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Harrison, Polamalu Fight The Power

It’s pretty much agreed that the NBA has the worst officiating of any major professional sports league.   How many other sports have had a ref (Tim Donaghy) thrown in the clink for fixing games?  Beyond simple corruption, the most common complaint is the arbitrary nature of the calls.  Basketball has something called a “Star Foul” which basically means if you’re a superstar and somebody breathes on you, they call a foul.  But if you’re some lowly bench scrub, you can get karate chopped by three guys while driving the lane and nothing gets called.

The NFL is fast approaching NBA level of ridiculousness.  They already have a different set of rules for star receivers (who are allowed to push off) and star defensive backs (who can mug a receiver without penalty).  Now they’re taking it a step further and singling out players who are violent.   Not dirty, cheap-shotty violence but tough, hard-hitters who play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.

Don’t believe me?

Last Sunday, James Harrison was flagged for the above hit on Drew Brees.  That obnoxious jackal Cris Collinsworth immediately chimed in that Silverback may face a fine for leading with his helmet.   I ask you, what is wrong with that hit?   It’s a form perfect tackle.

Today we hear there might be a fine for a late hit.   Silverback may have gotten there a half step late.   How many times has Ben been driven to the turf a step or two after he’s let go of the ball?   I don’t recall too many roughing  the passing penalties FOR the Steelers this year.  And I suspect I know why this is.

Like the NBA, NFL officials are operating under two sets of rules.   One is for nobody players who the league pays no attention to.  They can crash in on QBs whenever they damn well please without fear of flags or fines.   Then we have guys like Harrison, who the NFL has singled out again and again.  The refs are watching him with laser-like intensity and should he so much as glare at the QB in a menacing manner, they’re going to flag him.

Of course, this laser-like intensity still doesn’t seem to pick up the fact he’s held on practically every blitz.

Yesterday, James had a meeting with Roger Goodell which he said was “semi-productive.”  But was it quasi-fruitful?   Evidently not as Silverback was fined another $20,000 for the “late hit” today.  For those keeping track, he’s now been assessed a cool hundred grand for the crime of playing football.

He tried explaining to our pea-brained commish that he tried to form tackle Browns receiver Mohammad Massaquoi but the blundering fool brought his destruction upon himself by ducking his head.  The Ginger Dictator’s canned response?  “You’re a defensive player, and you’re responsible for whatever happens when you make contact with an offensive player.”

Think about the absurdity of that for a minute.

This Black and Gold Rebellion has even spread to Troy Polamalu.  Troy is one of the nicest, most soft-spoken guys you’ll ever meet.  For him to get riled up really says something.   He gave an interview to the Post-Gazette where he rightly charged Goodell has “too much power.”   Of course he does, that’s the way he wants it.   Never in NFL history have we had a commissioner so hellbent on sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.

Troy got in some choice zingers which I’m sure our despotic Ginger will find some way to fine him for.   Free speech doesn’t exist in the NFL Dojo.  “Sometimes I think it just falls on deaf ears.”  said our Hall of Fame bound safety.  “But, you know, he’s got all the power; that may be part of the problem.” he concluded.   Fight the Power, Troy.

I haven’t written anything about the upcoming NFL labor strife because, honestly, billionaires fighting with millionaires is like asking me to choose between the Patriots and the Cowboys.  However, I really do hope the Players Union gets their act together for once and finds some way to get this out-of-control totalitarian under wraps.   Troy’s suggestion that some sort of player’s review board should consult on fines is a good one.  If your fellow players don’t have a problem with your hit, why should the league?

As I said before, I’m glad the Steelers are finally standing up to the NFL.  This past year has been an absolute disgrace with how he’s singled them out for unwarranted fines and suspensions.  It appears the team has reached a breaking point.   Not a moment too soon.

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