The National Football League defines the roughing the passer penalty in Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9(b). In the first three weeks of the football season, there has been 33 roughing the passer penalties. This is the most in NFL history. Above all, the closest it has come to that was the 2011 season with 24.
Consequently, Clay Matthews III has been called for this penalty in every game the Green Bay Packers have played. Two of these calls have been very controversial. Due to this, the calls most likely cost the Packers a win. It seems like most of the NFL announcers have been talking about these calls and voicing their opinions.
Expert Opinions on Roughing the Passer
Similarly, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told the media that the calls are “going the wrong way.”
Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams, a 13-year veteran states “They’re trying to legislate contact out of football and there’s some things you just can’t.”
“Safety is important. We all know the difference between digging a guy into the ground and putting all your weight on a man. And putting all your weight on the QB should not be a penalty.” Hall of Fame Coach Tony Dungy stated on the Sunday night football halftime show.
Likewise, Sunday night football halftime show co-host Rodney Harrison says “Clay Matthews is doing everything he can to avoid helmet. He is doing everything right. I don’t think this should be a flag at all.”
Most noteworthy, the culprit himself said that the NFL is getting soft. And that the calls are out of control. The Packers have the most roughing the passer penalties through week 3 with five. Similarly, three teams follow with three RTP penalties- the Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints and the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Monday night game had four penalties. This upset Texans DE J.J. Watt and he expressed his opinion on twitter during the game.
Roughing the Passer calls are absolutely out of control.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) September 25, 2018
Should something be done?
Should the NFL do something about this? Of course they want to do what is best for the players and keep them safe. Cracking down and calling more penalties is their way of doing that. But for that reason, this is super controversial. Maybe Rodgers’ statement of the NFL going in the wrong direction is correct. There is no way to keep contact out of a hard-hitting sport like football. Penalties should be called on plays that put the QB- or other players- at risk of serious injury. The reason the penalty was put in place to begin with.
Unfortunately, nothing will be done. The NFL came out and said that every single one of these RTP calls has been legitimate. The referees are doing a good job at calling the fouls in the right way. Moreover, it seems like they are happy with the change of the rule and will continue to enforce it. Furthermore, this could- as it already has- change the outcome of plenty of games. Hence the reason to be a bit worrisome for the rest of the season as a fan of any team.