Earlier this week, star running back Nick Chubb suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second quarter of the Cleveland Browns’ matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football.
But while the ESPN/ABC broadcast opted not to show replays of the play due to the gruesome nature of the injury, many who did re-watch it have questioned whether the tackle made by Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick that caused the injury was a dirty one.
On the play, Chubb took a carry from the Pittsburgh 8-yard line and ran the ball for three yards before being wrapped up by Steelers linebacker Cole Holcomb. At the same time, Fitzpatrick could be seen colliding with the 4-time Pro Bowl running back’s knee, which ultimately resulted in the season-ending injury.
Whether the play was “dirty” or just “football” is a matter of perspective, and in some cases, fan allegiances. Pro Football Talk‘s Mike Florio has noted that based on the NFL’s rule book, Fitzpatrick’s hit was, in fact, clean, but also questioned whether that should be the case.
“It is perfectly legal,” Florio wrote of the play. “Ball carriers can be hit any which way the defender chooses, as long as the defender does not lower his helmet and make forcible contact with it.
“Fitzpatrick did not do that. He made a legal tackle. But should that tackle be legal?”
Still, many others have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the matter. And while some believe that the hit was clean with an unfortunate result, others claim that it was a dirty play.
Let’s also call it for what it is
Not the first time Minkah Fitzpatrick has been called a dirty player
— Matt Fontana (@MattFontana83) September 19, 2023
Was Minkah Fitzpatrick's hit on Nick Chubb dirty?
— Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show (@ultCLEsports) September 19, 2023
This is dumb… it’s just football. No way Minkah intended to do that or can anticipate it. https://t.co/Q6nttfbmXF
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) September 19, 2023
— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) September 19, 2023
Was Minkah Fitzpatrick's hit on Nick Chubb dirty? Here is a random special teams tackle from this weekend.
Very common #NFL tackle.
— Dr. Jamie Jakes (@jamjks) September 19, 2023
Ike Taylor defended Minkah Fitzpatrick’s hit on Nick Chubb: “I don’t think Minkah intentionally did nothing dirty. That’s where you got to go. Y’all wanna change the rules and say I can’t touch your helmet no more, then I’ve got to hit you from your knees down. And that’s what it…
— Blitzburgh (@Blitz_Burgh) September 20, 2023
— Blitzburgh (@Blitz_Burgh) September 19, 2023
[Pro Football Talk]