With as violent of a weekend as it was in the NFL, you knew the NFL would not take too much time in deciding what to do about the ferocious hits defenders put on defenseless players this weekend. The NFL reacted pretty much the way I expected thme to and for that I applaud them.
I am a fan of not only the Arizona Cardinals, but the NFL as a whole. If we want our favorites standing by week 17 (or week 20 starting in two seasons), then the NFL did what it needed to do today. They announced they would not only levy hefty fines on players for helmet to helmet and other dangerous hits on defenseless players, but they would immediately suspend players as well.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison levied two of those devastating hits this weekend against the Cleveland Browns. He said he will continue to attempt to "hurt" players instead of injuring them. Interesting choice of words yesterday given the fact the NFL still hadn't made its final decision on the matter of violent hits, including his from Sunday.
Harrison was apparently upset about his $75,000 fine. He feels like he isn't sure how he is supposed to hit people going forward. I have one suggestion James. How about following the lead of the 300 other players who managed to win their games Sunday without intentionally hurting someone? New England Patriots defensive back Brandon Meriweather also levied a pretty harsh hit on the Baltimore Ravens' tight end Todd Heap. I thought his helmet to helmet "tackle" was uncalled for. He should know better. His fine was $50,000. He should have at least seen $75,000 taken from him like Harrison.
So, I know, you ask, where is the line? Well, I say wherever the line is drawn, most NFL players know not to cross it and manage to be successful in the league without intent to harm someone. Sure, I've called the NFL the No Fun League in the past. I do think their penchant for penalizing teams for celebrating touchdowns does take some of the fun away. However, there is no fun in watching players get killed out on the field every week. I love a good hit as much as the next guy, but a good, clean hit. Not one intended to injure. Not one intended to stop the other at all costs.
Rodney Harrison said it best on NBC Sunday Night Football. He said that he didn't learn until he faced a suspension. Fines do nothing, not even large ones. Point in case, other Patriots players have said they are going to help Meriweather pay his $50,000 fine. How ridiculous is that? What does Meriweather learn from that? Nothing. Nothing at all! Next time he makes that hit, he will be suspended. Who will step up from the Patriots and support him with a boycott of games? Um, yeah, that's what I thought.
Of course when it comes to the Cards, who is the first guy that comes to mind? That's right, Adrian Wilson. He's been hit with fines previously for dangerous hits. Wilson has been better lately, but who is to say we'll never see a suspension for him in the future? You can't say because he will continue to hit hard. Question is, does he know where the line is? He, like all the other NFL players, are professionals, so I would hope so. I love watching "A Dub", but I sure hope he is refreshing himself on the rules because the NFL is about to enforce just about every dangerous hit. Use your shoulder pads. I know, it's not sexy. It's not what gets you on Sportscenter, but you know, wouldn't you rather not be on Sportscenter because of a fine and suspension?
Tags: Adrian Wilson Arizona Cardinals Baltimore Ravens Brandon Meriweather Cleveland Browns James Harrison NBC Sunday Night Football New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Rodney Harrison Sportscenter Todd Heap