Thank James Harrison. Seems like an odd thing to say on a Cleveland-based sports blog, but it is true. The NFL was on the path to over-regulating tackling and hitting anyway, but James Harrison’s plays against the Browns (including a near decapitation of Josh Cribbs) are pretty much the reason we find ourselves watching the NFL as it is today. Even Browns fans seemed to be upset with Mike Carey’s unnecessary roughness call. I understand that completely. I am not in love with the rules as they are either, but you can’t put this toothpaste back in the tube. The NFL is being safety conscious, and you might as well learn to live with it. Yesterday’s play was a bit on the soft side, but these pictures will show you why it was called. In the end, the rule has everything to do with form and intent and less about the end result. Meaning, Colt McCoy doesn’t have to go off on a stretcher for the play to be illegal form.
First, notice the positioning of Mike Carey with relation to the play where he threw the flag.
Mike Carey couldn’t have been in a much better position to see the play. Maybe if he was directly in the center of the hashes.
Don’t mistake this post as me saying I absolutely love love love this rule. Like everyone else, had this penalty gone against the Browns, I would hate it. If T.J. Ward had done the same exact thing to Charlie Whitehurst, it would have annoyed me when the yellow flag went flying. Don’t get mad at Mike Carey though. It wasn’t a bad call. It is a supremely over-reaching rule with pretty dire consequences that makes the game seem less fair on a weekly basis.
Maybe it makes the game safer. That’s debatable. It makes the game worse. That’s probably not.