Danieal Manning avoids defenseless receiver, draws flag anyway

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If the NFL really wants to protect defenseless players from illegal hits, it’s going to need to do a better job of explaining what constitutes an illegal hit. Texans defensive back Danieal Manning has no idea what’s legal and what’s illegal anymore, and after watching the video of the hit that drew a 15-yard penalty on Manning, neither do I.

Manning was flagged for a hit on Colts receiver Pierre Garcon in the fourth quarter on Sunday, even though Manning pulled up when teammate Johnathan Joseph knocked the ball loose, and the contact between Manning and Garcon consisted of Garcon’s shoulder hitting Joseph’s thigh. After the game Manning seemed more confused than angry about the penalty.

“When I saw the ball knocked out, I was like, ‘Let me slow up before I hit him,’ and he hit me,” Manning said. “He actually hit my thigh.”

If anything, Manning’s attempt to avoid contact with Garcon set Manning himself up for a potential injury, especially if Garcon had hit Joseph just a little bit lower and collided with Joseph’s knee. It’s unfair to defensive backs to put them in positions where they’re trying so hard to avoid helmet-to-helmet collisions with wide receivers that they’re leaving themselves unprotected — and it’s really unfair to defensive backs to throw a flag on them after they’ve done that.

A big part of the problem with players not knowing what constitutes an illegal hit is that the NFL isn’t transparent enough about the way it evaluates those hits. When an official makes a bad call, the NFL needs to acknowledge it publicly — not to call out the officials, but to explain to players, coaches and fans what the rules are. When we see plays like Manning’s penalty, we’re not sure if it was a bad call by the official, or the correct enforcement of a bad rule.

But it was definitely one of those things. There’s no way to play defensive back in tackle football if what Manning did is against the rules.

57 responses to “Danieal Manning avoids defenseless receiver, draws flag anyway

  1. The NFL is ruining the game with all this BS. If they want to protect players and at the same time not penalize teams with incorrect calls then they might as well add them to the list of plays that can be challenged.

  2. It was a bad call. So what? It’s been happening ever since officiating of sports began and will keep happening for the foreseeable future. Seeing as how it in no way affected the outcome of the game, who cares?

    If he were fined for it after the game tape was reviewed by the league, it would be a different matter.

  3. If they’re going to get a 15 yard personal foul called for stupid crap like that they might as well just blow the receivers up and make it worth their while.

  4. OK, let’s all take a deep breath here. Yes, a few of the penalties for illegal hits were horrible, and the league does need to explain whether it was a bad call or a good call based on a bad rule. But, I hate it when I hear so many of you say, “The NFL is ruining the game.” Did you watch any football at all this week? Were you really sitting there the entire weekend saying, “The NFL is ruining the game.” Or were you saying, “The NFL is the best…..stinking….game….ever.” Because as I watched football again after months without it, I was sure thinking that the NFL is the best stinking game ever.

  5. What can make these ridiculous calls worse is if they happen on 3rd down. it’s a 15 yard penalty and offense gets to keep possession. these can be game changing calls. momentum can quickly shift based on these terrible judgement calls and the outcome of games can be impacted. nfl players should sign waivers if they want to play in the league for hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. play at your own risk, give the fans what they want, and let the players play.

  6. this is ridiculous – okay NFL, you really want to protect the receivers this is the only thing that will work.

    Don’t let them leave there feet – no jumping, or diving, they must always have one foot on the ground, that’s the only way to keep them from being defenseless.

  7. So if the league can fine players for plays that they weren’t penalized on, can the league pay money back to players they erroneously penalized in the game? The only thing that Manning could have done different was not be on the field for the play. Gooddell, pay the man!

  8. Enough with the Goodell bashing. You do realize these kind of things will happen when the league is trying to protect its players? Yeah it’s not perfect but it’s understandable when you look at the big picture.

    You should be thanking the commish for trying to keep players healthy, to help out your corny fantasy leagues.

  9. And another thing the league was truly concerned about safety AND getting the calls right they’d add at least 2 more refs on the field specifically to watch for bad hits. If a ref’s close and he’s watching the head to head contact that means he’s not seeing the ball.

