NOTE: Yes the hit in question isn't the one pictured but you gotta love Detroit QB Shaun Hill's face as Ernie Sims slams him around.
Eagles linebacker Ernie Sims didn’t change his hard-hitting style Sunday and the NFL looks like it won’t be punishing him for business as usual.
Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations spoke to the AP about helmet-to-helmet hits Monday and he even complimented some players like New England’s Brandon Meriwether and Pittsburgh’s James Harrison for hard, but legal, hits one week after both players for fined for crushing blows.
Sims called new rules that call for stiffer fines and possible suspensions for vicious hits, “crazy” last week.
He vowed that he wouldn’t change his style and he lived up to that threat Sunday.
It seems that Sims is safe despite a crushing helmet-to-helmet hit on Titans running back Chris Johnson that was so hard that Sims also took teammate Asante Samuels’ helmet off, according to the AP.
One hit that was questioned came in Tennessee’s victory over Philadelphia. (Johnson) was headed down the right sideline when he was slammed helmet-to-helmet by (Sims). No flag was thrown -- correctly.
Anderson explained that Johnson was a runner with the ball heading downfield and was anything but a defenseless player. Sims’ hit was well within the rules.
“It’s never been an intention to legislate all helmet-to-helmet hits out of the game,” said Anderson, a member of the NFL’s competition committee and one of the league’s loudest voices about player safety. “We just are trying to make sure when a player is in a defenseless situation, he is not hit in the head or neck area.”
Just ask Sims’ teammate DeSean Jackson what it feels like to be nailed in the head and neck while defenseless. A hit from Atlanta’s Dunta Robinson knocked the Eagles wideout out of action not only two weeks ago but also against the Titans and possibly beyond.
For now it seems the NFL is willing to live with hard headfirst hits as long as no one gets seriously hurt. But if Johnson was knocked out by Sims that policy might have changed.
Moving forward it could be like walking on eggshells for players like Sims, Harrison, Meriwether and others. Hit hard and send a message or hit soft and possibly give up big plays -- stay tuned.