the above is a video of one of the must "flashy" plays made by the steelers defense last week against the tennessee titans. it is a sack of vince young in the third quarter with the steelers up 13-3. for an excellent analysis of this play you should chuck out bob labriola and tounch ilkin's "chalk talk" video from steelers.com (the analysis of this particular play starts at about the 9:54...it's worth watching just to listen to bill hillgrove's radio call of the play). in the chalk talk video, bob and tounch show you a great angle of the play from behind the defense, and every dick lebeau fan should watch this because it is really remarkable how much is happening defensively after the snap of the ball.
but the complexity or even the x's and o's of the play aren't my interest in this post. i'm concerned with the big finale. as you can see, james harrison arrives at vince young first, followed by aaron smith and then brett keisel who is almost too late to the party. harrison starts off high on vince young, but once smith and keisel arrive to sandwich him, deebo lifts up on young's legs to get him to the ground. it's a sack, it's a sexy play, line up and do it again. no big deal.
but the reason i bring it up is that this was one of the plays jeff fisher whined about in his press conference yesterday, saying that their should have been a flag. i disagree, and i'm trying to discern if that's just because i am watching through my black and gold-colored glasses, or if more reasonable folks agree with me.
unnecessary roughness is usually called in this case when it appears that a defensive player tries to lift a ball-carrier into the air in order to slam them to the ground. it doesn't seem to me that this is what we are seeing on this play. as many times as i've watched the play, i get the sense that the three defenders had reached a sort of stalemate with vince young's upper body, having kind fo canceled out one another's force by sandwiching him. in order to play through the whistle and get the dangerous vince young to the ground, harrison pulled his feet out from under him. well, given that vince young no longer has his feet connected to the ground, and has some 500+ pounds of muscle pushing him backwards, he collapsed into the ground. it looked violent. it was violent. but i don't think it was illegal.
will there be a fine assessed? probably. should there have been a flag? nope. what do you think, steeler nation?