The Vilification of Brandon Meriweather

I would bet a large sum of money that over the past two days, and probably for at least another two days, you cannot turn on sports talk radio for ten minutes without hearing about the issues with head shots in the NFL.  I refused to turn my radio dial to WEEI today.  I can’t take it anymore.  I’m fed up with all of this whining and complaining about how players are purposely launching themselves at guys heads, trying to knock them out of the game.  I’m sure that James Harrison’s statement that he was trying to hurt guys attributed to the enormity of this story, but Harrison is an idiot.  Don’t let the words of one ignorant man paint the picture for an entire league.

Let me ask you this question: If these three incidents did not occur all on the same weekend, would we even be discussing this issue right now?  Absolutely not.  But, because four players received concussions because of the actions of three football players, this is apparently a huge issue.  I don’t enjoy listening to Mark Schlereth in the least bit.  Take it from me, if you get a chance to head onto at some point in the near future, look up Schlereth’s reaction to the NFL’s decision regarding these hits.  The man goes off, and I completely agree with everything that he said.  Schlereth stated, “If you take all the contact away, guess what you are?  You’re soccer!”  That is complete truth, spoken by a former NFL player.  Americans love football because people get whacked.  “Jacked Up” was one of my favorite segments on ESPN.  Huge hits are glorified, making the league millions of dollars each year.  Now you’re going to fine and suspend those very same guys that made you millions?  HYPOCRISY!

Getting back to Meriweather, why does everyone in New England seem to hate this guy?  Brandon Meriweather is one of my favorite players on the team.  He brings a relentless aggression that no other player on that defense has.  He brings a mean streak that hasn’t been seen in that secondary since…Rodney Harrison.  In the eyes of New England Patriots fans, Rodney Harrison is approaching God-like status.  Rodney was the enforcer on the defense of the 2000’s.  If anyone got out of line, leave it to Rodney to lay them out while running across the middle.  No one balked when Harrison received fine after fine because of dirty plays.  Some actually enjoyed seeing Rodney get voted the NFL’s dirtiest player 3 times.  But wait, Brandon Meriweather brings that same mentality to the field and he is the worst man on the earth.  Meriweather clearly only plays the game for one reason, to knock guys out right?  To all you New England fans out there, stop vilifying Brandon Meriweather for playing like an NFL player.  How can you knock a guy, a safety as a matter of fact, for trying to separate a receiver from the ball.  THAT IS HIS JOB.  I would be pissed if Meriweather backed off on that play, didn’t hit Todd Heap, and Heap made the reception for a 15 yard game.  Do you want to know what Monday morning’s on WEEI would sound like then?  “Come on Dale, Meriweather shouldn’t be worrying about hitting Todd Heap, he has to make that play!”

In 2005, Todd Heap signed a 5 year, $30 million dollar contract.  As he signed on the dotted line, making himself a very rich man, Todd Heap also acknowledged the risk that he was taking by playing professional football.  He needed to be aware that when balls are being thrown his way, there are going to be defenders that are going to try and stop completions from happening, any way that they can.  As an offensive player running full speed down the field to score points for your team, it is critical that you realize the risk at hand.  Very large defenders will be running in your direction trying to end any chance of you gaining yardage.  That means collisions will happen.

What makes football players so amazing, are instincts and reaction time.  There are a ton of guys at our local Gold’s Gyms that are NFL sized people.  None of those guys had the instincts to play in the NFL.  During my playing days I was always told to stop thinking and to just react.  Brandon Meriweather, James Harrison, Dunta Robinson, and the rest of the defensive players in the NFL get paid millions upon millions of dollars to react.  Their instinctual reaction speed is what makes them so good.  Now, by imposing huge fines and possible suspensions, you are forcing these defenders to calculate every move before it is made.  Do you really want Ray Lewis thinking about how he is going to hit Ochocinco while Chad is catching a pass over the middle, or do you want Lewis just to lay him out and start his celebrating?  I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the latter option all day, every day.