The NFL has been cracking down on certain rules that lead to flags this season. One of these flags that are being cracked down on is roughing the passer. Flags that have been called on players in the past few weeks are highly questionable. Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews passed through the Minnesota Vikings offensive line last Sunday in OT to try and stop Kirk Cousins. The ball was released prior to the tackle and a flag was thrown on Matthews for roughing the passer. This flag resulted in a voided interception from the Packers secondary, 15-yard penalty and first down was giving to the Vikings. This call highly impacted the game and ultimately changed its course.
Roughing the passer is defined as a defensive player making illegal contact with the quarterback. Defensive players are not allowed to make more than mild contact with the quarterback once he has released a pass, or any contact with the head of a quarterback whether or not the quarterback is in possession of the ball.
The Infamous Penalty
Do not hit quarterbacks high. Do not hit quarterbacks low. Do not hit them in the midriff. Roughing the passer on Clay Matthews. pic.twitter.com/pFyMnXxqxG
— Ollie Connolly (@OllieConnolly) September 16, 2018
Above all, the NFL wants to use Matthews’ hit on Cousins as an example to other players, coaches and referees as a teaching tape. As a result, the NFL ruled the penalty on Matthews was correct. They explained that he was penalized because he lifted Cousins off the ground and drove him into the ground. Using this play as an instructional video means that it will be sent to every team to show what they consider a foul.
“it’s hard to play defense now,” Top defensive lineman for the Packers Mike Daniels said.
“[it was] a terrible call,” Matthews stated after the game.
“They’re trying to send us out tapes,” Packers linebacker Antonio Morrison said. “The solution is to let us play football. Quarterbacks, they’ve got on pads, they’ve got on a helmet, too. I know they make a lot of money, but this is all men in the sport. We can’t treat one man like a princess and the other man as if we need to respect that princess.”
Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino, both served as the NFL vice president of officiating. They are currently rules analysts for Fox Sports. Pereira and Blandino believe that the league is going overboard with roughing the passer calls. Pereira stated on their show ‘Last Call’ “If you go back to when we were there, they’re clearly not fouls.”