Posted December 17, 2013

NFL: Hit on Bengals punter Kevin Huber illegal

NFL
Kevin Huber  AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Cincinnati Bengals punter Kevin Huber averaged 45.7 yards on 66 punts this season. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The hit that ended Cincinnati Bengals punter Kevin Huber‘s season should have been a 15-yard penalty, the NFL said Tuesday.

Huber suffered a broken jaw and was placed on injured reserve after a punt return touchdown by Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown when linebacker Terence Garvin delivered a block on Huber that helped Brown score during Sunday night’s game.

No flag was called on the play and the Steelers went on to win the game 30-20.

“This is an illegal block. It should have been a flag for a 15-yard penalty,” Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating said on NFL Network. “You’ll see the close up where you can see the contact to the head or neck area. So this will certainly be a point of emphasis this week, especially with our referees who are responsible for the punter on plays like this. “We have to watch the punter, he’s defenseless. And we want to flag hits like that.”

Blandino said that because Huber is a punter, he is defenseless throughout the entire play.

“So even though he’s pursuing the play, he still gets defenseless-player protection. You can’t hit him in the head or neck, and you can’t use the crown or forehead parts of the helmet to the body,” Blandino said.

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76 comments
michael.f.passe
michael.f.passe

Garvin's hit is the dictionary definition of "unnecessary roughness." In the real world, this thug would have done some time.

AndersonEdwards
AndersonEdwards

I am at a loss to anyone but Steeler fans, defending this hit.  Three points ...


1.  Terence Garvin knew EXACTLY what he was doing ... he was lighting up the kicker, and he did so with one of the most vicious hits this side of Jack Tatum.  If instead of Huber, the player had been Ben Rothlisberger or Brady or Manning, coming across the field after an inception (i.e., a "potential tackler" as I keep hearing), Garvin would have been suspended for the rest of the season.


2.  People are complaining about Garvin's fine?  Do you have the same concern for Huber and the rest of his career?  


3.  We now have the Hines Ward Rule (cheap shot on Keith Rivers), the Kimo von Oelhoffen Rule (cheap shot on Carson Palmer), and now the Terence Garvin Rule (cheap shot on Huber).  It is time for the NFL (in general) and the Bengals (in particular) to get a few rules named after them in these games.

JohnnyDee1
JohnnyDee1

Dean Blandino is part of the problem in the NFL...Now, this week, the officials will call some stupid 5 yd or 15 yd penalty each time the punter is breathed on...Was the hit illegal??? By the rule book, yes...But it's a stupid rule to start...Last time I checked, these were grown men getting paid to play football...You want no contact...play golf...


Now...to fine the player after there was no foul called is ridiculous...How about fining officials for completely blowing calls and maybe they won't miss as many...You penalize the player for the official not doing his job??? Ridiculous!!!


Let's take on this 'defenseless player' nonsense...You engage yourself in a play, you lose that status...You try to block or tackle an opposing player...you assume the risk of whatever contact comes next...Legal or illegal...


Last time I checked, no one is forcing these guys to play professional football...There isn't a gun to their head...Part of this game involves bodily contact...you get hit and break something...part of the game...by signing your pro contract, you consent to the contact of the game...


How about we get rid of some of these old, slow, lazy officials and replace them with younger officials who actually hustle and will make an effort to get calls right on the field and not rely on the replay to bail them out...

Terry
Terry

He can make a tackle but he's "defenseless" ?

Hmmm...

GaloofvonDorkmeister
GaloofvonDorkmeister

I'd like to hear from any fan - anyone! - who is willing to put on the equipment of Kevin Huber, stand in the middle of a chaotic punt run back situation and take a hit like the one Garvin delivered.


