could probably knock out two or three people a game if he played back in the day.

  65. claytron5000 says: Jan 10, 2012 11:21 AM

    If you watch the replays you can see him aiming for Decker’s left knee. Harrison was lucky that it was only an MCL Sprain. If he had hit him with a little more helmet than shoulder he could’ve ended Decker’s career and snapped the leg badly.

    He’s a punk that probably needs a good therapist. Hopefully he’ll have to legally get help when he inevitably punches some guy at the grocery store when he’s retired at 37.

  66. jamaltimore says: Jan 10, 2012 11:26 AM

    You can’t legislate the outcome of hits. It’s simply a brutal sport and the people that sign up have to know it.

  67. orbseadog52 says: Jan 10, 2012 11:27 AM

    Varnbo are you serious???

    Now you want a player to determine how much velocity to apply based on the size of the opposing player!

    That is ridiculous. This is the NFL! This is Football!

  68. packerman1968 says: Jan 10, 2012 11:27 AM

    Might as well start playing flag football.

  69. realitycheck21 says: Jan 10, 2012 11:34 AM

    The only defensive player who seems to have a REPEATED PROBLEM with where to hit a ball carrier is Harrison. The guy is a menace and seems to get off by deliberately applying dangerous hits that sideline players and worse jeopardize careers. Goodell needs to sideline him without pay until he gets the message.

  70. crawfish2011 says: Jan 10, 2012 11:40 AM

    The hit was perfectly legal and that exact hit happens many times in a game. The only difference was James Harrison is a big explosive linebacker hit a smaller WR. If it was Troy Polamolu making that exact hit this would be an non issue.

  71. realitypolice says: Jan 10, 2012 11:45 AM

    realnflmaster says:
    Jan 10, 2012 10:42 AM
    A torso is large than the legs? What planet are you from? Clearly not Jets land, we aren’t stupid like the 31 other clown fan bases.

    Who said your torso is larger than your legs? It’s completely legal to hit someone in their legs above the knees.

    It’s even legal to go low and dive at someone’s ankles if you are on the ground or if you are running behind the player.

    The only thing you can’t do is launch your helmet or shoulder directly into the knees of the player without wrapping your arms.

  72. kmkhaine says: Jan 10, 2012 11:49 AM

    Harrison couldn’t take one cheap shot so he just went to the next cheap shot.

    He is like school on a holiday.

  73. edukator4 says: Jan 10, 2012 11:51 AM

    aim for the torso? why so the wr can crouch to absorb the hit, thus bringing his head lower, and you end up with another 15 yards and $25,000 out of pocket

    its funny how a HOF quaterback gets it, yet armchair qbs do not

  74. gergie1957 says: Jan 10, 2012 11:54 AM

    @”mhassett03 says:
    Jan 10, 2012 10:23 AM
    What happened to running up to a guy and wrapping your arms around him to bring him down?

    It’s because players feel the need to turn themselves into battering rams to get a guy to the ground that people get injured. Stop launching and get yourself set and wrap-up. It might just be your career you’re saving.”

    So your new rule would be you have to set your feet before you tackle someone.
    Have you ever played the game?

  75. bmorehomeofthewire says: Jan 10, 2012 12:16 PM

    Are you guys clueless. James Harrison intended to go for Decker knees to make a point to the NFL.

  76. patsfiend says: Jan 10, 2012 12:21 PM

    Eventually there is going to have to be an alternate league, XFL-style, where they allow hits and quarterback “touching.” I’ll watch that league.

  77. meglasdad says: Jan 10, 2012 12:23 PM

    If you’re not hitting your opponent high, you have to hit him low.”

    And if Harrison aims for the torso and the runner lowers his head to brace for the hit, you get helmet to helmet contact and he loses another $100,000 and a game or two. Be careful what you wish for Goodell, you just might get it.

