NO FINE COMING FOR CLARK, BUT THERE SHOULD BE

Though the hit appeared to be the kind of thing for which players get fined and/or suspended all the time, the helmet-to-helmet brain-scrambling hit on Ravens running back Willis McGahee by Steelers safety Ryan Clark won’t result in a fine.
Per Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe, a league spokesman says that the hit was clean.
Seriously.
“‘[McGahee] had completed the catch and was a runner,'” the spokesman told Reiss.  “‘Helmet-to-helmet contact is legal in that situation as it is for any ball carrier (running back, quarterback, or receiver).  Helmet-to-helmet contact is prohibited against defenseless players (defined as a receiver in the process of making a catch or a quarterback in the act of passing).'”
OK, now we’re really confused.  What the hell is the difference between a running back who doesn’t see it coming and a receiver or a quarterback who don’t see it coming?
If the concept of defenselessness (doesn’t sound right, but what the hell?) is premised on a player not being able to defend himself, wouldn’t that apply to a player who can’t defend himself because he doesn’t see it coming?
And what about the concept of spearing?  Isn’t it against the rules for a guy to lead with his helmet regardless of whether the other guys sees it coming?
As it turns out, it is.
Moreover, the relevant provision of the rule book doesn’t limit the concept of helmet-to-helmet hits to defenseless players only.  Instead, the rule states that defenseless players should merely get extra protection.
Per Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8(g) of the 2008 NFL rules, the concept of unnecessary roughness includes “using any part of a player’s helmet . . . or facemask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily; although such violent or unnecessary use of the helmet and facemask is impermissible against any opponent, game officials will give special attention in administering this rule to protecting those players who are in virtually defenseless postures (e.g., a player in the act of or just throwing a pass, a receiver catching or attempting to catch a pass, a runner already in the grasp of a tackler, a kickoff or punt returner attempting to field a kick in the air, or a player on the ground at the end of a play).”
The short translation?  This rule conflicts with what the spokesman told Reiss, and Clark shouldn’t avoid a fine simply because McGahee wasn’t catching or throwing a pass.
The long translation?  Here we go.

First, if Clark used “any part” of his helmet to “butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily,” the violation is unnecessary roughness, and the player is subject to a fine or a suspension.
Second, the spokesman who spoke to Reiss misstated the rule.  Using the helmet to “butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily” always is a violation. 
Third, contrary to what the spokesman told Reiss, defenseless players are not by definition only “a receiver in the process of making a catch or a quarterback in the act of passing.”  The rule sets forth three specific other examples of defenselessness:  a runner in the grasp of a tackler, a player fielding a kick or a punt, and a player on the ground.
Fourth, and here’s where precision in the reading of the rules is critical, the list of potentially defenseless players isn’t exhaustive.  The list begins with the designation “e.g.,” which means “for example.”  And this means that what follows are examples and not a full and complete list. 
If the powers-that-be had intended the list to be exclusive, the parenthetical should have begun with the letters “i.e.”
So if the five examples aren’t intended to represent the complete list, more examples can be added to the concept of defenselessness.
Such as a player who doesn’t see it coming.
So, basically, there’s a clear and definite conflict between what the spokesman told Reiss and what the rules say.
Based on the replay angle shown several minutes after the live play, Clark led with his helmet.  It was a violation of the rules.  A flag should have been thrown and, at a minimum, a fine should be imposed. 

141 responses to “NO FINE COMING FOR CLARK, BUT THERE SHOULD BE

  1. Are you guys serious? I have watched the play several times and he led with his shoulder. There is no question he did not lead with his helmet. He led with the shoulder and mcgahee ducked his head before contact which is why helmet to helmet contact occurred. All of the talking heads say the same as does everyone who watched the game with me. By the way, I am a Giants fan so no bias here…. Really? Anybody seriously disagree?

  2. Wow, looks like you are the only one to not get it. Or, you’re just trying to get some publicity, for which I don’t blame you.

  3. Let it go Florio. How far are you going to take this to prove that you are, or are not, a Steeler fan. Either you are, and you’re taking this WAY too far to show that you’re not, or you aren’t and you’re trying to prove it.
    Just reveal to your readers where your “fandom” lies and move on. Really, we don’t care.

  4. Were talking about micro-seconds!!! Instant replay makes everything look slow and violent. The hit was legal and thats why they make MILLIONS!

  5. Florio you are losing serious cred with your idiocy on this one. If McGahee didn’t duck and lean to the right, he’d have gotten hit in the chest by Clark’s right shoulder. Just because their helmets touched doesn’t mean Clark did anything wrong. If you look at the replay that was shot behind Clark, he clearly leads with the right shoulder, he even turns to the left a bit. It’s not his fault McGahee wasn’t looking and then ducked.
    You need to watch more football.

  6. This is just Florio’s blatant attempt to try and make everyone think he is so smart and observant. The NFL knows that helmet to helmet contact is unavoidable and I’m pretty sure that most of us fans know what the rule is intended to do, but Florio the lawyer doesn’t.

  7. Personally, I don’t think it was a dirty hit at all. It was helmet to helmet, but whether or not it was unintentional is subjective. I think he made every effort to lead with his shoulder, and the helmets happened to hit first. It is a vicious hit from a player who has a history of vicious hits, but technically legal imho.
    However, whoever the “league spokesperson” is who Mike Reiss was quoting is either completely unversed in the rules, an idiot, or someone who exists solely in the mind of Mike Reiss (I suspect the later). They completely got the rule wrong, and I doubt anyone speaking on behalf of the NFL about such a high profile hit would be dumb enough to misquote it so dramatically.
    In the spirit of the actual rule, however, the hit was legal. Personally, I think that the rule should be changed so that any helmet to helmet should result in a flag, whether intentional or not. Otherwise players like Clark who make a habit of trying to inflict the most damage while still “technically” in the rules are going to end up seriously injuring somebody. Christ, we flag players if their hands bump a QB’s head while making a tackle, yet we allow hits like this?

  8. I thought it was not intentional but that a fine should be imposed…
    You people keep saying that he led with his shoulder and the helmet only hit because the runner ducked….Correct me if I am wrong, I am no doctor but your shoulder is beside your head, not above it…So if the runner had ducked into it he would have hit the tackler in the midsection…
    It looked avoidable…and should be a fine…no suspension

  9. From the angle I saw it, Clark launched himself, lead with his shoulder, and McGahee kind of ran straight into it when he ducked his head.
    Besides Florio, why are you all over this topic? I thought you were also of the opinion that the NFL was getting turned into a pansy league, and now you’re complaining when guys actually get to hit? C’mon.

  10. Florio, you are such a flip flop. First you say that the hit was intentional, then you say it may have been inadvertent helmet-to-helmet, now you’re back to intentional. Listen, the replay does not, repeat NOT, show that he led with his helmet, but with his shoulder and moved his head down to try and shield himself. FUTHERMORE, McGahee saw it coming and braced himself for the hit just as much. McGahee was not defenseless when it happened, he saw it at full speed, and you can’t sit there and call a guy out for what was a horrible accident, but an accident all the same.

  11. Horse manure….he led with his shoulder….all folks on TV today who played the game said it was a legal hit…

  12. If the league wants to base the fact that RB McGahee wasn’t defenseless because he was a runner, they are wrong. McGahee was a receiver (any player that catches a ball IS a receiver, not just wide receivers), McGahee took steps with his head the opposite way and then on his third step he turned (defenseless) and got nailed. I’m not judging whether helmet-to-helmet contact or intent but for all warranted purposes, McGahee WAS a receiver, a defenseless one at that.

  13. Everyone knew there wouldn’t be a fine and definately not a suspension. No way the league office would take away one of Rooney’s players for the Superbowl. They are chicken shit even with Roger as commish. They’ll just sweep it under the table and let it go just like they did with the gambling for so many years. Face it, certain teams get preferential treatment and the others can just suck it up. I love football, but I hate the favoritism in all of professional sports. Those with the money get what they want.

  14. Maybe the officials should all be lawyers and games should be strung out to 8 or 9 hours apiece so that appeals can be made and legal rulings issued too.

  15. In case you were wondering if the NFL really cared about player safety, you’ve got your answer. If Clark kills somebody or paralyzes them with these head-hunting, blind-side, head-first launches of his, he can always say, “The NFL has told me repeatedly they are clean.” Let it be on Goodell’s head then.

  16. Florio enough is enough, just shut up already. It’s done and over with just drop it and move onto something else. You’re like a little kid who doesn’t know when to stop. It’s gotta be slow at PFT headquarters huh. You’re entitled to your opinion but your becoming a broken record, do yourself and all of us a favor and find something better to write about. I love the site but your hatred towards the Steelers is insane. Does winning bother you Florio?

  17. You’re wrong to fan the flames here Florio – and check my posts, I’m a Browns fan – I hate both these teams. This was a clean hit. It may have ended in helmet to helmet – but that was not the intent. It was not a helmet rocket shot by a defender – he tried to lower his shoulder. The rule can’t be against the result – because the play is too dynamic – the rule must be against the intent, and there was on foul on the intent with this play. All that said – I hate the baltimore buttheads a lot more.

  18. If you are admittedly confused as to the difference between a running back who doesn’t see it coming and a receiver or a quarterback who don’t see it coming you are hardly qualified to lead the charge for a fine for Ryan Clark.

  19. THere is a difference between a WR or QB who is not running straight at a defender but is too busy standing still throwing a pass or concentrating on receiving a pass and a RB running the ball at full speed towards a defender.

  20. I have the new offense for when Florio’s rule change goes into affect. Just take the handoff, hold the ball in one arm, cover your eyes with the other and run forward. You can’t see anything coming at you so the defense is not allowed to hit you.

  21. Clark led with his shoulder. In the fraction of a second it took to for them to hit, McGahee rammed it with his head and both heads hit after McGahee’s head ricocheted (thanks Winchester) off Clark’s shoulder. It happened so quick there was no evidence to suggest Clark meant to have a hemlet to hemlet collision. Paper_bag is right. I’m glad McGahee is ok, but what else can you expect when two top physical teams get together. Just curious, did Ray Ray think it was a clean hit?

  22. McGahee wasn’t defenseless. He lowered his head. Wes Welker on the other hand…

  23. Clean Hit. McGahee ran at Clark, ducked his head into Clark and made it helmet to Helmet.
    Why not discuss the late hits that Ben took that were never called. That rear end hit on his back was pretty bad. He never saw it coming, and the ball was clearly out of his hands for a few seconds.

  24. Led with his shoulder is BS. He put his head down, he aimed at the player, he wasn’t looking up. Anybody who has played football knows you tackle with your face into the player. Todays players aim their helmet at the player and fire. It was called spearing in the HS and College and it only goes to the absolute ignorance the average fan has to the game. It should be a penalty every time a player puts his face down and aims.

  25. I agree that he launched himself, but I don’t believe that should be a fine. If you look at the tape, he did turn his shoulder, albeit, not enough. It is impossible to not have your head in front of your shoulders.
    Had Clark squared up and prepared to receive the on-coming ball carrier, he would have gotten bowled over. Not only that, but McGahee lowered his helmet, as most ball-carriers do, to brace for the hit or to run over the tackler. If Clark stood his ground, and let McGahee, who also led with his helmet, run into him, Clark could be the one in worse shape. Then should McGahee be fined for leading with his helmet.
    There was only one play in which a defender led with his helmet that game and it was Haloti Nagta putting his head right into Roethlisberger’s chest as he was releasing the ball. But you didn’t point that out.

  26. Not sure he “launched”. Also. Mcg could have made it worse.
    It is entirely possible for incidental helmet-2-helmet contact to primarily really whack a neck.
    Which should give one pause. A just right neck hit can kill ya just as soon as a just right head hit can.
    Fine ok.
    Let it go after that.

  27. florio ure an idiot, mcgahee clearly had time to see clark running at him, im not steeler fan by any chance and i love mcgahee bein from the U and all but he had a chance to see clark coming, he had the ball and made 2 or 3 steps and was lookin forward so ryan clark had all the reason in the world to hit him like he did.

  28. this is great Florio! all the refs have to do now is to ask the player (who probably has a concussion and doesn’t remember anyway) whether or not he saw the guy coming. maybe we can do away with refs completely and just run a “no harm no foul” league… i want you to know, i read your site regularly, respect most of what you do, and that this is the first time i’ve felt obligated to register a username so i can tell you simply, “to give it a rest.”

  29. Florio, you’re way off on this one. First of all, Willis had fully completed turning around after the catch and actually a player with better moves and reflexes certainly would have avoided this hit alltogether, you can see for a split second where he could have made a move.
    Secondly, Clark didn’t “ram, butt, or spear him”. Just because there was some helmet to helmet contact doesn’t mean it was a spearing motion, where the defender would be launching himself parallel to the ground, not mearly bent over.
    And lastly, for someone who always talks about “the spirt of the rule” the text you cited from the rulebook clearly does not prohibit the type of hit that occurred.
    In fact many fans, like myself, live to see these kinds of hits, and they’ve already put flags on the QBs and WRs, lets not do it to the RBs too.

  30. Is this the third time Florio has whined about this? Yet, each time the comments overwhelmingly show that he is the clear minority. Since your readers obviously think you are showing bias, perhaps you may want to consider dropping the matter or risk losing readers.

  31. McGahee doesn’t put his head down after the catch and he gets the wind knocked out of him.
    It was a clean hit.
    Next?

  32. Way to go Florio. Trading page views to smear a damn good football player making a clean hit. You should at least throw Vox part of the byline as half that crap came from his posts. And it was just as wrong then, though that’s to be expected in his case.

  33. Florio really needs to stop whining like a Ravens fan. Hey Mike they got you on the payroll over there?

  34. why do keep going on about something when you have been proven wrong?anybody who the play saw it was brutal but clean hit and the league agreed now shut up and let it go for gods sake!you are wrong so deal with it already!

  35. Florio, I actually defend you most of the time, but if you can’t see he was leading with his shoulder, you need better glasses….. the only reason there was helmet to helmet contact was McGahee changed HIS position…. Clark definitely was leading with the shoulder and unfortunately, with McGahee changing the way he was looking, the helmets collided…..

  36. Whatever it is called, it is overly dangerous to hit a guy in the face while he is trying to catch a ball. The defender should have to make a play on the ball, and not try to take the ball carrier’s head off. That was not the only hit like that in this game, and last week Ray put a shot on a Fb that was looking that may not have been safe or technically legal. That has always been football, but we are talking about peoples lives here not just fun and games. I do not know football would look without helmet collisons, and I do not even know if it is impossible to make it much safer, but there were and are a lot of hits that are clearly helmet to helmet that did not have to be. The defender had every opportunity to come in high or low, and went for the head shot, a lot more intently than the guy did on Boldin.

