Running Meriweather Out Of Town?
I can't help feeling bad for my main man Meriweather. In this new NFL, where critics think the game should be played inside the Slow-Motion Replay Box, hitting seems to have become illegal. Plus, for some reason media members seem to have some kind of personal grudge, started by the PFW in Progress boys, against Meriweather, and now it seems like they are trying to run him out of town. Twenty years everybody would have stood up and cheered after a hit like that. Now, pussified PC pundits sit inside their studios and decipher where he was hit, how he was hit, what his intentions were during the less than a second it took make the hit, and the circumstances involved in the hit. Then come out and say, after watching the hit 15 times in slow-motion from 10 different angles, "That was a stupid play, he should have known that when he went in to hit Heap that he was leaping high, and when he aimed his forearms at Heaps chest that by the time he reached him Heap would drop down right into his helmet." The problem with the helmet-to-helmet rule, that it also pretends that these players are hitting crash test dummies. Only they are not. The targets are not stationary. They are moving, and they are moving fast. The problem with Meriweather's hit on Heap, wasn't that he was headhunting, which the rule is trying to prevent, it's that Heap was leaping and came down onto Meriweather's helmet. Bam, a helmet-to-helmet hit, and Meriweather should have known in the split second he tried to separate Heap from the ball that Heap would fall in just such a way as to create just such an illegal hit.
Can you imagine players of yore thinking about a hit? Thinking about a hit? Doesn't that sound ridiculous to anybody else? Isn't hitting more of an instinctual act that factors in multiple reactions in less than a second. Thinking and hitting just seem counter intuitive. Can you imagine Ronnie Lott coming across the middle to annihilate a Tight End who dared to come across the middle, but stopping to think instead? Ronnie Lott could not be Ronnie Lott in today's NFL. If you ever watched him play, his greatest hits were worse than what Meriweather did to Heap, and everybody stood up and cheered. Now, they would have called him stupid and try to figure out if he was trying to hurt another player. Can you imagine Lott trying to figure out where it was acceptable to hit an offensive player, or how, or what circumstances make this hit acceptable and what circumstance make this hit unacceptable? LOL. No. He saw a player trying to catch a ball coming over the middle and his was job to stop it all cost, and if he inflicted damage on the player that made him think twice about leaping over the middle to catch a ball all the better. And, when the pussified PC pundits pretended the game was played in a Slow-Motion Replay Box, they stood up and cheered at his great awe inspiring hit. Football is not a contact sport, its' a collision sport.
In my unhumble opinion, defenses now-a-days are better than defenses were way-back-when, and offenses were better way-back-when then they are now-a-days, despite how the stats lie. Can you imagine the steroid Steelers defense of the '70s, trying to play today? They would be called for penalties on every other play. Can you imagine Mel Blount trying to cover a wide receiver now-a-days without the ability to touch him at all? The great defense of way-back-when beat the living crap out of offensive players all over the field all game long. They could not play now-a-days at all. The defenders now-a-days have to think before they hit. You can hit 'em here, but not there. You can hit 'em then, but not now. Can you imagine Mean Joe Green coming around the right tackle and thinking about when the circumstances are appropriate to hit the QB, and when the circumstances make it inappropriate to hit the QB. Hell no, it was always appropriate to hit the QB;-) Can you imagine Jack Lambert feeling bad, or embarrassed, or being called stupid if he had made the exact same hit on a tight end trying to catch a ball in his zone. He would have spit and said, "that's football." Defenders today have to play faster, and think about hits at speeds most of us could never reach. it is very difficult. As for offense, the stats have blown through the roof, but lets face it how many wide receivers today could catch 9 passes for 98 yards with Mel Blount or Ronnie Lott smashing them all the way down the field. Offense players in the 80s and 90s, never mind the 70s, had to fight their way down field every play, and if they went across the middle they expected to be decapitated. I believe that even though the stats show the exact opposite, offenses were better twenty years ago and defense were worse.
