Alex Brandon/Associated Press
One of the biggest storylines of the 2018 NFL season has been the excessive penalty flags for roughing the passer under the points of emphasis to improve safety. Unfortunately, the league has no interest in adjusting the current rules.
Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent provided a statement on the league’s decision:
Michael Signora @NFLfootballinfo
Statement from @NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations @TroyVincent23
Video – contact on the QB https://t.co/IiR8sfBkq7 https://t.co/9Xt5f5Arwi
The league also added a video explaining the proper techniques for tackling a quarterback.
NFL Football Operations @NFLFootballOps
To ensure consistency in officiating the roughing the passer rule, the @NFL Competition Committee clarified techniques that constitute a foul. Examples of permissible and impermissible contact on the quarterback: https://t.co/ODU6FMGeIW
There have been 33 accepted penalties for roughing the passer through three weeks, per NFLPenalties.com. Green Bay Packers veteran Clay Matthews has been flagged three times in three games after being called for the penalty four times in his first nine seasons, per Pro Football Reference.
Matthews and Houston Texans star J.J. Watt have spoken out against the changes:
Meanwhile, even prominent quarterbacks don’t like how the rules have been enforced, per Booger McFarland of ESPN:
Dear NFL. When the people you made the rule to protect start saying the rule is a joke it may be time to change the rule for roughing the passer. Rodgers and Big Ben both said they don’t like the rule.
Miami Dolphins star William Hayes also notably tore his ACL attempting to avoid a penalty while hitting a quarterback.
These calls have altered games already this season, but the NFL doesn’t appear willing to budge on the rule.