Remember back in the day when players could really hit each other? The type of hits that make your teeth hurt and you’re just sitting on your couch watching the game. Man, I miss those da……..wait, they never went away? In the Divisional round of last years NFL playoffs the Seattle Seahawks were marching down the field against the visiting New Orleans Saints. On 3rd down and 11 Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (best marketable name in NFL) threw down the field to Percy Harvin who caught the ball on the 18 yard line. It looked like the Seahawks were going to get their coveted first down until Rafael Bush wrecked Harvin with a devastating hit. The Seahawks were given the first down on an unnecessary roughness call against Bush putting them in field goal range and ultimately scoring on a Steven Hauschka 35 yarder. Not to mention, the fine levied against Bush after the game.
I’ll be the first to tell you that the Saints were outplayed for the majority of the game against Seattle. They lost because they weren’t able to execute when it counted the most. That being said, if the hit on Harvin wasn’t called for unnecessary roughness the Saints may have been looking at a getting an early lead before Shayne Graham was forced to try from 45 yards and missed. The game of football is a game of inches. That is an old worn out cliché but, it still applies to today’s NFL and those who love it. You can add into that “game of inches” a game of blown or wrong calls. In one of the busiest times of the year (Masters, MLB, NBA, NHL) that doesn’t include professional football the NFL was hoping to slide by an overturned fine without anyone noticing. I’m not going to get into how long it took for them to overturn the fine (3 months). They seemingly forgot that the Saints fan base are more ravenous about football than a pack of hungry wolves. The NFL can’t do anything right in the eyes of the Saints’ fans these days and for that fact, most of the fans elsewhere.
Here in lies the question about the hit and the fine that wasn’t. If the hit that Bush was fined for didn’t violate any rules then, what hits should the refs be calling as “illegal” or “unnecessary roughness”? The NFL Rulebook under rule 15 states clearly what unnecessary roughness is and isn’t. If Bush’s hit wasn’t illegal shouldn’t the NFL be looking into reviewing calls like this one that change games. Granted, this isn’t “The Tuck Game” from days of Patriots football lore but, it still in some way affected the game and ultimately it’s outcome. Don’t expect the front office to be sprinting to the copy room to send out a new edition of the rules anytime soon. After all, this is the Saints who suffered from this call, not the Patriots.