  78. NoRespect says: Jan 10, 2012 12:30 PM

    I remember in college playing tackle football (not on the school team, just for fun), and I would have guys wrap around my torso and I would carry them down the field. The only time I would go down was when someone wrapped my legs up. Now, imagine a little CB or SS (little by NFL standards) going against some of the huge RBs or FBs. They can just get ready for a ride down the field. Some guys can’t be easily taken down at the torso; you have to wrap up the legs.

  79. beastup22 says: Jan 10, 2012 12:31 PM

    New rule if you’ve never actually tackled anyone, then your not allowed to comment on proper tackling form. This is Football! FIRE Goodell!!

  80. johntonioholmes says: Jan 10, 2012 12:39 PM

    Glad to see most people are smart enough to realize that Harrison was simply lowering his target zone.

    His target zone was actually low on the Massaquoi hit last year, but Massaquoi was falling.

    So Harrison had to move even lower.

    I imagine the NFL will want him to target the ground soon enough.

    By the way, “After racking up fines and a suspension for repeated hits to opponents’ heads…”

    Harrison only has 2 helmet to helmet hits in the last 3 years. All other fines were for unnecessary roughness or late hits.

    Dunta Robinson and Kam Chancellor have more helmet to helmet hits in the last 3 years than Harrison does.

  81. johntonioholmes says: Jan 10, 2012 12:41 PM


    Give me a break.

    He recognized that Decker was defenseless and was simply making sure that he wouldn’t hit him in the head Decker lowered his head any.

    All of you people who are saying that he did this on purpose are laughably clueless.

  82. dchild33 says: Jan 10, 2012 12:45 PM

    Lets clarify things for those who don’t understand football. There are times where you will have to make a tackle and there are times when you will have to hit someone. Those are 2 different things. On this particular play, Harrison had no choice but to “hit” Decker because he was attempting to force an incomplete pass. Had he simply ran and tried to wrap Decker up, it surely would’ve been a completion and I doubt Harrison would have even been able to grab and form tackle him. This is football. People are moving 100 miles an hour. You are not always going to be able to form tackle and hit someone in the chest or numbers. This was a legal hit and a great play.

  83. jumpinjoebuck says: Jan 10, 2012 12:48 PM

    FINALLY someone in the league makes some sense on the issue. THANK YOU John Elway, I’m getting SICK of hearing people call for Harrison’s head over this hit. The guy is a total scapegoat for the league.

  84. fnslidevick says: Jan 10, 2012 12:48 PM

    He did it out of spite. He probably planned to do something like this right when he got fined the last time. And it was at Deckers expense. I cant believe elway is defending him. He is a dirty player and will get his. Karma

  85. jkcranshaw says: Jan 10, 2012 12:50 PM

    How is it that a wide reciever playing defensive back for the Patriots can reguarly make picture perfect form tackles, yet someone who plays every snap on defense struggles with where to hit people? How is the answer to tackling too high to go too low? As someone above said, there is alot of real estate between the head and the knees.

  86. rooney24 says: Jan 10, 2012 12:51 PM

    Based on the number of thumbs up and down for most of these posts, it is evident that one of two things is true (maybe both):

    – People still don’t understand or care about the long term effect of concussions, as opposed to other injuries.
    – We have mostly Neanderthals logged in and hitting the thumbs up or down today.

  87. rdrdrs58 says: Jan 10, 2012 12:53 PM

    love all these comments about hitting someone in the torso… first, its a moving target. The RB, WR, QB are not standing perfectly upright to take a hit – the majority of the time. They are lowering their body to brace for impact, or to try and run someone over, or just to avoid a hit. once a defender commits, that’s it. Its not like he can stop mid tackle and adjust his trajectory. That majority body part, know becomes the smallest part of the body. Second… how many times have we seen defensive players lead with the shoulder with the helmet off to the side and their head slides up the body and makes contact under a players chin and it get called a penalty… pretty often. There’s this thing called the Laws of Physics that apply here.

