Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on NFL action with stricter enforcement against illegal hits: “It only got better”

Columnist Joe Starkey writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review of the exciting Week 7 action, noting that the games “only got better” after Commissioner Roger Goodell announced stricter enforcement of the current rules against illegal hits.

“That was the NFL’s miracle last weekend,” Starkey writes. “Instead of serving up a softer, weaker product — which many feared in the wake of threatened suspensions for head shots — the league proved why it is king of American sport and why that isn’t going to change anytime soon, lockout or no lockout. It only got better.

“The NFL had produced its highest-scoring weekend since 1983, spiced with a slew of nail-biting finishes,” Starkey continued. “And not a single player went over the line far enough to draw a hefty fine, never mind a suspension.”

Steelers’ linebacker James Farrior (above) and safety Ryan Clark both discussed the issue.

“No doubt about it,” Farrior said. “You just have to play within the rules and know what the refs are looking for.”

Clark spoke of a sideline tackle he made in Sunday’s game. “I did make sure I lowered my aiming point to not hit him in the head, but it was still a good tackle,” Clark said in an interview with 93.7 The Fan radio. “(In other areas of the field), you definitely have to make sure there’s no possible way you have helmet-to-helmet contact, not only for the safety of the game but also for your team.”

Concluded Starkey: “And if it so happens that helmet-to-helmet contact is unavoidable, or precipitated by the receiver, and a player is unjustly fined, so be it. The Steelers will survive. The NFL will flourish. It might even get better.”

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