One of the things people picked out from Sunday’s game was that Jalen Hurts seemed to be getting hit after sliding. We didn’t see any flags though until the second half, when that scuffle broke out.
Brodes snagged the video clip here:
Jalen Hurts CLEARLY hit late after sliding pic.twitter.com/FxXS9HxSfV
— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) September 11, 2022
Head coach Nick Sirianni was asked about this on Tuesday and provided what I found to be a thoughtful answer with NUANCE AND IMPARTIALITY! –
Q. The slides, specifically, it seems like there’s contact on every slide he makes. He’s down. Why is there contact on every slide and did you take this up with the officials, and are you going to talk with the league about this? Is there a benefit of you making a big deal of this?(Les Bowen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Here is the way the rule reads, and I can just educate us on the way it reads. The way it reads is, if Jalen slides before anybody is committed to tackling him, then they can’t touch him, right?
So now when he slides, and the guy is already in the process of making the tackle — because the guys can’t just let up right? We wouldn’t want our guys to teach it that way either because if he hasn’t started his act of sliding, we want those guys to continue in the process of trying to tackle him.
If he starts his slide while they are in the process of trying to tackle him, he’s free game, except for in the head and neck area, if that makes sense.
That is within the rules of the game, and I have to remind myself — the reason I’m so educated in that rule is one, it’s my job to be, but also, is because I have to educate myself so I don’t fly off the handle that he got hit. That doesn’t always mean I’m perfect with that because I know I do.
That is the way the rule writes, and I know the referees have a really hard job, and I think they did a good job of officiating that. To be honest, I think they did a really good job of officiating that.
“Guys can’t just let up” is the takeaway from that quote. They’re playing a fast-paced, bang-bang type of game, and it is nearly impossible to start the process of a tackle and then abort when a guy is running and decides to slide. The line separating clean hit and penalty is so razor thin that it’s almost unfair. It’s the same thing when a dude is going out of bounds and you want to let him go, but you also have to account for him putting his head down and trying to bulldoze you for an extra yard near the sticks.
I don’t envy these defenders at all, especially against Jalen Hurts, who is going to be running and scrambling and then giving himself up multiple times per game. We always have to flip these scenarios around. If the Birds were playing Lamar Jackson and he goes to slide, but Kyzir White is already in the process of making a tackle, we’d argue in favor of the latter doing something legal, within the rules of the game.
The whole thing kind of sucks, but that’s football in 2022.