  88. themightywhitey says: Jan 10, 2012 12:53 PM

    this “IS” football people !!!…….he should be able to hit high ..low ….any place on the opponent ……these guys are well paid and know that injuries are possible . they do have a choice …..after school they could go work for IBM ,Walmart ,or pick up trash ….but they chose football

  89. johntonioholmes says: Jan 10, 2012 12:53 PM


    I think you nailed it. Decker is only injured because Harrison is a harder hitter than any DB.

    Cornerbacks make that tackle all of the time and receivers just walk away.

    Linebackers and D lineman are probably going to take some knees with them if they go that low.

    Regardless, people need to give Harrison a break. All of his illegal hits are borderline. He’s not stomping on people after the play or socking them like Richard Seymour. He not ear-holing players like Rodney Harrison. He’s not grabbing the facemask and trying to twist off the guy’s like Matt Stafford tried to do earlier this year.

    He’s rarely, if ever, more than a step late with his hits. The biggest problem is that he knocks people out when he makes helmet to helmet contact.

    Look at the Atlanta/NY game on Sunday. In the 4rth, there was a helmet to helmet hit made on a defenseless receiver. Nothing was said. If the receiver got a concussion, though, I think we can guarantee that the league and PFT would be making a stink about it.

  90. johntonioholmes says: Jan 10, 2012 12:59 PM


    It might have something to do with the fact that he’s being targeted by the media…

    Let’s just put it this way: Kam Chancellor had helmet to helmet hits in 3 games in a row this season.

    What team does Kam play for?

    I’ll actually be impressed if you know without looking it up (unless you’re a fan of the team or a fan of a team within the same division).

    The reason why I had to look up his name is because the media doesn’t talk about him, yet he has more illegal hits this year than Harrison.

    He actually has more helmet to helmet hits this year than Harrison has in his career.

  91. johntonioholmes says: Jan 10, 2012 1:05 PM


    What if Decker dipped his head as Harrison was tackling him high?

    All of you twits would be screaming “illegal!” “dirty!” “cheap!”

    Harrison was dinged last year precisely because Massaquoi lowered his head as Harrison was aiming for his chest.

  92. sojumaster says: Jan 10, 2012 1:07 PM

    I swear that these kinds of posts ALWAYS bring out the football-idiots en mass.

    “Just hit and wrap” – Blah … works in popwarner football when they are all of 50-60 pounds and they run the 40 in 15 seconds.

    The next game of NFL, keep track of how many “picture perfect wrap tackles” there really are. You will be suprised how few there really is. Also, count the number of times the ball carrier is able to shed off those “picture perfect wrap tackles” and gains extra yards or TDs. Get back with me when you do that.

    I think the people that are just complaining about all the “dirty” hits in the NFL and that they play too aggressively, all need to go watch baseball or golf.

  93. sojumaster says: Jan 10, 2012 1:13 PM

    After just rewatching the hit, it looked like Harrision was going for Decker’s hip but his timing was a bit off. His shoulder originally contacted Decker’s thigh and slid down his leg.

    (I wonder how many people that sit here and complain about certain hits or actions on the field, actually have something like “NFL Rewind” to actually to review these incidents later) … it is amazing how your perspective changes when you rewatch plays outside of the heat of the moment when you are watching a game live.

  94. sojumaster says: Jan 10, 2012 1:24 PM

    jumpinjoebuck says:Jan 10, 2012 12:48 PM

    FINALLY someone in the league makes some sense on the issue. THANK YOU John Elway, I’m getting SICK of hearing people call for Harrison’s head over this hit. The guy is a total scapegoat for the league.


    Just look at all the pansy-flipping fans the NFL has now. James Harrision was the Defensive Player of the Year and played exactly the same way the next season, and he goes from an aggressive player that is feared and respected to a player that is now “dirty” and needs to be thrown out of the league within a 1 weeks period after his hit on Massaquoi. (It is also amazing that ESPN changed their show from “Jack’ed up” to “Come on Man” around that time frame)

    OF COURSE, there are going to be some keyboard trolls around here that is going to claim that they thought he was dirty the WHOLE time. I will call BS on that.

