As soon as it happened, Seahawks cornerback Tharold Simon thought the penalty that wiped out his 105-yard interception return for a touchdown was a bad call.
After a few days, the NFL apparently agreed with him.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on 710 ESPN’s “Brock and Salk” show that the league informed him Monday that Simon should not have been flagged for illegal contact on the play.
“If you look at the game, there’s so many opportunities when guys engage just kind of as they’re moving into their positions when hands are on guys,” Carroll said. “And it goes both ways now because they did emphasize offensive pass interference as well as the defensive issues. And so what’s happened is that now that it’s an elevated awareness, they’re seeing so many more contacts that they would have considered incidental in the past and so we’re getting those calls that really don’t have any bearing on the play recognized as penalties.”
Carroll said he was told officials were calling illegal contact at seven times the previous rate this preseason, which has turned a number of games in slow parades marched off in five-yard increments.
“This is just a very sensitive call right now and it’s not the officiating. I don’t blame the officials for this,” Carroll said. “This is really an emphasis that came from the competition committee, which is our coaches primarily. And so what I’m really curious to see is what happens in the next two weeks, how do they respond to these numbers, because there’s no way that we want this many penalties called. That’s ridiculous. I think the Saints might have had 20-something penalties last week or something crazy. That’s a bad game to watch.
“So I’m hoping and I’m trying to get involved in the conversation right now to find out what’s going to happen because we need to start talking now so something happens by opening day. So we’ll just have to work through it.”
It’s interesting for Carroll to take that stance, since his team is the main reason it’s being cracked down upon. But whether officials or players adapt, someone is going to have to, or the days of the three-hour game are history.