The Steelers' James Harrison has heard about the new rules changes that are about to come to the NFL, and he's not staying quiet:â†µ
I'm absolutely sure now after this last rule change that the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots.â†µ
Harrison is referring to potential rules changes that would penalize teams for multiple infractions involving illegal hits. Of course, the NFL seemed to delight in handing down fines to Harrison last year, even though Harrison was making plays before the whistle, in contrast to some overtly malicious stuff other players were doing after the whistle that should have been penalized much more severely. The NFL was far from consistent last year in addressing these hits, and often seemed to be making things up as it went along. So, in Harrison's view, the proposed rule changes probably look like another excuse to punish his team.â†µ
The changes are intended to reduce brutal hits, but Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports suggests that, at least in the case of the Steelers, they might have the opposite effect:â†µ
"The Steelers change? …" an AFC head coach asked rhetorically, laughing after getting word of the new system. "It’s a nice try, but Mr. Rooney might as well just write out the check right now. Whatever they charge, the Steelers are going to pay."â†µ
You can also be sure Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin will use the new rules as fodder for his players, feeding their perception that the NFL is after them and the only way to prove their greatness is to hammer everyone in their path.â†µ
We'll see what happens. This will be an interesting storyline to watch this year.