Now-a-days hits that we once cheered for are considered crimes. Players we once routed for would be criminals today. And the great players of the past would be called stupid, or, "they don't get it", because they hit a tight end who dared to come across the middle. Like Meriweather himself said after his big hit, how many catches were made before that play and how many catches were made after? Plays like that hit change the momentum of the defenses. Football is a violent game, as opposed to sitting in the media room. The defenders get psyched up and want to match the hit, like Chung did twice, and offenses players get just a bit reluctant stretching out for the ball. We once stood up and cheered for hits like the ones Meriweather made, because it changed the outcomes of games. I believe that if Meriweather did not make those hits the Pats lose that game, that is how close of a game it was. The NFL is a brutal, vicious, war game played at speeds most of us couldn't comprehend. I understand the need to protect players, but you can't protect football players all the time. Was Meriweather's hit against the letter of the law? Yes. Was it against the intent of the law? No.
Okay, enough whining. In my opinion, Meriweather's hit was a mishap of motion. He didn't launch himself, all you dummies who said that are just plain wrong. He clearly did not intentionally Spear the guy. Heap is the one who launch himself. If you look at the play, Meriweather was coming in to hit Heap in the chest where he would have been holding the ball, and if you look he had extended both forearms and hit Heap's arms with his. Heap, who had leaped, fell down into Meriweather's advancing helmet. As much of the impact was caused by Heap dropping as by Meriweather charging. If you look at the play, Heaps chin and facemask landed on top of Meriweather's helmet. It's wasn't a cheap shot at all. It was a mistake of motion that turned into a vicious hit as Meriweather misjudged, and Heap fell. All you pundits who think an open field tackle is like hit a tackling dummy are dummies. This is a game played at over full speed. These guys move and play faster than I ever did, and faster than all you pundits ever did, and you want to judge them solely by multiple slow-motion reply angles. You look at a split second reaction and try to find a motive. Like one dummy said he did it because, "he wanted to increase (or some crap) his reputation." What a load of crap. He did it, his motive was, his intention was, to play football. That is what football players do, they hit. That is what safeties do, they hit receivers coming over the middle. Sometimes their helmet gets in the way, and sometimes it doesn't. Both of Meriweather's hits on Heap also came with forearm shivers to Heaps arms. His intent was to knock the ball out of the receiver coming over the middle as he has been trained to do his whole life. This story continues to grow into more modern media misreporting, where the story becomes more important than the facts. Judging motive? What a maroon.
One particularly annoying pundit said, "he had several big hits in the game none of which were effective in any way... Patrick Chung's came over and hit Derrick mason th-th-they ended up break up a play." That is just flat wrong. Meriweather's hit on Heap as he carried a TD catch into the Endzone knocked the ball out of his hands as he gave two forearm shivers to Heaps forearms, just like Chung did, and prevented a TD. The two hits were exactly alike. Also when McCourty broke up Flacco's 3rd down throw in overtime, hit tipped the ball up and was about to catch it for an interception when Chung dived over and wiped him out. Another annoying basketball pundit whined about Meriweather's hits, and then said something like, "I'd like to know what happened, the Raven's suddenly couldn't do anything? The offense just seemed to die?" Of course it had nothing to do with the physical play of the secondary. Meriweather's hits had nothing to do with the Raven's wide receiver suddenly not catching any more passes over the middle. Oh hell no. It's an unfathomable mystery why the Raven's offense suddenly stalled? Please. And I'm not a guy who believes NFL players get intimidated, but it happens sometimes, and it sure looked to me like the Raven's receivers were intimidated. More than one dummy complain that Meriweather wasn't even trying to "Form(?)" tackle the guy," or he "didn't even try to tackle the guy, he just hit him." Well duh! He wasn't trying to tackle the guy he was trying to knock the ball out of hands. Hello, reality calling, and it's pissed.
You can't complain about the hits, and then pretend that they didn't have any impact on the games. In football, big hits always impact the game. All the complaints about the ineffective of the secondary as just plan wrong. The secondary played well in that game. The big hits intimidated the Ravens. And lets be honest, when was the last time you could say the Pats' defense intimidated anybody. I personally would like to see more of the Pats' D intimidating offenses. You have to remember teams now-a-days can't play defense like teams did way-back-when. They are not allowed to touch receivers any more. They can't put their hands on them, or push they off their patterns, or grab their shirts. What they can do is hit a receiver just as he catches the ball, and now all you PC pundits want to take that away. I don't know why Meriweather is held to a different standard, but seriously, enough. I don't want to here about bad angles, you don't know what his responsible are. I don't want to here about form tackles, like you could make any of those so called "form" tackles. I don't want to here that he purposely tried to hit Heap with his helmet, that is just plain stupid. He's an undersized big play safety who makes big hits, stop trying to run him out of town.
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