Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In defense of the best defensive player

One of the story lines, I was surprised to hear a lot about was the "thuggery" of James Harrison when he took a personal foul penalty for unnecessary roughness against the Cardinals Aaron Francisco.

Obviously Cardinals fans will have a problem with it, its one of their guys is getting killed by one of ours. But the backlash I'm hearing from Steelers fans is absurd. "He should have been ejected!", "That's not Steelers football, that's acting like a dirty thug!", "His act of violence tainted a great night for the Steelers". Give me a break, Steeler Nation.

I've heard nothing but negative comments in regards to this. Yes, he got penalized and that pinned the offense deeper in their own end. But so what? Nobody called for Jack Lambert's ejection when he slammed Cowboys all pro safety Cliff Harris to the ground after Harris taunted Gerela for missing a field goal in Super Bowl X. Where was the "he's disgracing Steeler football" then? This nobody for the Cardinals, tries for a low block on Harrison's knees. It rubs him the wrong way and gets extremely physical with him. A little too physical apparently. Actually, I'm not sure it should have been a penalty. The play was still going on and Harrison was simply blocking. Yeah, he hit him, but it wasn't with a closed fist. He pushed him back hard with an open hand. This is football people. If you're not a fan of hitting, the Pirates season is right around the corner for you. You won't see any hitting then.

James Harrison won the NFL defensive player of the year award because he's stronger, tougher and plays more physical than anyone else in the league. So Harrison beats the hell out of a couple safeties that get in his way. So what? You won't care about him being too physical when he runs over a 300+ pound tackle and sacks the quarterback. Or when he's the only guy that plows through the line on 4th and inches and stops the running back cold in his tracks. Or when he's intercepting passes on the goaline and running 100 yards the other way for a touchdown. Harrison is a monster and you can't have a monster without him smashing a couple buildings every now and then.

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