Lion’s Suh penalized for Pulling Marion Barber’s Hair

Well it finally happened.  Today in the Lions – Cowboys game a player was tackled by the long hair hanging out of the back of his helmet.  Lions DT Ndamukong Suh pulled Cowboys RB Marion Barber down by his hair. I’m honestly amazed that we don’t see this happen more often, probably because most of the players in the league with long hair are defenders.

I personally think that this was a bad call to penalize Suh on this play.  I realize that pulling someone down from their hair is very similar to a horse-collar tackle, but if it is a penalty for tackling someone by the hair, then a player could just grow his hair really long, so that it covered up most of his back.  Now defenders can’t grab your back to tackle you because they would get penalized.  With his long hair Marion Barber creates a “safe zone” on his back where no defender can grab onto his jersey, because his hair is in the way.  In my mind this is an unfair advantage.  If the players are afraid of injuries happening due to these “hair tackles,”  then they can simply cut their hair, or do something else to prevent it from hanging out of their helmet.  What do you guys think?

This entry was posted in Week 11 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Lion’s Suh penalized for Pulling Marion Barber’s Hair

  1. Lonnie says:

    You are exactly correct. The ref called this a horse collar tackle because that is what it appeared to be, but the fact that Barber had all that hair in the way should imply that it’s nearly impossible to tackle by the actual collar, and it gave Dallas 3 more tries at the end zone.

    Also, Suh didn’t tackle Barber by the hair, he let go then tackled him forward, pushing him face first into the ground. So even if he had grabbed the collar, it was not used in the tackle. In the replay you can see Suh’s entire hand on top of Barber’s hair, using it to slow Barber down so that Suh can then tackle over top of him. (Also some people seem to think that there could have been a 15-yard face mask called, but Suh can be seen with his hand on the face mask then quickly letting go, again as he makes the tackle.)

    • admin says:

      Another great post Lonnie, love your well thought out replies. The more I watch this play and think about it the worse this call appears to me. you are correct that even if Suh did grab Barber’s Collar(which he obviously didnt), he did not tackle him by pulling him down from behind, which is why the Horsecollar tackle is illegal in the first play. Suh Tackled him forward. This really should have been a routine play but the ref saw something unusual (a player grabbing another players hair) and reacted by throwing a flag. The fact that they called it a horse collar is laughable because Suh obviously never touched Barber’s collar.

      I thought the vote on this one would be pretty close but so far it is over 90% agreeing that it was a bad call.