Michael Vick raised the question this week about whether referees protect certain quarterbacks more than others. It turns out that the quarterback who draws roughing the passer penalties most frequently is not a superstar.
Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell has drawn roughing the passer penalties at a higher rate than any other quarterback in the NFL since the start of the 2010 season, according to former head of officiating Mike Pereira, who posted the data at FOXSports.com.
Yes, Al Davis, the officials are protecting your quarterback more than any other.
Or maybe not. Actually, the truth is that the data about roughing the passer penalties doesn’t tell us much about which quarterbacks are being protected and which ones are not — or if NFL officials actually “protect” any quarterbacks more than any others. The fact that Campbell draws a roughing the passer penalty 1.46 times for every 100 passes while Tom Brady draws a roughing the passer penalty 0.16 times for every 100 passes probably means that Brady is getting the ball away before the defense even gets close to him, while Campbell is frequently throwing under intense pressure. It would be much more useful to analyze penalties per hit than penalties per pass.
But the data is interesting nonetheless. After Campbell, the quarterbacks who draw the most roughing the passer penalties are Jay Cutler, Colt McCoy, Jimmy Clausen and Sam Bradford. In addition to Brady, the quarterbacks who draw the fewest roughing the passer penalties are Eli Manning, Matt Schaub, Peyton Manning, David Garrard, Joe Flacco, Kevin Kolb and Tony Romo.
Whether there’s anything to glean from that data is open to debate, although Pereira is certainly correct that the star quarterbacks don’t appear to pick up roughing the passer penalties any more than the scrubs.
Or maybe the officials really do go too far to protect Campbell. That’s what Rex Ryan thinks.