More fines (including the weekly on the Steelers' Harrison) handed down by the NFL for dangerous hits. While this isn't a specific Broncos post, it certainly applies in that the Broncos are subject to the crackdown like the other teams. Some fans, including myself, are not altogether happy with what the crackdown (which has slowly been going on for a number of seasons) has done to the product on the field. For the most part, the MSM has interpreted those of us with an issue as hardcore fans who have a problem with big hits being taken out of the game. That's not really my beef at all.
My problem with the crackdown is that the method of its enforcement, specifically the increase in 15 yard penalties against the defense, to often influences the outcome of the game. Football games and teams' seasons feel like they are being decided by which side of call your team is on. It feels like a pretty good number of these plays are what most football fans would consider good hard football. It's also clear to anyone who watches the NFL that it is unrealistic to expect a defensive player to be able to account for the position of all his body parts and the motion of his opponent's body parts in order to ensure that no contact is made between heads, shoulder and head, or forearm and head. Basically, players are being called for major penalties that always result in a first down when the specifics of a hit are largely beyond the control of the player. It seems the only way one could consistently avoid penalties (and fines) is to not make a hit unless you can establish good tackling position. Anyway, my point is that the crackdown on hits puts game and season outcomes in the hands of officials around plays that players don't have a great amount of control over. It's not a competition anymore when it is the luck of the draw.
If the NFL insists on fostering "awareness" of body position on hits with consequences then at least do it with fines only except in the case of blatant unnecessary roughness. In my opinion, it hurts the NFL's product to have games decided by situations that the players have limited control over. You lose the game on a three step run at the QB? Fine by me, you can control that. You lose the game 'cause you went up to swat at the ball and the QB moved into the path of your descending forearm? That's BS. Lowering a helmet while incoming and spearing a receiver costs you the game? Fine by me. Helmet as weapon penalties have been around a long time and are usually fairly obvious. Lose the game 'cause your helmet was ascending as the receivers was descending and they happen to clash in a bang bang moment? BS.
I'm getting a little tired of the NFL working so hard to massage its product with rules and rules enforcement. I understand that they want offense and they want star offensive players to stay healthy. I don't even mind some manipulation of the game through the rules. The five yard contact zone is a great example of a clear rule that a player can easily obey that encourages offense. The current multitude of personal fouls you can incur for hitting QBs, receivers, and the occasional running back...not so much.
If there's a trend that I hate in the NFL, its the degree to which the officials are charged with influencing the game. Good and bad calls have always been there, but it was a function of human excellence or error. Nowadays it seems like an awful lot of it comes from an attempt to manipulate the NFL product for maximum pennies. And I'm not even sure it is successful at that.