James Harrison: Shut Up and Play Some Football, The Great Ones Will Adapt

Andy SnakovskyContributor IOctober 28, 2010

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 03: James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during the game against the Baltimore Ravens on October 3, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

James Harrison is one of the hardest hitting and best linebackers in the NFL today.  However, after being fined a hefty $75,000, Mr. Harrison is contemplating leaving the game of football.  Maybe he thinks he is taking some sort of stand, but if he goes through with this, it would be a huge mistake.

Now, I am a Ravens fan, and I am supposed to hate everything Pittsburgh, and this may seem like I am hating on them, but I'm not.  Trust me, if there was a chance I could have Harrison on the Ravens tomorrow, I would love it.

This is also not the first time that the NFL, or, for that matter, any sport, has changed the rules of the game.


Example No. 1

Bob Gibson was one of the most feared and best pitchers of his era.  In 1968 Gibson went 22-9 with an ERA of 1.12.  For the next season, baseball lowered the mound five inches and made the strike zone smaller.  Now, they claim it was done for the league-wide pitching dominance, but it was mostly done because of Gibson.

Bob Gibson could have said it wasn't fair and walked away from the game.  However, he did not, and in 1969, Gibson still won 20 games and had an ERA of 2.18.  Gibson didn't complain, he adapted to the circumstances and was still one of the game's best.


Example No. 2

Mel Blount is always in the conversation as being one of the best defensive backs in NFL history.  Blount's game was physicality—he was known for his bump-and-run coverage and aggressive coverage style.

Before the 1978 season, the NFL created the rule that defenders could only touch receivers up to five yards past the line of scrimmage. It is commonly referred to as the Mel Blount rule.

Blount was unfazed by the rule change.  Mel had 22 of his 57 interceptions after the 1978 season and went to the Pro Bowl three more times.  He continued to be the backbone of the Steelers secondary despite the rule change that affected his game.

I could go on and on digging up examples of rule changes and how players played within the rules and still played great.

Harrison is a great player, but this is not the first time he has said or done something that has left us scratching our heads.  James Harrison can still be a great player, and he has a chance to prove it by changing how he plays.

Follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/AndySnakovsky