  37. Fruitio….will ya let it rest already? If you want to watch a girls sport…go ahead.
    Since the FRONT of MCGAHEE’s helmet made contact with the SIDE of CLARK’s helmet….please explain to everyone HOW Clark was ‘leading with his helmet’???

  38. as a coach and a guy who played football for more than half his life…that guy led with his head…on top of it he was looking at the ground and hit him with the top of his head…which is spearing…he did the exact opposite of how coaches show kids how to tackle since the time they were 7…eyes up, see what your hitting and use your shoulder and wrap…he dropped his head and led with the crown of his helmet into mcgahee’s head…sorry but thats a penalty (and im not a ravens fan)

  39. Is this a publicity stunt Florio? Whining about a perfectly legal hit is not the way to go. If you want more people visiting your site, I suggest making it look nicer. I mean for christ’s sake the main page looks so damn ugly I can’t tell if my computer is being infected with spyware or what.

  40. I agree with MattR…next we’ll have running backs wearing blindfolds running down the field and nobody will be able to hit them because they are, in Florio’s definition, defenseless. Utterly ridiculous. Ryan Clark was right in front of him when he turned around, if he did not see him…well, something else is wrong.
    Also, Clark led the hit with his shoulder but Willie decided to brace for the hit and ended up ducking, causing a head to head collision that neither should be at fault for. There is no way to prove it was intentional, otherwise, I am sure the league would view it differently.

  41. andyreid says:
    January 19th, 2009 at 9:40 pm
    Dirty play by a dirty player
    ___________________________
    PhillyVox!
    If someone cut you you’d bleed Summers Eve.

  42. There’s one of two roads we can take here…either require that defensive players play at half speed and/or play two hand touch, OR we need to realize that football is a COLLISION, not contact, sport, and when guys are running full speed at each other injuries will occur.

  43. Are you kidding me Florio? You are all over this hit but coveniently ignore the Bart Scott helmet-to-helmet hit on Willie Parker? So, Clark should be fined b/c Willis got knocked out? Face it – the media’s darling D get owned and the real #1 D was knockin’ people out.

  44. I think Clark meant to put his helmet on the guy (not necessarily his head), and unfortunately, he hit him on the head. was a helmet-to-helmet hit intentional, i don’t think so. but that is what happened. and it happened because clark led with his helmet. in the moment before the impact, clark pulled his arms into his own body to hit mcgahee with his shoulder AND helmet. should he be fined or suspended, i don’t know. the bigger question, if you care about players becoming paralyzed, is should the NFL enforce an existing rule or enact a new one that defines what a TACKLE is. i for one believe a tackle is when a player leads with his HANDS AND ARMS to attempt to bring down the ball carrier. until football leagues, from the NFL down to Pop Warner, do so, these types of hits will continue.
    finally, whether you agree with Florio or not, I have to say that this was one of his most cogent and logically couched arguements on a while, and I appreciate the excellent writing and argument.

  45. To anybody who says Ryan led with his shoulder, please answer these two questions:
    1) How did Clark’s head get there first?
    2) Why was Clark’s head down and facing the ground at the point of contact? If he’s leading with his shoulder then his his head has to be up and facing the runner. Clark is looking at the ground.

  46. Florio, you are blurring the lines between two distinct concepts. You state that “the relevant provision of the rule book doesn’t limit the concept of helmet-to-helmet hits to defenseless players only”, but then follow it up by citing a rule prohibiting a player from “using any part of a player’s helmet … or facemask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily.” Unnecessarily using the helmet to butt, spear, or ram any part of an opponent’s body, not just the helmet, is prohibited by this provision. Therefore, this provision should not be cited to determine the legality of a helmet-to-helmet collision (presumably that is covered elsewhere in the rulebooks?), and the fact that they went face-to-face is irrelevant to its application.
    This provision should address all instances where a player leads with the helmet, which you argue that Clark did.
    Prohibiting only “unnecessary” blows with the helmet implies that circumstances exist where leading with the helmet would be necessary or at least appropriate. The only definition given for “unnecessary” is when the hittee is deemed to be defenseless, and yes, the list provded is not all-inclusive. One could argue, though, that the examples provided are intended more to protect players whose bodies are currently in positions that increase their risk of injury (e.g. a QB in the throwing motion, a receiver in the process of catching a pass, or a player already in the grasp or on the ground) than a ball carrier running upright in the middle of the field – whether he happens to be looking in the direction of the tackler or not.

  47. Hey Florio
    I see where can can report a comment as inappropriate. Is there anyway we can mark your original post as inappropriate? When you get an itch up your ass you must scratch it till it bleeds.

  48. Florio-
    You run a great site & service here. For the most part, your insights are interesting & generally accurate.
    Sometimes your wrong. Football is a violent game. It’s amazing that we don’t see more collisions like the one last night. That was a just hit with an ugly result — but that doesn’t make for an interesting post. Please don’t become one of those…

  49. Just imagine the reaction of HOF Defenders after reading this whiny post from Florio.
    (e.g., not ie- Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, Jack Lambert, Deacon Jones, Ronnie Lott, Lawrence Taylor etc..)
    Yet another post that proves that Florio doesn’t understand football.

  50. “Third, contrary to what the spokesman told Reiss, defenseless players are not by definition only “a receiver in the process of making a catch or a quarterback in the act of passing.” The rule sets forth three specific other examples of defenselessness: a runner in the grasp of a tackler, a player fielding a kick or a punt, and a player on the ground.”
    “A runner in the grasp of a tackler.”
    So why no flag on the hit that Dawkins put on Adrian Peterson wildcard weekend which knocked Peterson out of the game for a few plays? Fortunately, not forever… despite Dawkins effort to cripple him.
    Here’s a clip of it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc-q4b08tzY

  51. Nobody cares, Florio, nobody cares.
    Football players assume the risk of playing a dangerous game.

  52. BlackandGoldinRI says: Maybe the officials should all be lawyers…
    Ed Hochuli is a lawyer. Maybe he should become the new head of officiating.

  53. This is a useless topic. Two players engaged in the violent game of football run into each other at top speed, both get knocked silly…one sillier than the other. Under those circumstances it is impossible to control how the impact occurs. Florio is just engaging in “shyster BS” which is really his stock and trade. It is over and done with, and nothing more will come of it.
    Let Florio stand over that horse and beat it by hinself, because…..it is going nowhere!

  54. “a league spokesman says that the hit was clean.
    Seriously.”
    You said it. Can we drop it now?

  55. He’s just doing this to get a rise out of Steelers fans because of their large fan base. His unbiased journalism went out the window a couple years ago. Now everything is about getting hits to this site.
    Simms said it was clean, the NFL official said it was clean, every ESPN talking head on TV today said it was clean… The only people disagreeing are some, not all, Ravens fans, Florio, and these “coaches” that keep posting on here as if they are football geniuses. The fact is Clark was making a play to secure his team a spot in the Super Bowl. If you cannot handle the violence, then please stop watching it. The Steelers and Ravens are two of the most violent teams in the NFL. I don’t hear any Ravens players or personnel complaining because they know damn well they have been on the giving end of those kinds of hits plenty of times. This is an old-school type of rivalry that you will not get between any two other teams.

