As a self-respecting Browns fan, addicted to watching every game no matter how pathetic, I of course saw the two hits James Harrison put on Joshua Cribbs and Mohammed Massaquoi in Sunday’s Browns-Steelers game. Harrison got fined $75,000 for the hits, and instead of considering his whiny ass lucky for not getting flagged on both plays for personal fouls and thus ejected from the game, Harrison is complaining about how he can’t play anymore if he has to live under the threat of suspension. As are other NFL defensive players.
Cry me a fucking river. If you can’t play football without targeting some dude’s head, then you shouldn’t play football. There is nothing about the quality of today’s football that relies on hitting people in their heads. The game will be just fine without it. It would be a sad coda to this story if it were James Harrison who spent his retirement years drooling in a wheelchair from dementia brought on by repeated hits to his own head which he used as a spear this weekend. No one would wish for that – because the clinical evidence is proving regularly that NFL players, and any kid who plays football these days, risks just that kind of future.
Which brings me to a rather larger curse on today’s football than losing the ability to decapitate defenseless players – MISSED TACKLES. If this is the only way James Harrison knows how to play defense, then fine. Go drive a bus. These hits are not tackling, not by a long shot. James Harrison was in the air, launching himself like a missile at Cribb’s and Massaquoi’s heads. Just like every other defender who doesn’t wrap up a player and instead rolls the dice to get on the highlight reel.
You’ll notice that not once in any of last weekend’s fined hits does the defensive player put his arms around the offensive player – i.e. ATTEMPTS TO TACKLE. In Harrison’s case, it appears he’s purposely leaving his hands down so he can flail them in celebration after they don’t actually wrap anyone up. Whoop. Dee. Doo.
Try hitting a running back coming at you full tilt like that. You’ll bounce right off. Happens all the time – it’s called MISSED TACKLES, which wide receivers and running backs thrive on. Get into the secondary and you’re surrounded by a bunch of unguided missiles headhunting their way to Sportscenter who can’t tackle. All you have to do is be prepared to push them off.
Which is why Harrison chooses to do his missile with flailing arms act on guys who aren’t ready for it. It’s cowardice, mixed with calculation. Harrison knows that the NFL’s new science on head injuries will make sure that a player with a concussion will not play the rest of the game. Might not play the following several games. So why not go for a guy’s head? Clever. If the referees aren’t going to enforce the rule on helmet to helmet contact, it makes sense to game plan to give guys concussions. Especially against impact players, like Cribbs.
But Harrison can tackle both of them quite violently enough without going for the head. Put your helmet into the guy’s chest, break a few ribs, see if anyone cares. Better yet, aim for the FUCKING BALL to create a turnover, dumbass. To the head? For no reason? That makes you a thug.
Meanwhile, if anyone finds a job that can survive a $75,000 fine, let me know. I’d love to be on that wahmbulance.
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