You make the call: Was James Harrison's hit on Eric Decker a dirty hit?
James Harrison's hit on Eric Decker took him out of the game, and ended his postseason with an MCL injury. Harrison has been flagged, fined and reprimanded for dirty hits in the past, but this one resulted in no penalty whatsoever.
Most of the criticism of Harrison as a dirty player has come from his helmet-to-helmet hits, and that's understandable. Harrison's hit this year on Colt McCoy effectively ended his season a week prematurely. He has been fined over $200,000 in the past 2 seasons alone.
So what does Harrison do? He goes low against Decker.
Technically, it was exactly what the NFL has been asking him to do. He finally learned how to avoid targeting the head, and Decker was definitely in no risk whatsoever of getting concussed.
But is this any better?
Roaming the defensive backfield in coverage against Tim Tebow and the Broncos, Harrison had a bead on Decker after he made the catch, and dove straight for his knee. There was no attempt whatsoever to wrap him up, or make anything resembling a textbook tackle. Harrison just went straight for his knee.
Especially in the replays, it's clear that Harrison had plenty of time to aim for the midsection, wrap Decker up and make a strong tackle. It could still have been a devastating hit without risking a serious knee injury. Injuries like these can end a career.
So, you make the call. Was this a dirty hit? Should Harrison be fined? Or was this totally clean, and an example of exactly what Harrison should be trying to do?
Big thanks to Injury Duty for the video.