The scariest moment in the Steelers’ 13-10 win over the Ravens last night involved a huge hit on Steelers tight end Heath Miller by Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain, which you can see above. Miller sustained a concussion on the play, and as you can see above, it was a clear helmet-to-helmet shot.
Miller lay on the ground for an extended period after the hit before (thankfully) getting up and walking off on his own. The most remarkable thing about this play, however, was that no penalty was called. Announcer Cris Collinsworth ripped the lack of a flag (as you can also hear in the video above, and it’s easy to see why: not only was it about as obvious a helmet-to-helmet shot as you’ll see, but Miller was in the process of falling to the ground – in other words, he was a defenseless player.
The NFL quickly admitted the referees made a mistake, but the league will undoubtedly catch some grief for this one, and they should. If you’re going to make a big deal about tougher enforcement of rules to help prevent head injuries, you’ve got to, well, enforce the rules that are in place to help prevent head injuries.
In football, hits like McClain’s are inevitable occasionally, but unless there are consequences, they won’t happen any less frequently. Screw-ups by referees are inevitable too, of course, but considering the league’s tough talk on the concussion issue, this was unfortunate play on which to see one of the clearest no-calls we’ve seen in a while.