James Harrison Fined $50,000 for Hit in Madden 2011 Video Game (Parody)

Charles HoweCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2011

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 05:  James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches from the sidelines against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Earlier today, Steelers featured columnist Charles Howe was engaged in a heated Super Bowl XLV simulation on his XBOX 360 console. The Steelers emerged victorious in the simulation, 28-17.

However, the game was actually much closer than the score indicates.

Trailing 21-17, Aaron Rodgers had the Packers driving deep into Steelers territory with under two minutes to play. The Packers looked almost certain to take a late lead when on a 2nd-and-7, James Harrison sacked Aaron Rodgers, but was flagged for roughing the passer for a blow to Rodgers' head.

Aaron Rodgers had to be taken to the sideline for several plays to be checked for a concussion. The good news was that Rodgers did not suffer a concussion. Unfortunately for the Packers, on the 1st-and-goal at the Steelers' eight yard-line resulting from the penalty against James Harrison, backup Matt Flynn audibled out of a run play.

After the ball was snapped, Flynn thought he spotted Donald Lee open in the end zone. He never saw Troy Polamalu playing robber. Polamalu intercepted the ball five yards deep in the end zone and didn't stop running until he hit pay dirt, earning him MVP honors.

Polamalu's 105-yard interception return for a touchdown is a new Madden 2011 Super Bowl record, besting teammate James Harrison by five yards.

The Steelers winning their seventh Super Bowl title in Madden 2011 was big news in the video game community. However, shortly after the conclusion of the game, Roger Goodell phoned James Harrison in the middle of media day in Dallas to inform him that he was fining him $50,000 for the hit that his character put on Aaron Rodgers in the video game.

James Harrison was dumbfounded. He reportedly asked the commissioner, "How am I supposed to control the type of hits a video game character delivers?"

To which the commissioner replied, "I cannot allow these type of vicious and unnecessary hits to happen, even at the video game level. Your character in Madden 2011 has given the league a black eye and I cannot allow such an egregious violation of the rules to go unpunished."

Harrison's agent was unavailable for comment. Many of Harrison's teammates are understandably upset that the commissioner now finds it necessary to levy fines for rule violations committed by their characters in video games.

Hines Ward went on the record by saying, "How can you fine a man for something a video game did?"

Roger Goodell released only a short statement to the media: "Players have to learn that dangerous hits will not be tolerated at any level of the game. They need to anticipate what their characters will do in these video game simulations and find a way to prevent unnecessarily violent hits." 

Mike Tomlin assured the public that Harrison's fine was not going to affect his team's preparation or performance in the Super Bowl.