The NFL is reportedly talking about suspending the Steelers’ James Harrison for his helmet-to-helmet hit against Browns quarterback Colt McCoy on Thursday night. As Behind The Steel Curtain notes, though, that would seem excessive – Harrison has been the poster boy for these kinds of helmet-to-helmet hits, but he’s been on good behavior for the better part of a year, and the NFL doesn’t typically suspend players unless they, for example, stomp on someone’s face.
If consistency counts for anything, Harrison’s penalty is not worthy of a suspension. It’s hard to call him a repeat offender, considering he clearly has adjusted to the league’s sudden emphasis on helmet-to-helmet contact …
A penalty is valid in this case, because NFL rules state the onus to stop and prevent the hit when the quarterback no longer has the ball is on the defender. However, a suspension in this case would be unprecedented.
Be sure to check out BTSC’s explanation for why that is. Harrison will almost certainly get a fine, but a suspension would seem to be draconian.