James Harrison faces another league penalty for his fifth illegal hit in three seasons. Getty Images
The NFL commissioner’s office handed down another suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland QB Colt McCoy. This is Steelers defender James Harrison’s fifth penalty for a hit of the illegal variety on QB’s. Harrison makes roughly $5.33 million, and the accompanying $215,000 is equivalent to $1,700 for the average American.
Almost immediately after the announcement, Harrison took to his Twitter account tweeting simply ‘Lol!!!”
This is the third season Commissioner Roger Goodell has enforced stiff penalties for vicious hits on either quarterbacks or defenseless players to quell a rising number of head injuries to NFL players. Harrison is by far the most common offender of the rules. He has voiced his disapproval of the strict rules enforcement by asking how else a defender is to make a tackle, rather than using all means necessary.
Harrison presents a good point for debate. As football is inherently rough and an offense favoring sport. Limiting the amount of necessary force to certain standards could swing the game in favor of offenses even more.
However, anyone who has seen Harrison’s vicious hits over the last few seasons can recognize the Commissioner’s qualms with the four-time pro-bowler’s actions. On this hit, unlike a few of his illegal ones, lateness was not a factor. McCoy was scrambling and simply released the ball at the last second. What many suspect as being the cause for the suspension was done at the last second. Harrison ducked his helmet–thus, as the rule states “leading with the crown of the helmet.” He then overtly ‘shivered’ McCoy after making contact to the helmet. Simply put: it was excessive.
Here are some reactions over the league’s decision earlier today: