Illegal contact penalties are way up this preseason, the result of the league office telling officials to monitor defensive backs closely and throw flags with impunity. That will continue in the regular season.
“We’re not going to change how we’re calling the games once the regular-season starts,’’ NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino told The MMQB.
Blandino added, however, that the league office believes teams will adjust to the stricter rules enforcement and that there won’t necessarily be more flags when the season starts because players will have learned through the preseason what they can and can’t do.
“The way the game’s being officiated now is the way it’s going to be officiated when the season begins,” Blandino said. “We have to remain consistent. I knew we’d see a spike in calls when we put out these points of emphasis. But coaches adjust, and players adjust. They have to, and they know it. And we’ll correct our officials when we feel they’re being over-zealous with certain calls. Plus, I would say that between 70 and 75 percent of the calls I’ve gotten from teams after their games this preseason are asking the question, Why weren’t there more calls? I had a call today from a team with seven questions, and six were, Why wasn’t a foul called on this play?”
After a 2013 season in which several NFL passing records were set, we may see even more in 2014. It’s a good year to be a quarterback or a wide receiver.