"I think they are looking at (James Harrison) more closely than they are everybody else in the league. In the referee world, they kind of red-flagged him.
"The league has their favorites. One being in Indy and one being with that other team up north. Besides those two, everybody is fair game. Some quarterbacks are getting the calls right away. Some quarterbacks they don't care.
"Like I always said, Carson Palmer got hit in his knee in 2005 but there was no rule made. Then Tom Brady got hit in his knee and all of a sudden there is a rule and possible suspensions, excessive fines - it's just getting ridiculous."
- Terrell Suggs
When Kimo Von Oelhoffen dove at Carson Palmer's knee on January 8, 2006 in the middle of a 66-yard pass to Chris Henry, you hoped for the best, but feared the worst. Palmer was writhing in pain for what seemed like eternity before he was carted off the field. My spirits jumped off a cliff. Some wondered if the torn knee ligaments wouldn't keep him sidelined throughout the 2006 season, if not drastically change his career as some clearly believe.
Yet, Palmer would go on to play every game in 2006, reaching 4,000 yards passing for the first time in his career and recording a 93.9 passer rating -- second to only his 101.1 rating in 2005. He also set career highs in completed passes of 20 yards or more (36) and 40 yards or more (15) during the season, which is clearly the second best season of his career. In the two seasons after hurting his knee (2006 and 2007), Palmer would throw a combined 54 touchdown passes and average 4,083 yards passing per season.
So whatever happened with Palmer in the following seasons from 2008 and on, it rarely has anything to do with his knee, shown by his successes the following seasons. Personally, I feel a good place to start is with the offensive line. Going from Levi Jones, Willie Anderson, Bobbie Williams, Rich Braham and the impressive youngster in Eric Steinbach to this offensive line today with an aging Williams and undrafted free agents with starts during the past two years, you're going to see every aspect on offense decline. But that's a conversation for another day -- or for the thousands we've had for the past few months.
After Palmer's knee injury, the NFL's rules committee changed a preexisting rule that prohibited defensive players from hitting a quarterback at or below the knee, with the only exception being that they were blocked into the quarterback. Per John Clayton when the rule was changed in 2006.
A rushing defensive player won't be allowed to forcibly hit a quarterback below the knees. He has to make every effort to avoid such a low hit. Palmer, Griese and Roethlisberger suffered knee injuries on low hits but those three plays were considered legal by the committee because they involved defensive rushers coming off blocks. Several other plays such as the old Rodney Harrison hit on Trent Green when he was with the Rams along with a Jared Allen low hit on Kerry Collins would be subject to a 15-yard penalty. That proposal passed, 25-7
After Tom Brady's season-ending injury during the Patriots' opening weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Competition Committee further adopted the rule.
The clarification specifically prohibits a defender on the ground who hasn't been blocked or fouled directly into the quarterback from lunging or diving at the quarterback's lower legs.
So while we believe that the league and the teams favors certain players, the hits on Brady and Palmer each resulted in rule changes to an already preexisting rule.