  10. its just a side effect of this constant push in society to be ultra PC and protect everyone’s feelings and emotions and be crazy about any and every thing that could be negative. Lets just give them all flag football belts and rather than even play a Super Bowl, lets just give everyone a participation award and call it a day!

  11. It’s hard for me to say “Let them play” when I’m not out there risking my body like these players do. With that being said, the NFL needs to make these rules clear to the players and the referee so we can avoid bad calls like these in the future.

  12. Maybe they need to do a better job explaining holding, pass interference, encroachment and on and on and on. How many of those calls are blown each weekend?? Do you expect that refs will be perfect with calling this penalty somehow? Will they use magic powers to do so?

    The refs are going to blow some of these calls no doubt.. are they any more or less impactful then a blown hold, or how about a PI that can be significantly more damaging in terms of yardage gained or lost?

    The notion that the league is now flag football or that they should wear skirts is so absurd. Get over it.. the game changed a ton more after the Polian induced enforcement mandates in the passing game post the Colts losses to the Pats and there weren’t a bunch of neanderthal chicken littles crying about the end of football as we know it.

    If the league doesn’t at least give the appearance of caring about player health, and in particular brain health then you know who will???? Congress. Do we want that? Class action lawsuits against leagues at multiple levels from Pop Warner to the pros are on the horizon, there is already an ongoing FTC investigation of helmet manufacturers. We all lose if Congress goes down that road.

    Stop regurgitating lines you hear from dopes like “Stink” that are proselytizing about the end of tough guy football on a network that got this story completely wrong from the start

  13. If the refs are going to call a penalty every time a “defenseless looking” receiver is touched when trying to catch a ball, doesn’t that just encourage WRs to look defenseless all the time?

    If this continues, the NFL is going to turn into a soccer match with stretcher teams and players rolling around on the ground holding an extremity until they get a call.

    The again, I’ve seen harder tackles in soccer not get penalized.

  14. It actually isn’t Roger Goddell who makes all of the rules. There is a competition committee who decides the rules. Goodell just enforces the rules. You can get on the commissioner for a lot of things but he isn’t the one making these new pansy rules.

  15. Garbage call. I thought the call on Madeiu Williams for hitting a guy with a ball in his hands shoulder to shoulder was also a garbage call. But to play devils advocate, when these guys are going full speed a lot of these collisions look a lot worse than when you slow them down and look at them frame by frame. I think the refs have been put in a tough situation where they have been told ‘when in doubt throw the flag’ and that is what we are getting.

  16. @Str82DVD

    No real football fan will be thanking Grandma Goodell….Only Eagles fan should be thanking him, because these rules are in place to protect soft players like Desean Jackson who’s shouldn’t be playing football at this level anyway..he’s too frail. That’s why he couldn’t really get off in college…teams like USC used to light his little a up.

  17. i’m guessing it was a bad call. hope the league says so. but all in all, no need for readers to predict the end of football as we know it. week one was very entertaining. the football glass is 98% full.

  18. What happens when the head referee (the guy who announces the penalty to the crowd) disagrees with a call by the back judge, line judge, etc? Does the head referee have the ability to overrule a bad call? I’m not talking about just this call, but any call? Or does he have to call it just because one of the other officials made the call?

  19. big hits are just as exciting as 500 yard passing games, actually more exciting, this game needs to stop courting to primadonna qb’s and track stars – let them hit – that is why they get paid MILLIONS of dollars because just like firefighters, crab fisherman and steel workers they take the risk

  20. i dont get the defenseless receiver part. he is wearing pads, and is aware there are defenders trying to hit him. where is the “defenseless” part of that?
    isnt every big block then, a defenseless player gettting smashed?

    it used to be only a few guys had the stones to go over the middle, now everyone can because they know they wont get hit until they have informed the defence that it is now ok to hit them. or unless they make the necessary “football move”

  21. This is getting ridiculous. Every single rule change seems to benefit the offense. If Week 1 is any indication it’s going to be a season-long shootout. If this keeps up games are going to start losing their competitive edge, and I don’t like it.

  22. What’s ridiculous is that I don’t know who hit who.

    “The contact between Manning and Garcon consisted of Garcon’s shoulder hitting Joseph’s thigh… If anything, Manning’s attempt to avoid contact with Garcon set Manning himself up for potential injury, especially if Garcon had hit Joseph just a little bit lower and collided with Joseph’s knee.”