    John Elway knows the real deal. He is not defending Harrison per say, it is more of an indirect swipe at roger goodell. The quote might as well have said “because of roger goodell constantly targeting Harrision, He had no choice but to go down low”

  95. dchild33 says: Jan 10, 2012 1:27 PM


    What you fail to realize is that almost all pro football players who are making hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars would much rather suffer a concussion that they can shake off in a couple of weeks than a blown out knee that will take 9 months to recover from. A pro football player career is short as is and they want to maximize the amount of money they can make in that time. Yes a concussion will have more long term damage but they aren’t thinking about that. I am sure that a lot more football players careers have been ended due to knee injuries than concussions. It may sound crazy to you but this is a violent game and they all understand that they can be seriously hurt at any given moment. In their world a concussion is a lesser evil then a shredded knee.

  96. danimal1027 says: Jan 10, 2012 1:46 PM

    Fundamental tackling says u put your shoulder in the mid section of the runner and your facemask to the ball then drive your feet. With that, I’ve seen more tackling related injuries this year then any other. Why not hire someone whose actually played a down of football to sanction these rules.

  97. cowhawkfan says: Jan 10, 2012 1:46 PM

    tfbuckfutter says:
    Jan 10, 2012 10:29 AM
    When it’s the same guy injuring people over and over again, it’s not a problem with the rules. It’s a problem with the player.

    Agree 100%. Harrison is not that much harder hitter than everyone else, but he sure has an excessive tendency to injure others. He leads with his head and certainly seems to have intent to injure. Why does such “bad luck” follow the same guy around unless it’s something unique to him, suc as “intent”?

  98. realitypolice says: Jan 10, 2012 1:53 PM

    sojumaster says:
    Jan 10, 2012 1:07 PM

    The next game of NFL, keep track of how many “picture perfect wrap tackles” there really are. You will be suprised how few there really is. Also, count the number of times the ball carrier is able to shed off those “picture perfect wrap tackles” and gains extra yards or TDs. Get back with me when you do that.

    How many times proper tackles are made is irrelevant. They’re still proper tackles.

    How about you count the amount of times someone not named James Harrison tries to tackle someone by keeping their arms at their sides and just hitting with their shoulder.

    I’ve seen plays in these playoffs where 3 or more tackles of this type are missed on ONE PLAY.

    Which of course is why no one is ever taught to tackle that way.

  99. rooney24 says: Jan 10, 2012 2:11 PM

    If you are right, that is exactly why the players need to be protected from themselves. They may think (now) that they would rather have “only” a concussion, so they can get back on the field faster. But, when they die or commit suicide at 45 because their brain is messed up, and leave their families and/or illegitimate kids without a father, I bet they will wish differently.
    I understand careers are short. But, just like kids/teens, they feel bulletproof and think they can recover from anything. A 10 year old would rather drive a car than ride his bike, just like some players would rather have a concussion. That doesn’t mean it is a wise choice. Most pro athletes have always been the best athlete, toughest guy, etc that they have known their entire life, until they get to the NFL. I bet the majority of NFL players think it is nothing if they had 30 concussions. Players in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s certainly thought that, and now they are dropping dead.

  100. drgreenstreak says: Jan 10, 2012 2:23 PM

    A just and fair world would have Harrison cry and quit pro ball. Then, his skanky ho can take all his money and leave him like he was before he learned football.
    What a smelly turd, James Harrison.

  101. FinFan68 says: Jan 10, 2012 2:27 PM

    These guys wouldn’t get so much grief if the tried to “wrap up” while “tackling”. The league tries to fix one problem and causes another. Tackling is a lost art because they are writing defense out of the game. That hit was bad form but in no way illegal. I think the main issue is tha a solid tackle does not get you on the highlight shows and therefor they go for the big hit instead. Nobody says anything when they miss and the ball carrier gains an additional 10+ yards.

  102. imopen7 says: Jan 10, 2012 2:33 PM

    Harrison was actually aiming for his ankles but the air in Denver caused him to drift up into the knee. C’mon……NON ISSUE.

