Saturday, December 22, 2012

Kids--Don't Grow Up to be Anything Like Pittsburgh's James Harrison

Proper use of a terrible towel
Professional athletes are role models whether they like it or not. It used to be that even if they don't want to be they would put on the brave face in public (way back in the day), but nowadays it seems like some guys take pride in saying they are not role models, do not want to be role models, and that they are going to do whatever they feel like without concern for public perception.

In case you were wondering Sports Fans--Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison does not want to be a role model.

Now, in all fairness, I have not found a direct quote from him saying as much. I just figured that with one of the comments he made recently there is no way in he** that he could have any interest in being a role model (unless he was trying to be one for thugs everywhere; I suppose even thugs need role models...).

Harrison has been hit hard by penalties and fines for illegal hits. In light of the crack down the NFL has made on helmet to helmet hits he made the following statement:
“I’ve really lowered my target area to where it’s down around the knees,” Harrison told ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning. “Situations come along where you could tackle the guy high. I don’t do that anymore. I tackle the guy low.”
In reference to a hit he made on Denver's Eric Decker in 2011:
“I could have tackled him high, but if I had hit him high, I probably would have gotten a helmet-to-helmet or something and gotten fined,” said Harrison. “So I hit him low and strained his MCL.”
One can only hope that he is talking tough here because he is trying to make a point that the NFL is not doing an adequate job when it comes to player safety. He did go on to comment on how he looked at knee injuries as life threatening since they keep a player from being able to provide for his family (this comment was in reference to the NFL calling helmet to helmet hits life threatening).

I love a guy that plays hard, but there is a difference between playing hard and using your body as a crude weapon. The pads and everything are not required so that players can launch their bodies at other players or use any part of their bodies as weapons. 

The equipment is meant to protect players from the brunt of the force felt from hits received during play--like a tackle made by wrapping a player's legs up rather than launching at his knees/legs or trying to knock someone down through force instead of (again) wrapping him while making a proper tackle.

This has to go back on the coaches somewhat. It seems like we see more guys trying to make huge hits then we do actual football plays anymore. Proper technique in many respects darn near seems to be a thing of the past. It's all about big hits and highlight reels.

Since we, the fans, are the reason for highlight reels we are partially to blame for this as well. 

This is a pretty big problem that would take a fundamental shift in how the game is taught at the lowest levels up through high school and college onto the pros in order to fix. Will it happen?

Sadly, I doubt it.

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