  23. Here’s another question maybe someone can answer…

    At what point does a receiver STOP being a receiver? I mean, the ball was clearly out of his hands and uncatchable at the point of the impact with Manning…

    Is any player merely LISTED as a receiver classified as ‘defenseless receiver’ until they catch the ball, take 5 steps and can brace themselves?

    This is one more in a series of glaring examples of how shoddy officiating has become. If the players/coaches are going to be held accountable, then refs and the League in general need to be as well.

    And for those who bitch and whine about ‘it’s always been this way’ and ‘leave the game in the hands of the officials and stop with all the reviews’….if the calls the refs were making were far more accurate, we wouldn’t NEED to have all the double and triple checking to make sure they were actually correct.

  24. Everyone getting up in arms should be patient. This concern over dirty hits is a new thing; it will take a while for everyone, players and officials both, to get settled into a new norm. Same goes for any kind of rule change.

    It’s not killing the game. It’s just an adjustment, like every other adjustment ever made in the game.

    But @peytonwantsaflag has it right – if the NFL was really concerned, they’d just add more officials on the field. Real, human eyes on you is what affects your behavior, not after-the-fact rulings which take ambiguous amounts of money from enormous paychecks.

  25. Refs make bad calls, nobody’s perfect. I get that. But the NFL should be as diligent in admitting this to their public afterward as they are in enforcing fines afterward. What’s wrong with saying, “Oops, our bad?”

  26. I believe the message here is don’t let your kiddies grow up to play defense. Shouldn’t Garcon be fined for throwing his head into Manning’s defenseless knee?


    This is Theatre of the Absurd.

  27. ‘err on the side of caution’ is just a way for the league to cover the officials when they make boneheaded calls like this one. It’s a contact sport people!

  28. I can almost see it now.

    After a flag is trown on the play the Ref steps into the middle of the field.

    “Personal Foul, name calling to a defensless receiver, a 15 yeard penalty will be added on to the end of the catch and the defenseman has to sit in the corner for 5 minutes. Automatic..First Down!”

  29. Ah yes, now we see the ramifications of Goodell’s sissification of the game. Couldn’t have seen that one coming.

    /s off

  30. A line has now been crossed …..

    NOW they’re calling penalties on guys that DIDN’T EVEN HIT THE RECEIVER??????

    This is the height of lunacy, and on a third down no less. Manning didn’t HIT the receiver, he was hit BY the receiver.

    Good God, does ANYONE in the NFL see the idiocy in where this has gone?

    I can’t imagine what comes after THIS. I bristle at the posters talking about “flag football”, but THIS play clearly shows that we’re headed that way.

  31. Roger Goodell is bad for the NFL. I’m thouroughly sick of being force fed his non-sense and rule changes. He’s done an excellent job of ruining Americas favorite sport. Owners takes note that you are losing fans with this joke if a commissioner. Please get rid of this cancer and bring someone else in. Week 1 in the books and I’m already sick of watching.

  32. Gonna be a lot of missed tackles this year because players will pull up in fear of being flagged. And after week one, there’s no consistency with the calls from game to game. They’re judgement calls.

  33. breakfastbarron says: Sep 13, 2011 12:06 PM

    Gonna be a lot of missed tackles this year because players will pull up in fear of being flagged.

    Unfortunately, that apparently doesn’t work. Manning tried to pull up and still got flagged.

  34. I have the solution for this – will make the game safer AND keep it entertaining. Make a wedgie = a tackle. No more “in the grasp” or “glancing blow” questions. If you can read “Riddle” (or in the Cowboys case “Victoria Secret”) hanging out of the top of your uniform britches you are down.

  35. The NFL doesn’t care about protecting players. What it is now is that over the past ten years past players are starting to sue the nfl over post concussion issues after they retire. Now they have that funding for it. Goodell is trying to prevent further so they don’t have to give any more money away. Greed kills the world.

  36. NFL should own up when a bad call is made and make a donation, or, fine, to a charity of the player’s choice who got jobbed. It needs to be a two way street and if the players can be fined the league should have consequences for lousy calls like this one.

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