  56. What did you guys think about the music playing in the background while McGahee was laying on the field?

  57. i dont see the big fuss unless your a ravens fan.
    1- He led with his shoulder right under the chin
    2- The timing was perfect
    3- 99 % of the population wouldnt miss a chance to flaten Mcgahee

  58. I don’t think that you fully analyzed the rule.
    First of all, note the use of terms of art in describing the nature of the contact. Instead of forbidding generic “hitting” or “striking” with the helmet, the rule explicitly applies only to the narrower concepts of butting, spearing, or ramming. “Spearing” is hitting with the crown of the helmet, but what exactly constitutes “butting” and “ramming”? If Clark’s helmet contact did not constitute “spearing, butting, or ramming,” then his contact did not violate this rule.
    Secondly, the type of punishable contact is further limited by the qualifiers “violent” and “unnecessary.” The term “violent” is problematic. It’s either a redundancy (after all, how can spearing someone not be “violent” in the general sense of the term?) or it is a term of art within the NFL rules. Given that you generally don’t read redundancy into a rule, you have to assume that in this context “violent” has a meaning that is more specific than the general usage. It seems to imply ill intent, but, without more info, we can’t be sure. The other term, unnecessary, is easier to understand- it seems to connote a player going out of his way to butt, spear, or ram another. The implication of this second set of qualifiers is that a player can in fact butt, spear, or ram another player so long as that action is necessary and is not “violent” (per the NFL definition).
    The final qualifier is that the officials shall be more apt to penalize contact if it is made against players in “virtually defenseless postures.” In other words, a ram, but, or spear that would not be considered “violent” or “unnecessary” if made against a prepared player might be considered “violent” or “unnecessary” if made against a player in a “virtually defenseless posture.” The list included to help define “vdp”, though admittedly not all-inclusive, does not seem to include a ball carrier in the open field in the normal course of advancing the football.
    By the letter of the rule, Clark only broke this rule if his helmet contact constituted violent or unnecessary butting, spearing, or ramming. If it wasn’t butting, spearing, or ramming, or if it wasn’t violent or unnecessary, then the hit was within the rules. McGahee’s defensibility status only comes into play in making the violent/unnecessary determination. If McGahee was defenseless, then there’s a greater weight in favor of declaring the contact violent or unnecessary.
    Long story short, this rule is pretty ambiguous. It is practically impossible to apply by the letter without clarifying the issues that I raised. The spirit of the rule seems to require that the striking player do so with malicious intent. Clark was clearly trying to turn when he hit. The refs apparently didn’t consider McGahee to be defenseless, so they didn’t add in the aggravating factor when making their determination of violence/ necessity. Given the ambiguous nature of the rule, I think the refs acted reasonably in not penalizing the hit, and Clark shouldn’t be fined.

  59. From the time that football players are 9 years old coaches at every level praise and in some cases worship a player who can hit hard. That is why some players especially on defense wind up getting mulitmillion dollar contracts because they can hit. Coaches teach it all the time. Hit a receiver hard and the next time he goes for a catch he will be thinking about where that defender is and possibly lose the catch to catch a peek at where the defender is. Football is already wussied to point of I cant stand it sometimes. Dont hit this guy here and dont hit this guy here dont hit him like that or like this enough already IT IS FOOTBALL. It’s like boxers not being able to hit an opponent in the face. How dumb would that be. It is football, not table tennis ( no offense to table tennis ) There is and should be big hits in football. Duing a game watch when a defensive player puts a mind blowing hit on an opponent and watch the his head coach pat him on the back or butt when he comes off the field. To play owners and coaches want a player who can make a good hit. End of story. There should be no fine and definitely not a rule that would fine or cost a team a penalty over hit. And I am not talking about late hits. Some of those can be cheap shots. But Clark was tackling a running back who had made the catch several seconds prior to having any contact with him.

  60. Florio, sometimes I think you’re a pretty good guy and have your shit together, but other times you raise your ugly “lawyer head” and spoil everything.

  61. Florio, you seriously need to just shut up and stick to RUMORS from your so-called sources (like the janitor who works at the Steelers facility or whatever).
    Every time you try to chime in on football matters you just reveal yourself to be the pencil-neck geek that you are.
    That tackle was a textbook clean tackle. At the last second both players shifted a little which led to their helmets making contact. It is what it is.
    There’s a big difference between a clean tackle in which there’s helmet-to-helmet contact, and flat out spearing a guy with your helmet.
    If you knew anything about football or had ever played football at a meaningful level, you would know this.
    God, am I tired of all these dorks like Florio and JIM ROME who have a little pulpit with which to spew their idiocy about a subject that they don’t know about.

  62. quagmate says:
    January 19th, 2009 at 9:51 pm
    Led with his shoulder is BS. He put his head down, he aimed at the player, he wasn’t looking up. Anybody who has played football knows you tackle with your face into the player. Todays players aim their helmet at the player and fire. It was called spearing in the HS and College and it only goes to the absolute ignorance the average fan has to the game. It should be a penalty every time a player puts his face down and aims.
    ____________________
    can anyone explain how you “put your head down” and then aim? the running back (or receiver for that matter) is running full speed, and according to you, the defender looks down at the ground, and the runner can’t avoid a guy who is looking at the ground???
    florio, it’s clear you have some sort of bias. the ref made a call with the catch/no catch for santonio holmes, and you say we have to go with it because his(the ref’s) is the only opinion that counts. but when the ref made this call, we don’t go with it? you can’t have it both ways.

  63. There you go. The NFL says the hit was legal. Every former and current NFL player I’ve heard today says it was legal as well. Eat it Florio.

  64. I think its hard to say whether the defender was intentionally using his helmet or not, but there was clearly contact and the rule seems a bit confusing. I think Mcgahee’s head moving down was a result of the impending helmet contact and not a cause for it. Whether he moved his head or not, he was gonna get the same result. Good post, id like to see more clarification on the rule.

  65. 1st – He wasn’t a defenseless player. He had complete control of the ball and had taken at least 3 steps before contact was made. 2 steps are a football move.
    2nd – Clark lead with his left shoulder.
    3rd – You complain about being consistent when refs make bad calls. What about the late hits on Ben.
    4th – Some people are saying he launched himself. It is not illegal for a player to leave his feet when making a tackle. Look it up.
    5th – This is football. Players get hit. Should we put everyone in dresses? They know the risks when they walk on the field. That is why they get paid millions.

  66. You keep acting like the back was some innocent victim. He saw the tackle coming and instead of trying to avoid it by an attempt at juking or going to the ground, he lowered his pads and dropped his head to deliver a blow to the defensive back whom he outweighed. In short, he tried the same thing. Only he lost.
    So, cry all you want, the hit was clean. The DB didn’t lead with his helmet. And, in the way of football, if anyone initiated the “helmet-to-helmet” contact it was the offensive player who ducked in order to gain leverage on the tackle which he was, no doubt, trying to break.
    So drop it. Get your panties in a wad about something else.

  67. I don’t like the Ravens, but that was a dirty hit. He lead with his shoulder and with his head down which is spearing. He also left his feet and launched into the RB. If it was the other way around, the NFL would have apologized after the game and asked Rooney for forgiveness. Instead we will get Pierra twisting whatever gray area to cover the no call. Certain teams get treated differently and will as long as the NFL gets it market share rating and merchandising dollars.