Everyone has their own uninformed opinion, so I think the only way to solve this issue is to let people like "rentistoohigh" or "me21" relate firsthand if they believe that the hit was both legal and legitimate.

rentistoohigh
rentistoohigh

Huber is a classically identified STUPID player and as such should be flagged for impersonation


1- bad snap...no chance to punt so instead of running through the endzone he takes a step forward and in so doing fofeits a chance for a safety and sets up a Steeler TD


2- Makes himself a tackler on a punt return by standing up and preparing to make a pointless dive as the return man roars by...thereby leaving himself open for a jawbreaking teeth loosening  beat down of a return block 


3- block referenced in number 2 above was a bit excessive in that it it took advantage of a mentally challenged punter 

megalodale
megalodale

I always knew the comment sections of various news/sports outlets were home for the brain dead.  Many of you need to read up (and at least make an attempt to understand) what "defenseless player" means in the NFL rule book.  Maybe then you'll be able to carry on a conversation about it without looking so incredibly stupid.

JimiScheid
JimiScheid

Kimo von Oelhoffen's illegal knee shot on Carson Palmer in the 2006 playoffs, illegal jaw shot on Keith Rivers by the NFL's ugliest player Hines Ward in 2008 and now this piece of crap adds to the list.  And this is just against the Bengals in the last 8 years.  I didn't even mention serial rapist Roethlisberger or the rest of the storied crew.  Just more ammunition to declare Pittsburgh as the NFL's dirtiest team.  Now please excuse me.  This recent news, combined with some potentially-tainted food I ate, has me needing to go take a Steeler.

KeithMoore
KeithMoore

Certainly the punter is defenseless and deserving of extra protection thru completion of the punting effort.  Following that he should be treated as any other player on the field or he should be required to run to the nearest sideline to remove himself from the play.  There are several good implementations of defenseless status being put into place, but to say a punter is always defenseless just because he is a  punter is ridiculous.

MorphySmith
MorphySmith

Time to sit the players who make ILLEGAL hits for TWO games min. to get their attention and penalize the refs for NOT calling the penalty. Let the Refs get some skin in the game and see if they pay more attention.


alt, let the player who made the illegal hit sit out every game the injured player does.

Navycross
Navycross

Punter is not defenseless, but it was not a clean hit. The rule needs to change, but either way if that were a hit on a star player, they would be talking suspension, not just a fine. Plenty of time to line him up and properly execute a block on that play, it was not incidental nor was there any attempt to pull off. He went for the big time, "blow him up" hit and stood there after posing for the cameras. Saying though that a punter is defenseless through the entire play is ridiculous. Broke his jaw and cracked the vertebrae in his neck, if that isn't a head shot, what the hell is?!

Big Jeff
Big Jeff

Once the punt is away, the punter should immediately sit down Native American style, placing his hands on top of his helmet so opposition players know not to hit him.

rmcginnis456
rmcginnis456

So would the 15-yard penalty have negated the touchdown?  If yes, the Bengals have a legitimate complaint here.  The game ended 30-20, and that's because the Bengals, on their 3rd TD, went for 2 and missed (the goal was to get within 8 points).  If Pitt instead had 23 at that point, the Bengals would have kicked the XP to make it 23-21.  Now one FG wins the game.  Wow, if the TD were nullified, this is a BIG outcome impact. 


Gotta hand it to those Steelers, totally irrelevant this year but trying to appear relevant by brutally attacking other teams.

playemball
playemball

Bottom line is..football is a hard hitting game..you go out and play hard to get the W for your team, but you don't go out to purposely hurt or maim a fellow player..there's families involved here..and a player doesn't need his future taken away. Garvin needs to be told this and in a manner he won't forget..I'm sure he wouldn't want a hit put on himself like that! GL to everyones teams.

JimCatCabbage
JimCatCabbage

Illegal hit? Shocking, I tell you! I thought players had to suffer from more than a broken jaw to draw a flag...was there a bone sticking out somewhere? Blood flowing like a broken off fire hydrant?


