Final Thoughts on the Browns-Steelers
A day after the Browns fell to 1-5 on the season, all the talk is about the illegal – but unpenalized – hits James Harrison put on Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi.
Before the season, an article on NFL.com article stated that “the reworded rules prohibit a player from launching himself off the ground and using his helmet to strike a player in a defenseless posture in the head or neck. The old rule only applied to receivers getting hit, but now it will apply to everyone.”
But on Monday, an NFL spokesman said the hit on Cribbs was legal because he was a runner on the play.
Apparently Cribbs is not in the class of players who fall into the category of “everyone.”
Thankfully the league is at least “reviewing” the hit on Massaquoi.
“The one against Mohamed was illegal,” Browns tight end Ben Watson told The Plain Dealer. “I can’t judge his character, I can judge his conduct. It was an illegal hit. He led with his head, he hit Mo right in the head, he dove at his head. It was an illegal play. Whether he meant to hurt him or not, I can’t comment on that. It was illegal and the league should take care of him with the max, whatever it is. If it’s a suspension, if it’s a fine, then I hope the league does whatever they can do.”
I don’t know; it seems as if the NFL pretty much lets the Steelers get away with whatever they want because they play “tough football.” But if the league is serious about head injuries, it’s hard to believe they can turn a blind eye to this.
“There’s strong testimonial for looking readily at evaluating discipline, especially in the areas of egregious and elevated dangerous hits,” Ray Anderson, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, told the Associated Press. “Going forward there are certain hits that occurred that will be more susceptible to suspension. There are some that could bring suspensions for what are flagrant and egregious situations.”
The tide is certainly turning against hits like the ones Harrison delivered. Even Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, long an NFL apologist, thinks enough is enough. In his Monday Morning Quarterback column King wrote:
“So many thoughts. One: It’s time to start ejecting and suspending players for flagrant hits, which I thought the (Brandon) Meriweather one was, and perhaps also the shot of Harrison on Massaquoi. Two: the league had better train its officials better considering there was no penalty on the Harrison hit on Massaquoi. The league had as a point of emphasis to officials this year that launching into a defenseless receiver would be a penalty and subject to discipline. So emphasize it.”
If Roger Goodell has lost Peter King, that could be like Lyndon Johnson losing Walter Cronkite on the Vietnam War – we may see some real action against Harrison.
Some other final thoughts:
- Congrats to Phil Dawson for passing Lou Groza to become the Browns all-time leader in field goals. Hard to believe Dawson has been with the team since 1999; dude should definitely write a book.
- When did Eric Wright turn into Brandon McDonald?
- Chansi Stuckey had another nice day with four more catches; he’s turning into a reliable target from the slot position.
- Brian Robiskie: 15 career games, 12 career catches.
- Jerome Harrison didn’t show up in the box score for the Eagles on Sunday. Mike Bell rushing twice for three yards for the Browns.
See what others are saying:
Play McCoy the Rest of the Way: Waiting for Next Year
Harrison’s Postgame Comments show ambivalence, ignorance: Waiting for Next Year
McCoy avoids meltdown: Cleveland Frowns
NFL has yet to prove any real sympathy: Bill Livingston, Plain Dealer