  68. I think this post is equal parts egotism and fanning the flames.
    You’re obviously sticking to your (incorrect) guns from the first post. You didn’t know the rules then, and now you’re trying to interpret the words in order to justify your point, instead of actually reading the rules.
    McGahee was not defenseless. That term is used for players who have no chance to make a move to defend themselves, hence the term defenceless. Quarterbacks fall into that category since they are typically stationary and have a reasonable expectation of safety when throwing the football. Receivers (inlcuding RBs, TEs, etc) who are in the act of catching the football are “defenseless” since they can’t move and still catch the football.
    The mere fact that McGahee *fumbled* and it was not an incomplete pass means beyond a doubt that McGahee was not in the act of catching the football.
    You used a humorous line in your article to defend your point. You thought it was so strong that it deserved it’s own one sentence paragraph. “Such as a player who doesn’t see it coming.” Using that silly definition, offensive players who get laid out on interception returns are “defenseless” since they often aren’t practiced enough “to keep their head on a swivel.” As we all know, however, those de-cleaters are legal, despite the offensive players not seeing the hit coming.
    If McGahee did not make that football move to prepare himself for the hit, there wouldn’t have been helmet-to-helmet contact. Clark was likely trying to de-cleat McGahee (legally) and dislodge the ball by sticking his helmet on it. McGahee’s football move changed that positioning, resulting in the devastating hit that was.

  69. Ok, let’s put this to bed. He wasn’t defenseless, he saw it coming, that’s why the RB put his head down at the same time as the hit. That is what RB’s do when they are trying to gain more yards. Look at Hightower in the AZ game. He is running up the gut and puts his head down to try and get in the endzone by running through the player in his way. It was such a hard hit by the RB that when he got up, his nice new white helmet had a big green smear on it from the Eagle helmet he just pummeled. That is what RB’s do. End of story!

  70. What part of Clark’s helmet contacted Willis … facemask or crown of the helmet?
    No neither, it was the side of his helmet. Discribe a form tackle and then watch what Clark did. Square up, get your head infront or across the runners path and drive through with a shoulder … the only part missing is to wrap up.
    The Scott hit on Parker was no different other than the speed and both players getting up quicker.
    Lots of hard hits in that game … PFT must need some “hits”

  71. As far as launching this should sound familiar to those that remember the Welker ‘controversy’.
    “A lot of people think it’s a foul to leave your feet,” Pereira said. “Launching is not a foul. There is nothing in the rulebook that states that at all. It’s a misconception people have.
    “It is a foul to hit with your helmet against a defenseless receiver. It is a foul to throw a forearm into the neck or head area of your opponent. I don’t think either of those things happened. I’m not a fan of those high hits but if you do it with your shoulder you’re OK”
    If you’re wondering about the source:
    http://www.profootballtalk.com/2008/12/03/no-fine-for-clark/

  72. What are you thinking Florio, asking the league to enforce rules meant to prevent serious injuries players. Players need to lead with the crown of their helmet so they can be featured on Jacked Up.
    The odds that they will be paralyzed are tiny, we demand to be entertained.
    And yes, that is sarcasm.

  73. This is simple. Much like the face-masking rule, there are two levels to the helmet-to-helmet rule.
    Level 2, the severe infraction level, is when there is helmet-to-helmet contact with a player in a defenseless position: a QB throwing, a receiver in the act of catching, or a kick returner fielding. There is a heightened level of protection for these acts.
    Level 1 allows incidental helmet-to-helmet contact, but forbids spearing. A runner running down the field, whether a pure run or running after securing the ball following the catch, gets lesser protection. Here’s what Mr. Florio forgets: the mere fact of running an offensive play is not enough. Otherwise, you wouldn’t need these two levels of scrutiny. All offenses players would get to put on make-up, skirts and stilettos and would then be untouchable.
    McGahee had clearly secured the ball and was no longer in the act of catching. Otherwise, the call would’ve been incomplete pass, not fumble, following the hit. He was a runner at that point and not entitled to Level 2 protection. He saw the hit coming, by the way, that’s why he ducked his head.
    You can argue that Ryan Clark led with his helmet and this was spearing. The evidence is inconclusive. I saw Clark leaning into the hit; other folks think this was “launching.” I saw Clark on his toes, and not leaving the ground until the hit was completed, but the game was moving awfully fast. But incidental helmet-to-helmet contact is not spearing. And you cannot reasonably argue that the incidental helmet-to-helmet contact alone means he should’ve been flaggef, fined and suspended.

  74. Damn Florio, you are just hell bent on making yourself look like a fool!
    The youtube video is right here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19ev8WCNtpU. Look at McGahee’s body position at the beginning of second 13 (pre-hit). His head is up and seems to be looking straight at Clark. As you go forward, he then lowers his head as he is about to be hit. Why does he lower his head? Because he sees Clark coming and knows he is about to be hit…and hard. He reacts to the coming hit meaning (contrary to what he says) he sees it. This also means he is not defenseless. Going back to the beginning of second 13. Look at Clark’s body position. He is leading with his shoulder and his helmet level is shoulder pad high. McGahee lowers his helmet to Clark’s level. In fact the top of McGahee’s helmet hits the side of Clark’s.
    BTW…hitting with the top of one’s helmet is absolutely a penalty. no twisting and talking and misinterpreting your way into it. Give it up, your looking worse with each post.

  75. Mike Florio…you’re either VERY biased, or an idiot. I’m assuming that you’re not an idiot. And you’re soooo of the mark with this one. My question is: who gets the penalty? Clark or McGahee? Is it only defensive players?
    Watch just about ANY running play and the running back lowers his helmet and usually makes contact with the defensive player’s helmet. So every play should be a penalty?
    I thought media reports were supposed to be impartial. This seems like an attempt to get some controversy, but all I feel is disappointment.

  76. So let’s summarize about 90% of the posts that disagree with Florio here.
    “It’s the Steelers so it shouldn’t be called. Go Steelers! woo-woo!”
    Anyone but a complete moron could see that the players were taking head shots at each other the entire game. It was just a matter of time before one player or the other got carted off the field. The refs never warned the players, never threw a flag, never made any attempt to stop the head hunting.
    That is criminal. If a player gets paralyzed or killed in a game like this in which the refs completely fail to enforce their own rules that protect players from injury than the NFL and the refs themselves are liable for failing to maintain a safe work environment. They could, and should, get sued for many millions.
    I love hard hits. But hard hits to the torso and attempts to break another person’s spine are two completely different things.
    This hit was completely illegal and made with the intent to seriously injure another player. It was a chickenshit thing for a defensive player to do when he knows he won’t face retaliation.
    But there were so many of these hits by both teams meant to injure that I think that it was tit-for-tat the whole game. You attempt to injure our RB, and we will do the same to your RB.
    The refs completely failed to control the game and once again showed why the NFL has to get rid of that incompetent Periera. It is simply inexcusable at any level for the refs to allow the game to degenerate to the point that players are free to attempt to kill each other.
    Note that I don’t think this impacted the game itself. Pittsburgh clearly outplayed the Ravens and deserved to win. But I don’t want to be a fan of a sport in which players are regularly killed and paralyzed unnecessarily.
    By the refs not controlling the game, the players take matters into their own hands. If I was Clark, I would be genuinely surprised if my knee survived the first Steeler -Raven game next year.

