I want to start off with a complimentary note about Jason Whitlock. He does a great job inciting rage and the promotion of -- apparently in his mind -- truth. He does a great job explaining the anger against Barry Bonds taking steroids is about racism, not ethics. He does a wonderful job, sitting in his Mr. Bubbles bath with a rubber-ducky gasping for air in the corner, earning a "WTF" moment among most readers. OK, that image ruined my Cheeseburger Helper simmering on the stove so I must move on.
Whitlock brings up the Robert Geathers hit on Trent Green. He makes some emotional-based points. I know he likes to promote himself as a football guy, but a basic understanding of what happened, with a little common-sense, should have been applied before condemning Geathers.
"Hat-tip" to Lance posting the NFL's Rules Protecting the passer.
The only thing I can see Whitlock is referring to in reference to the actual hit on Green is this:
So the passer rule book doesn't help much. Let's role the video tape. (thanks to Arrowhead Pride for finding it)
There is nothing illegal about Geathers' hit. Since most will agree -- John Clayton anyone? -- the hit wasn't helmet-to-helmet. If you're not convinced, watch the video. You'll see Geathers' right shoulder -- not his helmet -- hit Green in the head. Watch Geathers' helmet during and after the hit. Basic seventh grade physics will tell you that Geathers' own head would have repelled (or stopped) at the moment of impact. If helmet-to-helmet happened, you would have seen Geathers' head change direction significantly enough to conclude there was a helmet-to-helmet. In fact, Geathers' helmet didn't move at the moment of impact.
But really, all you have to do is watch the video and you'll clearly see his shoulder hit Green's helmet. So unless you can make a compelling case for helmet-to-helmet, I'll assume you agree with me.
You might be able to make the case that since Green started to slide feet first, that the hit was illegal. Let's take a moment to examine this.
If you run a five-second 40-yard dash, it means you can cover eight yards in a single second. Five seconds is fairly common. Green, unscientifically speaking, is three to four yards away before he commits to slide while both are running at full speed.
My point is this: How can we expect Geathers' to act that quickly? In the time and distance both are committing, it was already too late. You're asking a large defensive lineman to change the laws of physics, in the same time it takes for a professional baseball player to think and swing at a fastball, and avoid Green altogether. You're asking, the impossible.
Should there have been a penalty called? Ultimately, in my opinion, it's a judgment call; and no Bengals fan would have argued the call. No ref flagged the play so you have to assume, in their judgment, it was legal. You can blame the refs all you want. But it doesn't make sense that the refs, so addicted to protecting the QBs, would allow an illegal hit go unpunished.
Should Green have slide sooner? I commend his toughness to get as much as he can. But if a quarterback is going to risk the extra yard before committing to slide, then, as we saw, disaster follows.
Like I've said countless times, this is just a bad deal.