  103. trollaikman8 says: Jan 10, 2012 2:34 PM

    The real problem here is the high/inaccurate throw.

  104. bubbleboy74 says: Jan 10, 2012 2:35 PM

    How come every other DB in the league can figure it out but this knuckle head can’t. He’s ending careers out there and taking money off the table for these players. He needs some hefty fines and suspensions that make him think twice. Obviously, the fines that he has been assessed are not doing it.

  105. theytukrjobs says: Jan 10, 2012 2:38 PM

    News flash. Football players try to hurt one another when they hit. They are vicious people in a violent sport. Just the way it is.

    If you want to stop guys from going for an opponents knees then make it illegal as well. I’d like to see the following:

    Can’t hit a guy low or high if he’s “defensless”.
    Can’t hit a guy low unless it is head on. You can’t go for the side or back of the knee in essense.

    This would really only eliminate the hits that are done to cause injury. Wouldn’t change the game that much. AP wouldn’t have torn his ACL with this rule either as that shot was unnecessary to make the tackle.

  106. holeinone09 says: Jan 10, 2012 2:48 PM

    Hey people, while no one wants to see anybody get hurt, there was nothing wrong with Harrison’s hit. Nothing at all. It was perfectly legal and well within the rules. People get hurt in this game. Ray Lewis broke Mendenhall’s collar bone with a legal hit. Get off your high horses, please. Did you hear what Collingsworth said about the penalty the Bengals DB got for hitting the Texans WR after he caught the ball?

    Put dresses on ’em, or go watch bowling.

  107. whackman says: Jan 10, 2012 2:49 PM

    Hummm, sounds like the NFL needs to come up with a “strike zone” like baseball.

    Threee strikes outside the “Strike Zone” and you are OUT!!!

    and for all the haters… whiners saying James should be aiming for the torso. Well, he generally does. The problem in many of his hits is the receiver lowering their head in anticipation of getting rocked.

  108. joe6606 says: Jan 10, 2012 2:56 PM

    “That one personal foul, ‘late hit on the quarterback’ call in the same game on Harrison was an absolute joke. He was in the process of lurching at him to make the sack when Tebow threw the ball and turned his back. Harrison raised his hands to AVOID crushing him, basically pushing himself away on Tebow’s back, and they call the foul. Tebow barely budged from the touch. A complete joke of a call.”
    Yep. Was one of at least 5 completely BS calls in the 1st half that contributed to the momentum shift. And that’s not counting all the times harrison was egregiously held.

    I’m not going to get deep into the “officiating sucked” game, in light of the 2 calls that went our way in the 2nd half, but to be fair, the 1st half was complete garbage in terms of “fair” officiating…

  109. NoRespect says: Jan 10, 2012 2:57 PM


    Interesting how in your reply you changed “picture perfect wrap tackles” to “proper”

    I wonder why you felt a need to do that.

  110. rskills says: Jan 10, 2012 3:18 PM

    While this was definitely a legal hit, it was definitely a dirty hit. I’m all for hitting hard, so don’t go on about wanting to wussify the game. Just watch James Harrison, this guy goes out of his way to hurt people. You can’t watch that replay and tell me Harrison didn’t purposely go that low on him. This is the same guy who on an interception return went out of his way to basically do an elbow drop on and hurt Kyle Orton.
    I think most pro-football players, while going 100% still want to look out for their “brothers in arms” and not end their careers. James Harrison doesn’t seem to feel this way. Maybe he should give MMA a shot, even in the UFC though, they don’t want to end each other’s careers.

  111. ogre2010 says: Jan 10, 2012 3:47 PM

    Hey Horse Face, where does Harrison suppose to hit him then when Roger (your boss) will fine him if he hits him high?

  112. rskills says: Jan 10, 2012 4:47 PM


    Tell ’em why you mad, son!

    Where does it sound like Elway is taking a shot at Harrison? He’s basically defending him, saying Harrison goes low cause he feels like he has to now. At no point is he (or the linked article) ripping Harrison for the hit.

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