  77. no penalty. no fine. no dirty hit. give it up florio. you lost this one. proofs in the court of public opinion. that and the official opinion of the nfl. get over it. blow into your left hand thumb. maybe it will help inflate your cahones a bit.
    .

  78. That’s why a football player is coached as a fundamental principal to get lower than the other guy. This is such a double standard. WHy don’t you back up the “defenseless” DB’s when they’re caught out of position getting ran over by Brandon Jacobs. OR the LB’s getting “crack-backed” from a blindside motioning WR.
    McGahee simply lost the “heads-up” battle. Maybe he should have dove to avoid the collision rather than try to drop his head and absorb the hit. But that’s the type of player he is. I bet if he looked at the tape he wouldn’t beleive it was a cheap shot. In fact if he didn’t get hurt on the play, it would have been the type of hit shown in slow motion during team meetings. I’m just sayin.

  79. I went back and reveiwed the hit to see whether Clark was leading with his shoulder or McGahee ducked into it and both arguments are weak.
    First, Clark lept into the hit and he was clearly going high with both his shoulder and helmet. At the very least he was reckless at worst (and what looks to be the case) he was head hunting. Second, the duck that McGahee allegedly made was nothing more than him tucking his chin into his chest. There was no way for McGahee to avoid the helmet to helmet contact. This is an important fact, because it logically means that the entire responsiblity for the hit lies with Clark.
    Finally, by comparison, this hit looks worse (meaning the evidence more strongly suggests intent) than the Boldin hit from earlier this year.
    Florio is correct. You do the crime, you do the time. Suspend Clark for at least a game.

  80. 100% serious right now… if you didn’t have one breaking story every four months i would never visit this website. You whine about things league officials tell you you’re wrong about. Deliver more news and less whiny opinion. It means nothing.

  81. if I recall…off. players hold onto the ball, def. players try to knock the ball loose…what am I missing on this play. Thats is what a def. back is supposed to do…GET OVER IT PEOPLE

  82. Rut-ro, I think this is going to become another “poison pill” crusade. 😉
    If so, please add Brian Dawkins as a co-defendant. His highlight reel from the playoffs consists entirely of spearing ballcarriers who are already down.

  83. I guess in defense of Florio, I have to say that I’ve seen lesser helmet-to-helmet contact draw a significant fine.
    It was just a bad break for Willis to drop his head when he did.
    But I am definitely still steamed about the lowbrow move of playing party music while a dude is stretched out motionless on the field. Heartless I tell you.

  84. And they rocked party music while he was down on the ground getting worked on. Karma.. paging Mr. Bad Karma to the courtesy desk.

  85. What about the fact that Clark got hit on the side of his helmet while McGahee actually got hit on the top/front of his helmet. Doesn’t that suggest that McGahee actually lead with his helmet rather than Clark. Who leads with the side of their head? Shouldn’t McGahee get fined if anyone?

  86. You are an idiot! He was leading with his shoulder and happened to make helmet to helmet contact. Watch it without a biased eye bitch.

  87. Florio is on the right track here…..the helmet should have been up, not down when he hit McGahee to avoid the penalty. The idea is to protect the players from injury, and dropping the head and hitting with the top, or crown of the helmet is what should be penalized. The defender did not make a good hit, because he dropped his head and launched himself at McGahee. It was obviously a big play, and deserves to be discussed at places like this. Just because this play happens a lot and is not called does not mean it is legal, and if the league starts penalizing teams who tackle so recklessly, maybe the injuries would be reduces. Injuries kill the NFL every year, and make lady luck the most important roster spot on the team.

  88. hey Florio, what about the hit Sweed put on Cory Ivy? He never saw it coming. as a Steeler fan I would say Ivy was more defenseless than Willis was. At least Willis saw it coming. You picked the wrong horse to back in this race Florio.I might have said you had a point if you called the Sweed hit out, but you stuck you foot in it again as usual. Get over it. The Steelers are going to the Big Game AGAIN!!!! And a 6rth ring is coming. Both hits were unbelievable and thats why we watch the game!! Nuff said

  89. Willis McGahee Is Just Fine
    A Short Play
    Cast Of Characters
    Ben “Big Ben” Roethlisberger
    Willie McGinest and D’Qwell Jackson, The Spinal Concussion Twins
    Willis McGahee
    Ryan Clark
    Scene One:
    BBBR: Driven to the ground with ruthless, defenseless helmet-to-helmet contact by Willie McGinest and coincident kneecapping by D’Qwell Jackson. No flag. BBBR facemask removed and strapped to backboard. Diagnosis: spinal concussion. PFT outcry: 0
    Scene Two:
    Willis McGahee driven to ground by accidental helmet-to-helmet contact by Ryan Clark on a perfectly legal attempt to tackle. Willis McGahee facemask removed and strapped to backboard. PFT outcry: WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH.
    It’s not anti-Steeler bias, it’s pussy-football bias. Biased against the Steelers, because they don’t play pussy football. Direct your attention eslewhere.

  90. morganja says:
    January 20th, 2009 at 12:14 am
    So let’s summarize about 90% of the posts that disagree with Florio here.
    “It’s the Steelers so it shouldn’t be called. Go Steelers! woo-woo!”
    Anyone but a complete moron could see that the players were taking head shots at each other the entire game. It was just a matter of time before one player or the other got carted off the field. The refs never warned the players, never threw a flag, never made any attempt to stop the head hunting.
    That is criminal. If a player gets paralyzed or killed in a game like this in which the refs completely fail to enforce their own rules that protect players from injury than the NFL and the refs themselves are liable for failing to maintain a safe work environment. They could, and should, get sued for many millions.
    I love hard hits. But hard hits to the torso and attempts to break another person’s spine are two completely different things.
    This hit was completely illegal and made with the intent to seriously injure another player. It was a chickenshit thing for a defensive player to do when he knows he won’t face retaliation.
    But there were so many of these hits by both teams meant to injure that I think that it was tit-for-tat the whole game. You attempt to injure our RB, and we will do the same to your RB.
    The refs completely failed to control the game and once again showed why the NFL has to get rid of that incompetent Periera. It is simply inexcusable at any level for the refs to allow the game to degenerate to the point that players are free to attempt to kill each other.
    Note that I don’t think this impacted the game itself. Pittsburgh clearly outplayed the Ravens and deserved to win. But I don’t want to be a fan of a sport in which players are regularly killed and paralyzed unnecessarily.
    By the refs not controlling the game, the players take matters into their own hands. If I was Clark, I would be genuinely surprised if my knee survived the first Steeler -Raven game next year.
    ____________________________
    There has been no effort to make this a Steelers issue. When Santonio Holmes got blown up on an identical hit as the Welker it I cannot recall a single Steelers fan that called for it to be penalty. It’ football and people tackle each other. Remember Ronnie Lott? Safeties are supposed to hit people. McGahee was not defenseless, he lowered himself into it to run over Clark. I guess if McGahee is a millisecond earlier, gains leverage and knocks Clark over it’s just good football. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, but I don’t think your even close on this one.

