The NFL's announcement from the owners' meetings in Indianapolis Tuesday that it plans to discipline teams this season if their players reach or surpass a certain number of illegal hits did not sit well with two star Steelers defenders.
The punishment is likely come in the form of a fine, but commissioner Roger Goodell has the ability to go further if he believes it is necessary. Stripping teams of draft picks could be one other option he considers.
At least three teams would have qualified for the fine had it been enforced last season, with Steelers president Art Rooney II saying that his team would have been one of the clubs that qualified for the penalty in 2010.
Steelers Pro Bowl OLB James Harrison, who was fined $100,000 for hit infractions last season, used his Twitter account to express his anger with the new rule. "I'm absolutely sure now after this last rule change that the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots," he said.
Teammate LaMarr Woodley, also a Pro Bowl outside 'backer, took to Twitter to comment on the rule. "Thoughts on "the steelers rule"??? lol im sorry that im not sorry we hit 2 hard," he wrote.
Woodley later explained his tweet in a SiriusXM NFL Radio interview.
"Man, they're getting ridiculous," he said. "Football is turning soft now. Too many fines. Too many penalties protecting the quarterback every single play. Defensive guys can't be defensive guys no more."
Rooney and Steelers players believe they were unfairly targeted by the league as it cracked down on hard hits last season.This ruling won't change that feeling.