During last Sunday night’s game between the Packers and the Texans, Houston defensive end J.J. Watt, possibly the 2012 NFL MVP, removed the helmet of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the 2011 NFL MVP.
No flag was thrown. And per the league office, no fine will be imposed.
Both decisions seem incorect. The only possible explanation, in light of the rules regarding quarterbacks on the move, is that Rodgers clearly had become a runner when Watt put a paw on Rodgers’ brain box, eventually emerging with the helmet. But Rodgers had simply ducked and taken a step forward; he was no more running with the ball than he was protecting himself.
Though careful scrutiny of the game tape could, possibly, result in the conclusion that Rodgers no longer was protected against a forcible blow to the head, the flag should have been thrown, given that the officials are instructed to err on the side of protecting the players — a standard about which our pal and Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports Network colleague Ross Tucker vehemently disagrees.
Feel free to agree or disagree, vehemently or otherwise, with any aspect of this post in the comments below.