Has the NFL backed itself into a corner after laying down the law with the fines and throwing out the possibility of handing out suspensions?Especially after not coming out and saying definitively of the three big hits over the weekend which one(s) were deemed excessive.
The guys in New York have the clicker at their disposal. The ability to slow the film down and judge “intent” is scary. Milli-heart beats separate the combatants and even with super-slo motion technology i find it implausible to say that one can judge intent on a hit with 100% accuracy. The only way to judge intent is to look to the established criteria that dictates a legal hit.
Brandon Meriweather fits the bill. James Harrison does not, nor does Dunta Robinson.
The heart of the matter when you peel away all the layers is can you fundamentally change football at its root in mid-season? The question one needs to ask is that faced with the same situation, a crossing route run by a receiver and a closing zone coverage defender, is it now mandatory to let the receiver catch the ball and run with it, or do you do what you’ve been taught your entire life, and that is to break up the pass? Do you now let the receiver catch and run because otherwise you are looking at a possible fine/suspension? Is that something you want your cover men thinking about in the playoffs during crunch time? (no pun intended).
Will a cover two safety closing on a post route now have the excuse if he missed a call, or was late on the read say “I didn’t want to get fined” because he didn’t whack the receiver.
After all the pub, all eyes are on whoever goes out and lays a big hit this weekend. And will that somebody get over-scrutinized to the point that the NFL feels it has to act to support all the attention its given to the media circus it created this past week.
This is starting to look an awful lot like the definition of what is and isn’t a catch.