In case you’re not a football fan, you may have missed it yesterday when Pittsburgh Steelers DE James Harrison single-handedly concussed two Cleveland Browns. On a day filled with objectionable hits, Harrison’s hit on Joshua Cribbs was arguably the worst.
Keep in mind that a 15 yard penalty is to be assessed if “A tackler using his helmet to butt, spear, or ram an opponent,” or “A player uses the top of his helmet unnecessarily.” I think Harrison’s hit qualifies as both. So I would think that in his post-game comments Harrison would show at least a hint of remorse for the results, if not the actions of his illegal helmet-to-helmet hit.
Instead we got this.
â€œI thought Cribbs was asleep. A hit like that geeks you up â€” it geeks everybody up â€” especially when you find out that the guy is not really hurt â€” heâ€™s just sleeping. Heâ€™s knocked out, but heâ€™s going to be OK. The other guy, I didnâ€™t hit that hard, to be honest with you. When you get a guy on the ground, itâ€™s a perfect tackle.â€
Maybe a little contrition form his teammate, James Farrior? Maybe not.
â€œToday was especially good because he took out their top dog, really. He took out the biggest weapon they had.â€
Or perhaps some compassion from the Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin.
â€œHe played good football. Thatâ€™s why we have so much respect for him.â€
At least maybe we can now understand why Harrison feels the way he does. His justification for his actions are reinforced by everyone around him. I’ll close with Harrison’s thoughts on whether or not he should be fined for what was clearly an illegal hit.
â€œIf I get fined for that, itâ€™s going to be a travesty. Thereâ€™s no way I could be fined for that. It was a good, clean, legit hit. He came across, I put my head across the bow. I could have put a lot more into that hit than I did.â€