  91. I used to love this site. Florio used to actually be on top of things with the rumor mill. When Saban bolted Miami, Florio was all over that. When Bradshaw got killed, Florio…um,oops. Anyhow it’s just becoming Florios opinion mill when something goes against the Ravens. Remeber how long he beat the drum when Holmes scored the game winning TD? This site sucks anymore. But I did love his opinion on the ESPN HGH piece.Which I never would have heard about otherwise ;).

  92. Predictable! News Flash… this game was billed as a hard hitting slug fest… don’t cry because it lived up to it’s billing. That hit was legal and has been for nearly a century. Sorry girls, cry me a river!
    The rules are for intent to injure. They shouldn’t be in place to take away from the physical nature of the game. Another new’s flash… sometimes, helmets will collide.
    That was Play-off football.
    The Steelers are in SUPER BOWL SEVEN!

  93. It is possible that the intent was to lead with the shoulder. Again, intent cannot be officiated. It was unfortunate either way.
    The main thing that should be looked at, as a defender is attempting to make a tackle, are two areas:
    Were the arms extended in an effort to tackle the ball carrier?
    Did the defender attempt to tackle the carrier on his lower body, or did the defender stay fairly high?
    In this case, the defenders arms stayed at his side and he went high. Again, he may have intended to lead with the shoulder, but he was making no attempt to tackle…his attempt to hit. Big difference.

  94. How is this hit any different than the one in Cincinnati when Cedrick Benson lowered his head and Polamalu came in across and they had helmet to helmet contact? There was no cry for a fine on that play! Why is there no uproar about a late hit on Ben in the 2nd qtr when he rolled left and threw the ball away and the Raven Dback took 2 steps and hit him from behind? I understand the safety of the players should be emphasized but from the time you start playing football you are taught to bring your head in front of the ball carrier and hit with your shoulder and wrap your arms. Essentially your head will always be in front.

  95. Would the opinions here be the same if Ray Lewis had hit Willie Parker like that?
    It doesn’t matter what Clark’s intent was, or if McGahee was defenseless…if the crown hits it should be a flag.
    There are flags for a lot less – e.g., illegal hands to the face. If that is a foul this should have been also.

  96. Both players ducked their heads/helmets just as the hit/tackle happened. It was not intentional. Look at the collision again in both real time and slow motion. I am not a fan of either team.
    It was brutal game. What about all the alleged bounties from the Ravens on the Steelers?

  97. Everyone is still missing the point on what helmet-to-helmet really is. McGahee was NOT in a defenseless position, so helmet-to-helmet does not apply. Period. Done. Over.
    Take a look, just about every play helmets clink together. It’s not about two helmets hitting each other; it’s about a “defenseless” player and McGahee was NOT in a defenseless position!
    I love the Ravens fans who are all about retaliation here. They would have celebrated if that had been Ward. At least it was during the play, not after the play as the Ravens often hit people like they did the Steelers QB.

  98. Florio proves every single day on this site how much he hates the Steelers. He is blatant about his hatred for the team that routinely beats his beloved Ravens. Not only that but it makes him look silly and out-of-touch when his pre-season predictions are so far off (Hey Mike, what was your pre-season prediction for the Steelers?). This is just further evidence of his bias (he no longer even attempts to hide it) and is the first of many attempts over the next few weeks to taint the Steelers trip to the Super Bowl and divert attention away from the excellent season they’ve had. It makes him furious….he can’t stand it! Get a life Florio!

  99. Florio, you are now starting to sound more like the guys from ESPN…trying to make people see things YOUR WAY. The hit was vicious but he led with his shoulder and in the moment, body positions changed and THE HIT ocurred. You may be getting a little bigger in your own mind, Florio, than what you really are (yeah, you do get the best inside info on the happenings of the NFL but that does not make you Mr. Know-It-All as you seem to be starting to think). Get off your high-horse and call the freaking vicious tackle what it was…a DAMN GOOD PLAY!!! Get off your ESPN-esque high-horse, Florio. Go Steelers!!! Kick that Cardinal tail for #6 (yeah, I admit my loyalties).

  100. Most of the responses in this topic only serve as another example of the old Internet adage: Pure drivel drives out ordinary drivel.
    Two points on this issue. One is that there is a correct technique to tackling. Clark didn’t use it. Regardless of whether or not there was helmet to helmet contact, the point is that Clark clearly used a technique which is intended to injure the opposing player. That should be at a minimum a flag and a fine.
    Second point is that NFL rules are not laws. The NFL has a long history of interpreting their rules. For example, the rule on facemasks hasn’t changed, but the interpretation of it changed this year. Previously, running backs could do just about anything to a tacklers facemask and it wasn’t a penalty, but this year they changed the interpretation. So even if the rule is written a certain way, the NFL is free to interpret it any way they want.

  101. Its the Steelers so the refs will look the other way.
    Now that the NFL got its wish with the Steelers in the Superbowl, I wonder if the refs will try to hand them another title? (or steal it if you are a Seattle fan)

  102. How come with all this “spearing” talk going on no one has EVER brought up Brian Dawkins?
    That guy dives at downed players all the time and leads with his head, normally aiming for their backs. He does it EVERY play that he is around and within 1-2 seconds of the tackle.

  103. It is posts like these and your views on certain subjects that make me not want to come to your site. Dude, if you continue on this path people are really going to stop coming on. You make yourself sound like a disgruntled fan or bettor every time you make your personal opinions known despite the facts refuting your claims. In this case, everyone has seen the play…we all saw him turn his body and lean in with his shoulder and it was clean. Keep up the nonsensical posts and you will lose one more fan!

  104. andyreid says:
    January 19th, 2009 at 9:40 pm
    Dirty play by a dirty player
    ————————–
    You talking about your boy Demps again?

  105. So now a player can’t make a “hit”… they have to “tackle”?
    Some of you need to stick to baseball. Stop trying to ruin football.

  106. Pay attention now andyreid:
    Clark hit him with his SHOULDER — WHILE THE PLAY WAS IN PROGRESS.
    The Eagle that hit Warner is the guy who should be suspended for a game or two next season. That was AFTER the play, and was probably the dirtiest hit ever.

  107. 5th: Florio gets pwned.
    Proving two things, one you’re openly biased.. and two, it’s not that hard to practice law in WV.
    wonder if baltimore will be more careful about placing bounties on ppl and telling fans to follow steeler fans into the bathroom and beat them up after this slobber knocker of a season?

  108. If this had been a wide receiver, there would have been a fine/suspension no questions asked, but since it was a running back, it’s a legal hit (where’s the logic here, was McGahee not a recever at that point in time???). Clark was trying to lay the haymaker that would make the crowd roar at the end of the game, and he should be penalized with a fine at an absolute minimum (honestly he should be suspended the Super Bowl for the hit). What I find hard to believe is the amount of people here that don’t believe he was leading with the helmet and making it a projectile.
    I have your back on this Florio, and if we asked Anquan he probably would be as well.

  109. So is Clark supposed to be able to read McGahee’s mind in order to decipher whether he should hit him because if he had read his mind he would have known that he wasn’t ready to be hit?
    Lawyer-speak is the reason we have guilty men walking free and innocent men behind bars. Florio seems to prefer it and it’s making him look like an amateur to the rest of the media. He acts like he embraces the role of the outsider but in reality there’s nothing he wants more than to be like them.
    And Florio… if you’re following the rules to the letter the league is going to have to dole out about 300 fines a week, because you see a guy using his helmet, or part of it, to make a tackle several times a game and you could easily make the case that most ball carriers were defenseless at the time. Bart Scott did it earlier in the game, maybe he should be fined as well?
    I think you really need to calm your accusations down. I really don’t think you realize how much of an influence you have and all it takes is one nutjob with a gun to begin targeting players who they feel “wronged” their team. You can say it’s not your responsibility to worry about such things, but if something like that were to happen you may be mentioned in a case because of these posts. I’m all for freedom of speech but this stuff is just irresponsible.
    But I hope the extra advertising dollars you bring in from the extra page views helps you sleep well at night.

  110. Hey Monger, maybe rather than make a tackle and let the Ravens convert a first down, Clark figured he would lead with his shoulder and go for a hard hit to knock the ball loose. I don’t see anything wrong with the later option. You’re right, he didn’t use the correct tackling technique because he wasn’t trying to wrap him up. That was a Ronnie Lott style hit. I really don’t think Clark was going to leave it Baltimore’s hands to decide the outcome… sound familiar Ray?

  111. Look monger posted something anti-Steelers and had no clue what he was talking about. I do at least appreciate consistency. Intent to injure…. GTFO of here. No matter what you post, I’ll enjoy that Super Bowl– how ’bout you. Thanks trying to drive out the ordinary drivel with that extraordinary drivel.

  112. I can’t believe this is still getting attention. How many things have to line up before this dies? No penalty. Simms says clean. Golic says clean. Carter says clean. NFL imposes no fine.
    Florio – when you were going on and on and on about the Holmes TD at the end of the 2nd Ravens/Steelers matchup, you made it a point to mention that Tom Jackson shared your opinion about the call.
    So, to be consistent with the standards you have previously set for yourself, can you provide us with another high-profile analyst who shares your opinion on this one? Because in the coverage I heard yesterday, it was unanimous. I’m not saying there isn’t anyone who agrees with you, but at this point, if someone does, I’d like to see their name and read their thoughts.

  113. Ryan Clark is trying to cause head and neck injuries. If a player comes into his area with his head turned, Clark launches himself for a collision at a level higher than the other player’s shoulders. Whether the technique used to inflict the intended injury is arguably “legal” is beside the point. Did it matter to Darryl Stingley?
    The rule Florio quoted is designed to protect players from these potentially devastaing injuries. It should be enforced.

  114. “Ryan Clark is trying to cause head and neck injuries. If a player comes into his area with his head turned, Clark launches himself for a collision at a level higher than the other player’s shoulders.”
    Please watch baseball if contact makes you squirm. And how you know Clark was “trying to cause head and neck injuries” is way beyond me. You must be a mind-reader. Dope.

  115. “What the hell is the difference between a running back who doesn’t see it coming and a receiver or a quarterback who don’t see it coming?”
    Just to clarify… a “defenseless”receiver is a player in the act of making a catch. Once that player takes two steps the freakin rule doesn’t apply. Means… get your head up and see who is ready to knock you the f out!
    Clark isn’t responsible for making the running back aware that he’s about to be hit.
    duh!

  116. Hey, CT Stiller, there’s nothing wrong with contact. Football is a collision sport. But the collisions should not be higher than the shoulders or at the knees or lower. And it’s not mind-reading to watch the same player repeatedly make the same move and conclude that he intends to do so.

  117. Hold on, folks– the point isn’t really that the hit was a nasty one, though that’s obviously what everyone’s thinking.
    The point is the NFL is inconsistent on these types of issues. Remember when Eric Smith was suspended for the hit on Boldin? Boldin’s trajectory was changed while in the air, which was why there was helmet-to-helmet contact. How is that any different to McGahee ducking into the helmet? (Incidentally, if McGahee’s reflexes are so good that he can flinch 6 inches– about the distance from a shoulder pad to the front of the helmet– in a third of a second…well, isn’t that kind of ridiculous? C’mon guys, be a little reasonable.)
    Earlier this season the NFL went through a mini-streak of fining every helmet-to-helmet contact, and then as the season went on it was like they stopped enforcing it entirely. It’s not fair to the players to be changing the rules around without telling anyone, and Florio’s point is that the letter of the rule was (1) misunderstood by the league spokesman and (2) technically should have resulted– or at least could have resulted– in a suspension of Clark.
    Personally, I thought the Smith hit was brutal, but perfectly clean. When I saw the Clark hit, I thought it was illegal, but only because they had said that Smith’s hit was illegal. So now I don’t know what the hell constitutes an illegal hit, since the letter of the rule seems to say that Clark’s hit was probably illegal, yet the league said otherwise. Apparently, the league can arbitrarily interpret the rules any way they want, even changing interpretations mid-season. Or someone loves the Steelers and doesn’t really care for the Jets, perhaps.
    All in all, good job, Florio, in pointing out inconsistencies like this one. I was similarly confused by the Clark non-suspension, not because I thought it was a bad hit, but because it seemed it seemed like it should have resulted in a suspension, based on other things the league office has said this year.

  118. That’s exactly it. The NFL changes the rules from game to game, quarter to quarter, play to play. This is one they don’t necesarily have to enforce every time it happens. But they need to ensure that the players aren’t out there deliberately trying to injure each other. Both teams were engaged in these dangerous hits all game long.
    Obviously most of the Steeler yahoos here have never played football and can’t tell the difference between someone tackling, putting a hard hit on someone, going for the fumble, or simply trying to injure another player.
    This game was filled with the latter because the refs failed to police the game and at least give the impression that head hunting was going to be penalized. They gave a free pass to it and the players from both teams took advantage of it.
    All you have to do is warn players from both teams and then throw a flag the next time you see it. Then the players stop doing it.
    The most ludicrous comment so far implied that Clark was going for the fumble. Since he didn’t aim his helmet at the ball but at McGahee’s head, the only way it could have caused a fumble is though head and spinal injury.

  119. “Hey, CT Stiller, there’s nothing wrong with contact. Football is a collision sport. But the collisions should not be higher than the shoulders or at the knees or lower. And it’s not mind-reading to watch the same player repeatedly make the same move and conclude that he intends to do so.”
    Really? So 85% of tackles are to intentionally harm another player? Do you realize that you just completely made up that “collisions should not be higher than the shoulders or at the knees or lower.”
    Uh, what? So if a defender tckles a RB at or below the knees it shows intention to harm? Did you see anyone NOT tackle Brandon Jacobs at or below the knees this year?
    Again. Dope.

  120. That was absolutely not a dirty or illegal hit. Neither was the one on Welker earlier in the year. Clark led with his shoulders. The helmets made contact, but it was not even close to a direct hit or an intentional helmet to helmet contact. People are making way too big of a deal of this hit when it is exactly the type of hit that will occur in the normal course of a game. It looked violent, but that hit was not illegal in any way.

  121. “florio’s random “hate on a team for site hits” thread haha”
    I noticed he tried it with the Cardinals with the Anquan Boldin story. Didn’t get as many comments so I expect a lot more Steelers fan provocation coming from him in the coming weeks. When he (actually his advertisers) realize that ad-based internet marketing doesn’t work he’ll calm down.

  122. woodman212 says:
    January 19th, 2009 at 9:39 pm
    …So if the runner had ducked into it he would have hit the tackler in the midsection…
    _____________________________________________
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but are you saying it’s ok for a running back to put his helmet into a defender’s mid-section but the reverse isn’t ok?

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