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Edwards Call Brings Life To A Fading Debate

Ray Edwards had himself a heck of a game against the Lions.  Five tackles, three for a loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.  However, perhaps his best play of the game was the one that hurt the Vikings more than any other.

On a third down, Edwards rushed the passer as usual.  Running back Maurice Morris tried to go low on the block.  Edwards took to the air, and hit Matt Stafford like a heat seeking missile with impeccable timing.  Stafford and friends exploded into a fury of Hawaii blue with the ball squirting to the ground.  It was a beautiful play, one that we only really imagine greats of the old gridiron making.  It was football in its most primal and raw form.


It was also a penalty.  Instead of being a recovered fumble, resulting in a fourth and long, the Lions were allotted 15 yards and a first down.  The call on the field was helmet-to-helmet contact with the passer.  The Lions went on to score a touchdown.  The best play of the day is now worthy of nothing more than some complaints, some giggles, a minor stat line, and probably some money in the form of a fine.  The play may have been a turnover, but it is hard to say who actually came out with the ball.

It is hard to say if Edwards hit Stafford in a helmet-to-helmet manner, or if Stafford was hit in the head at all.  I’ve watched the film a lot, and I just cannot tell.  So, the call on the field is valid based on the rules currently in place, in my opinion.

Brad Childress does not agree.  Not 15 minutes after the game, Childress had this to say about the call:

“[The game officials] said he launched and hit him up high,” Childress said. “I said, ‘define up high for me.’ He said, ‘Well he didn’t hit him in the head.’ What’s up high above the waist? You can’t launch and hit a guy below the waist. How can you launch and get somebody to the ground if you can’t get them up high. There is no rule that says you can only hit in the midsection. I don’t quite get it. I thought it was a great defensive play by Ray. I thought it was a great effort play by Ray. I thought it was a sack, strip, fumble and that would have gotten us off the field right there.”

To me, Childress knows the officials made the right call.  He knows these guys are paid to officiate the game as is written, not as it ought to be played.  He knows that big name quarterbacks like his beloved Donovan McNabb or his beloved Brett Favre are responsible for these rules because of their importance to the NFL… and the NFL’s wallet.

Thus, the problem does not lie with the call made by the officials on this one play, but rather with the mentality that the quarterback position is valued above all others by the fans… and thus is valued most by the people whom the fans pay money to in order to see football played.  It is a fact of the NFL, and it is a fact that the NFL is hoping becomes a dead issue sooner rather than later.

That is what they were banking on.  Sure these new quarterback protection rules will face some criticism at first.  But once the fans get used to it, learn that it is here to stay, they will forget the glory days of the old gridiron… where men were men, regardless of where they lined up or how much they got paid.

Instances like this, however, keep ruining the NFL’s plans for this issue to die.  Instances like this cause fans to write letters to the NFL to complain about their product.  They cause coaches to call up the people in charge of officiating to question the game’s integrity.  Instances like these cause people to wonder if perhaps some of these rules should be applied to other positions so that quarterbacks can be judged on an equal level as the rest of the positions.

What if running backs weren’t allowed to be hit below the waist?  Adrian would have 900 yards a game.

What if offensive linemen couldn’t hit defenders with their arms?  Jared Allen would have 15 sacks a game.

What if receivers couldn’t be jammed at the line?  Percy would be wide open on EVERY play.

My point is that it is getting out of hand with putting quarterbacks on an alter.  We wonder why Marino has no records left.  Well, he didn’t have the advantage of getting special treatment on every play like Peyton manning and Drew Brees do. 

But passing plays sell tickets.  

Although, we have some current quarterbacks to thank for this.  Remember E.J. Hendersons’ “cheap shot” on Matt Hasselbeck?  No?  Well, he does.  All he did was bitch about that perfectly clean hit and how the league needs to address the protection of quarterbacks even more.  Mind you, this was in 2006 when the NFL was already doing a ton to protect quarterbacks.  Add that to the Tom Brady injury last season, and the “Jared Allen Rule” and well, Childress is correct, where CAN you hit a quarterback these days?

If you can’t tell by now, I am a football purist.  I think the view the quarterback as a ball carrier, and defenders should be free to blast them (within reasonable limits of when he has gotten rid of the ball) just like they can any other player.  Otherwise why have a defensive line made up of pass rushers?

Think it is too dangerous to allow quarterbacks to get hit?  Well, just ask Brian Westbrook this week about what it is like to be an NFL running back… he may not remember enough to give you a good answer.

There, that’s my unorganized and sloppy rant for the day.

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9 Responses to “Edwards Call Brings Life To A Fading Debate”

  1. c.carterhof says:

    After watching it a few times I think Edwards hit him with his shoulder in the facemask.

    It was a bad call. I know the rule, I dont like the rule. Edwards was being chopped blocked, he did what he had to do. You dont want your QB to take a shot to the head? Dont block low. Blame it on Mo Morris.

    You gotta see the whole play and why he went hi. I understand the ref saw it as it happend, without a replay in slo-mo. BUT, they need not be so quick to pull the flag out. Thats a knee jerk reaction. I know thats part of bein a ref, but maybe take a second to think about it.

  2. bigjohnny84 says:

    Great point c.c. In alot of games that may have cost us the game. Fortunately it didn’t. I hate it when the refs think they need to decide the game. Just get the calls right even if it takes a few minutes.

  3. Adam Warwas says:

    Good points guys. It’s a tough call that could have gone either way (like the tripping call against the steelers).

    I wish someone would tell the refs “When in doubt, let ’em play”

  4. bigjohnny84 says:

    Adam I dont know how many times I’ve yelled that (just let’em play) statement at the tv. To numerous to mention.

  5. Adam Warwas says:

    The pity is that Madieau Williams was almost certainly going to bring him down anyways. Edwards hit simply made sure he couldn’t get the play off and couldn’t hang onto the ball.

    If I’m not mistaken, hitting the QB in the head with any part of your body, including the shoulder is against the rules… but I may be mistaken.

  6. […] the rest here: Edwards Call Brings Life To A Fading Debate » Vikings Gab By admin | category: call block | tags: 100-people, bomb, felony-charges, heat-seeking, […]

  7. Purple Charlie says:

    Remember Percy’s 88yard kick off return at the Steelers,I love how the Ref got plowed over by Dugan,A little payback for that lousy call…
    I grew up in Pa. So all alot of the family members are Steeler fans. ( Man I wanted the Vikings to beat the Squealers BAD!!! )

  8. Paragon Paul says:

    What you failed to mention in your article is that a QB is in a very exposed vulnerable position. That is why you can not hit them high and lead with the crown of your helmet. Stafford like all QB’s was standing tall and looking downfield completely oblivious to a person diving helmet first into his face. Edwards dove full forth with the crown of his helmet into the guys face mask. That is a penilty and an NFL fine, and rightfully so. Even against a RB who is expecting to be hit, you do not come flying in with the top of your helmet. That is not only for the safty of the ball carrier but for the tackler. The NFL has been fazing out that kind of tackling for the last 15 years due to too many spinal cord injuries. Against a QB who due to the nature of their position are extremely exposed and vulnerable that play is even more blatant. If it had happened against the Vikings QB you guys would be screaming about how the bum who hit him needs to be fined. Forget the bias, that was a dirty play.

  9. Adam Warwas says:

    Edwards wasn’t fined and the NFL admitted that it wasn’t a penalty.

    No, I wouldn’t get upset if our quarterback got rocked like that, at least not upset at the officials. I’d be upset at our O-Line, just like Stafford should be.

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