Fer Chrissakes, let'm PLAY!/sarcasm

lumpy701
lumpy701

I don't have a problem with someone hitting the punter after he has finished kicking and pursued the play.  but this hit was a cheap shot that did not have to be taken - Garvin could have put his shoulder into Huber's midsection and put him on the ground with equal ease.  The fact that he aimed the crown of his helmet at Huber's chin deserves more than a fine.  The redeeming grace is that someone who leads with his head like that will eventually suffer from CTE and an unhappy ending.  In Garvin's case that will hopefully be sooner, rather than later.  

Mike93
Mike93

My problem here is not the hit. The hit to the neck in an upward motion was dangerous and illegal. My issue is the punter being defenseless throughout the play. The punter can tackle to returner. He is defenseless while in the act of punting, but not after the ball is caught and being returned. If he is truely defenseless, then he should not be able to tackle and must stay out of the play.

Lostntheburbs
Lostntheburbs

I guess the NFL should do like soccer.  Place the QB, kicker and punter in a completely neon jersey that is different from all other players (All sarcasm here).  The NFL wants to eliminate all peel back blocks etc.  When I played football (High School was my highest level) it was common practice to hunt up the kickers and QBs when there was a blocked kick or an interception.  I know that is the case at the NFL level.  At least it used to be.  If you watched any NFL it was hysterical to see LB's and DLs, changing paths when they saw the punter or QB.  Those little guys would run for their lives.

On a different note, I am for the idea/rule of no helmet to helmet contact but other than that, don't take the hitting out of football.

btcvsolo
btcvsolo

Make everything legal. 

Only 2 officials, one in each end zone to signal touchdowns, PAT's, etc.

Let all 53 players on the field at the same time.

Abolish ALL female sideline reporters.

Free beer for the fans.

Losing team has their bus turned over.

Losing coach is fired.

No more backwards baseball caps in post-game interviews.

Nude cheerleaders.

Home team's fans get full refunds if their team loses.

More monkeys riding dogs.


(Thank you. That is all.)


joey311164
joey311164

One of the stupidest rules EVER... a punter is defenseless when he's trying to make a play???  Get the hell off the field then after you punt the ball, or change the rule so that there is no special exception for punters/kickers.  Might as well put dresses on them.

RobertJacke
RobertJacke

@rentistoohigh  The point you missed that Terence Garvin led with his head and hit the punter in the helmet area it was a helmet to helmet hit  no excuses no bad snap or anything else....

DonTheGreen
DonTheGreen

@MorphySmith I like the alternative idea, sitting out every game when it's an illegal hit.  Good call.

Hammer109
Hammer109

@NavycrossI totally agree with your take.  If the punter is pursuing the play and, in theory at least, trying to make a tackle, how can he be defenseless?  But the hit was ridiculous.  The defensive player saw an opportunity to cream someone and he took it.  Anyone who has played football, even at the lowest level, knows that there are plenty of guys out on the field who relish those opportunities to lay someone out.  For better or worse, that's football and those are the kinds of guys who play it.

dudedadesq
dudedadesq

@Navycross You say he's not defenseless, but apparently the rule is that a punter is always defenseless throughout the play.  It's a protection for punters and kickers.  If they carry the ball, all bets are off.

j7apple
j7apple

@Big Jeff   lol...thats classic...It may be better to just run to the sidelines? Unless your Pat McAfee hitting Trindon Holliday  ouch......

me21
me21

@rmcginnis456 What an immature ending remark.  Your team lost the game and all your excuses and blame placing won't change that.   Learn to live with defeat like a man instead of a crying loser.

me21
me21

@lumpy701 Your wish for Garvin to be hurt shows the kind of pathetic person you are.  Since you aren't God you have no way of knowing what Garvin was thinking on that hit.  You assume too much!   

anon76
anon76

@Mike93 

You can still block the crap out of a "defenseless" player.  You just can't target their head/neck area or lead with the crown of your helmet.  In this case the Pittsburgh player did both.

