Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr looked right at Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, saw him release a pass and then continued to hit him and drive him into the ground.
Whether you think that’s dirty or part of the game, it was unnecessary. And we know from Rodgers’ reaction what he thought of it.
The Packers announced Rodgers has a broken collarbone, and he could miss the rest of the season. Rodgers missed seven games in 2013 with a broken collarbone, though he returned late in the season. The Packers have 10 games left. Whether or not Rodgers returns this season, this much is fact: Barr’s hit on Rodgers has caused a seismic shift in the NFL. The Packers lost 23-10 with Brett Hundley replacing Rodgers.
Here’s where it’s tough to separate what’s legal by the textbook with what’s acceptable. Generally defensive players are given some leeway by officials when they hit the quarterback. If they take one step before hitting a quarterback they don’t get flagged or fined. It seemed Barr was within that one step. Mike Pereira, the former NFL vice president of officiating who now works for Fox and has an uncanny way of deciphering the correct call on broadcasts, said he though Barr’s hit was legal. No penalty was called on the field.
However, it’s also fair to watch the play, know that Barr had no intent other than inflict pain – again, the ball was clearly out and he was looking right at Rodgers – and that hit resulted in an injury. Rodgers’ reaction was angry. Fox blurred out his mouth in replays because apparently he was swearing at someone on the Vikings side, presumably Barr.
Was it legal? Dirty? Cheap? Unnecessary but within the rules? Just good football? Whatever it was, it obviously benefits the Vikings.
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