December 07, 2010

Where's the Flag on Heath Miller's Beheading?: Despite the NFL crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits and hits on defenseless receivers, there was no penalty called when Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller was knocked out of the game Sunday by a vicious hit from Baltimore Ravens defender Jameel McClain. Miller suffered a concussion and the NFL has already admitted the non-call was wrong.

posted by rcade to football at 09:10 AM - 6 comments

The NFL reefing is way too inconsistent. The Lions Su get's a personal foul for a phantom elbow to the head of a (or a push down) QB & the hit on Miller & the double punch to the face of Roethlisberger, don't get a flag . WTF!!!!!!

posted by directpressure at 09:32 AM on December 07, 2010

Based on the NFL's rules, clearly it should have been a penalty. But, with regard to the rule, how is the defender supposed to stop his momentum once he is in motion? And with regard to this particular play, I don't know that we have heard from any of the refs and probably will not. But if the refs do not see the hit and do not call a penalty, can they then call the penalty based on the fact the player is injured or that replays show an illegal hit? I don't think so. And perhaps that is one of the biggest problems; the refs will call fouls on phantom hits because they assumed it happened, but cannot call fouls on hits that take place but they missed.

posted by graymatters at 11:50 AM on December 07, 2010

Maybe they need to separate in-game penalty from post-game penalty. Maybe the refs get it right, maybe they get it wrong in-game. However, each week (and this may already be happening), the NFL should review as many questionable hits as possible and hand out tape to the teams making it clearer what's allowable. Additionally, fines/suspensions can be handed out based on something less arbitrary than what they're doing currently. Due process must be allowed to challenge a fine/suspension.

And despite this, they still need to retain some rationality - there's only so much a 250-300lb guy can do to stop himself when trying to make a tackle. They also have to accept that incidental contact happens and there's usually a difference between spearing and inadvertent helmet-to-helmet. It's a dangerous sport and if they lean too much, they'll throw the offense/defense balance off even more (see the Bears/Lions highlights at 1:50 into the video for an example of erring too much in the wrong direction).

posted by kokaku at 12:19 PM on December 07, 2010

But if the refs do not see the hit and do not call a penalty,

They couldn't NOT see it. It wasn't some play that happened backside that wasn't the focus of their attention. There would have been at least 2 officials watching nothing EXCEPT that catch. And if they were looking AT the play, at ANY angle, they would have saw the "defenseless" part and the "blow to the head" part.

Now I agree with your comment about the player stopping once momentum is going, but the new rules ignore that. They've made it abundantly clear that it is the defenders responsibility to avoid these hits regardless. So there is no way that penalty should NOT be called based on these insane rules they've decided to enforce.

As for these missed calls, I'm not much on conspiracy theories, but watch a few Steeler games and argue that topic. Seriously, just watch the Steelers vs. Raiders game and Steelers vs. Ravens game and tell me that the Steelers aren't being graded against a different set of rules than most of the rest of the league. (I say MOST because there are a couple of teams that are being targeted as well).

As I said in another thread, it's RIDICULOUS what Goodell has done. He has got to be stopped. I'm willing to live with a strike next year if one of the key points the players union fights for is to reign in control of that jack-ass.

posted by bdaddy at 05:36 PM on December 07, 2010

When did launching yourself like a missile become good tackling technique? When did hurting the other player become more important that showing you are the better player (rather than the more dangerous player)? When did sportsmanship and ethical play totally leave the game? I guess I am just old fashion but it really disturbs me to see football being played with this mentality.

posted by Midwest Steve at 10:52 PM on December 07, 2010

I guess your not old fashioned enough. You forget about tatum and lambert and green and Butkus and deacon. Forearms to the throat, head slaps, ripping helmets off and beating opponents with them, slamming qbs to the turf like dolls. Let's not forget even older school where the player wasn't down when he hit the ground, rather when his forward motion stopped and pile ons and forearms. These hits have always been in football. They're more vicious because of player size and speed, but make no mistake...this is football, as it always was.

posted by bdaddy at 11:50 PM on December 07, 2010

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