Steve Cowan
Steve Cowan

@LostntheburbsInstead of no leading with helmet, helmet to helmet, etc... let's just eliminate ALL helmets and pads!  I bet the violence would go way down.

anon76
anon76

@Lostntheburbs 


Were there a lot of 260 pound guys running 4.5 40's in your high school?  First off, head-hunting the little guys is not only cowardly, it also probably hurts your own team as you're leaving a more capable player unblocked.  Second of all, you can certainly leave the hitting in football while still taking out the cowardly hits that are most likely to injure other players.  You want a big hit on a special teams play?  Fine, blow up a linebacker by hitting him in the chest when he sees you coming.  Don't do it by blindsiding a punter with a helmet-first hit under the face mask.

DonTheGreen
DonTheGreen

@joey311164 Hey Joey.  Let's put you on the field with a dress.  Both teams benefit from this rule.  It's there for reasons beyond your logic.  

Tom9
Tom9

@me21 @rmcginnis456 He isn't crying.  They officiating crew effing toasted this one, there were two other penalties on the play missed as well.  It had a huge impact on the outcome.  

GaloofvonDorkmeister
GaloofvonDorkmeister

@me21


If you know that lumpy701 isn't God then does that mean that you are God? Because only God would know that s/he is God and that the other person must be some type of divine impostor.


If you are indeed God and endowed with supernatural powers and such, can you do me a favor and miraculously heal Vince Wilfork, Rob Gronkowski and Jerod Mayo in time for the playoffs?

shawnknight
shawnknight

@anon76 @Mike93 The point is why should he have "defenseless" protection when he's still perfectly capable of making the tackle on the returner?  I'm not saying this particular hit should have been okay, but why the rule itself?

me21
me21

@anon76 @Lostntheburbs Head- hunting the little guy?  What a pathetic comment.  Do you think that somehow Garvin weighed the punter before the game so he could do a deliberate hit on him because he was smaller?  You are absolutely blind to what really happened on that play, and I would guess the real reason behind your poor choice of words is that you are a Bengals fan.  



joey311164
joey311164

@DonTheGreen@joey311164Fail.  If a kicker is trying to make a play/tackle, he should be treated like any other player.  Maybe your logic needs upgrading, moron.

GaloofvonDorkmeister
GaloofvonDorkmeister

@Steve Cowan That's because he didn't mean "Indian", he meant "native American" as in anyone who was born in the US and thus is a native American...

Lostntheburbs
Lostntheburbs

@me21 and anon76 Maybe I used a poor choice of words.  By head hunting, I meant going to get a clean hit on a guy otherwise you could not normally hit.  Yes, the hit on the Bengal's punter was illegal and I am not suggesting otherwise.  With that said, in previous times, during an interception return or a blocked kick return, there would be defensive players who specifically (legal at the time) would go get a hit on the QB or the punter.  Like it or not, sound strategy if the opponents kicker was unable to continue for that evenings contest (QB as well).  Nothing would be dirty about it since it was middle of the chest, just go put a hit on the guy.  If you watched any NFL football during the 80's or 90's, you would see clearly what I am describing.  


As far as 260lb guys running 4.5 is concerned, yes there were some large, fast guys in 5A football in Texas who were Division I recruits capable of doing damage.  Everybody assumes risks when stepping on the field.  What everybody is arguing about is how to limit risk on the field for the players most exposed to those hits or specialists.  If you are not going to be allowed to hit them, then they either need to sit down once the ball has left the foot or arm or put them in a different colored jersey so that everybody knows not to hit them.  


Last, if you never played football, and are commenting about all of this based on what others type, you really have not a clue what you are talking about.  Once again, I am for all rules that regulate helmet to helmet contact, but after that, it is football for heavens sake.  It is a collision sport and should be coached and played as such.  Not flag football and well lets be nice with this one guy.  

anon76
anon76

@me21


Pathetic?  Blind?  Poor choice of words?

You do realize that I was replying to the guy whose post was immediately above mine?  The guy that said "When I played football ... it was common practice to hunt up the kickers".  After seeing the attention to detail you put into that post, I'm pretty sure that I have a better idea of what happened in the Steelers-Bengals game.