Steelers Troy Polamalu takes down Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez in the season opener.
By Ed Bouchette Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
James Harrison was not immediately available today to speak about his trip to New York to meet with the NFL commissioner, but Troy Polamalu had a few things to say.
Polamalu, the Steelers' five-time safety, charged that commissioner Roger Goodell has too much power and said paranoia is rampant around the league since the NFL crackdown on certain hits by defenders.
"It's football, you know. If people want to watch soccer then they can watch soccer," Polamalu said during a lunchtime interview. "But, honestly, overseas when people are attracted to this game, they're going to see the big hits, they're not going to care about touchdowns and different things. So you're also taking apart what attracts people to this game."
Polamalu said he would not have wanted to have a meeting with Goodell to air his opinions, the way the commissioner gave Harrison a chance to do on Tuesday.
"Sometimes I think it just falls on deaf ears," Polamalu said. "I think a lot of players have said a lot of things and I guarantee you he heard everything everybody said.
"But, you know, he's got all the power; that may be part of the problem, that there needs to be some type of separation of power like our government. There should be some type of players involved in decisions over how much people should be fined or what they should be fined for, as well as coaches, as well as front office people.
"I don't think it should be just totally based on what two or three people may say who are totally away from the game. I think it should be some of the players who are currently playing."
Asked if he thought officials were "paranoid" about calling penalties since the crackdown began two weeks ago, Polamalu said he was not sure.
"I don't know about the referees' decisions to maybe need to throw a flag but there is definitely a paranoia that is unneeded. Just because we had that weekend a few weekends ago which there were, I think somebody said, five hits out of 1,000. Yeah, I think there is too much paranoia."
Polamalu obviously does not agree with the NFL's crackdown.
"Do players need more protection? I don't know. I think in certain instances, yeah, but I don't think you can just completely make every type of hit obsolete, from horse collar tackling to whatever kind of tackling it is. You just can't control some of these factors.
"Like James' big problem was, If I'm aiming for his chest and he lowers his head, that shouldn't be a fineable hit."
Polamalu, echoing Steelers coach Mike Tomlin's sentiments a few weeks ago, said there is no confusion among the players as to what the NFL wants.
"No, I don't think there's any confusion. I just think the problem is that they're wrong."