Goodell admitted inconsistency in interpretation of “forcible” blows to quarterbacks

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So when Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to Panthers quarterback Cam Newton last week about Newton’s concerns regarding missed roughing-the-passer calls on Newton, what did Goodell say?

Glad you asked.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Goodell admitted that the NFL’s referees have an inconsistent interpretation of the most important word in the rules regarding hits on quarterbacks: “Forcible.”

The words “forcible” or “forcibly” are littered throughout the operative rule regarding hits to the head or neck area of the quarterback, hits at or below the knee, and hits elsewhere with a defender’s helmet. To be a foul, the blow must be “forcible” — and the officials must be on the same page about what is and isn’t “forcible.”

Currently, the officials aren’t on the same page. Goodell vowed to strive for consistency among the referees, the white-hatted crew chiefs who are principally responsible for watching the quarterback and calling, or not calling, fouls.

As to Newton, part of the problem is that his size makes hits that would seem forcible when applied to smaller quarterbacks not seem forcible when applied to Newton. The risk, obviously, becomes going too far the other way, with non-forcible blows drawing flags for Newton and other quarterbacks.

Regardless, the goal remains to find a way to ensure that all referees enforce the rule the same way. One way to help do that would be to make these calls subject to replay review, with the league office’s interpretation applying in every case. NFL senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino recently told PFT Live that such a change is possible.

45 responses to “Goodell admitted inconsistency in interpretation of “forcible” blows to quarterbacks

  1. The idiot complains like a baby to the league and then runs over and over today against the Rams.

    The pounded him into oblivion and he deserved it.

    As for his passing, he’s crazy inaccurate, just brutal.

  2. Yet they throw flags when a defenders hand just brushes the QB’s helmet & when the QB moves his head into the defender.

    Makes no sense.

  3. Marshall Faulk sorta let the cat out of the bag this morning on the NFL Network.
    Ever since Cam embarrassed Ed Hochuli, the refs have swallowed their whistles on QB hits.
    This explains the helmet to helmet, in the pocket calls, in the Super Bowl.
    This illuminates the Jerricho Cotchery catch that was not a catch.
    The referee vendetta against Cam Newton is an outright attack on the integrity of the NFL game.

  4. Can we just go back to 80’s rules when the league was actually great? If dudes are afraid of getting hurt/concussed then they can get a real job and not become NFL players.

    If Cam were my son, Id be embarrassed that I raised such a coward. How, as a man, do you cry like he did?

  5. If you hit the QB 3 seconds after he threw the ball, it’s a foul.
    If you hit another player helmet to helmet, it’s a foul.
    If you hit the QB below the knees while in the pocket, it’s a foul.
    If you hit the QB while he’s sliding feet first, it’s a foul.

    What’s so hard to understand?

    -Not a Cam Newton or Carolina fan.

  6. The idiot complains like a baby to the league and then runs over and over today against the Rams.

    The pounded him into oblivion and he deserved it.
    ————————
    He ran the ball only twice. The hits on him were delivered when he was throwing in the pocket. One of those was definitely illegal, with the defender hitting him with the crown of his helmet, head to head. But (not surprisingly), no call!

    It is so sad how much hatred you have towards Cam simply because he makes your defenses look silly when he has an offensive line that can block properly. Keep hating, we’ll just keep pounding!

  7. Half the issue with this league is that the rule book is so convoluted that no one, including the fans, players and refs, understands the rules. Even the networks have to hire experts to explain every call & they get it wrong half the time. This leads to hesitant players and poor play. It also causes every fan base to grow convinced that their team is getting screwed by the league.

    Goodell and his band of failed Jet executivea are going to do to the NFL what they did for the Jets franchise. Goodell needs to be replaced with competent leadership or the NFL will be a shell of itself within a decade.

  8. Where does all the “swag,” go when a running quarterback gets hit in the mouth… Is it painful to wear a cool hat when you have a concussion? Dear god…

  9. I think they also need to start throwing flags for guys getting up after an incomplete pass or whatever, arms up, complaining for a flag. They look like spoiled little kids, and I don’t think an official ever said, “you know what, that guy’s right. That was a penalty.” It should be a 15 yard personal foul penalty, equivalent to a baseball player arguing balls and strikes. That would stop pretty quick, I imagine.

  10. There were two more unflagged hits to the head on Newton today while he was in the pocket. Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison called the NFL out on them on NBC. The in-game Fox crew made every excuse under the sun why they weren’t called.

  11. I don’t like Newton or his team, but the stone fact is he gets hit in the head more and gets fewer calls than any QB I’ve ever seen. Not to mention the knee divers and ankle biters that hit him in the pocket.
    Try as I might the only reason I can see for this he’s a hot doggin’, smart mouthed ——-

    —–black man.
    If Brady or Rodgers got hit like that the field would turn yellow from all the flags. And I doubt either would be able to finish the game.

  12. But… but…. Cam is being treated unfairly!

    Jay Cutler can’t cry race when he gets head shots with no call made time after time.
    He gets a LOT of cheap shots and does not jump up screaming for a flag or going to see the Principle about it.
    Then again he does not dress up like a character from Starsky & Hutch to get attention after the game either.

  13. It’s all good. He admitted inconsistency. They’re working on making calls more consistently. It’s a work in progress; that’s never going to change. You win some, you lose some. The end.

  14. Goodell has repeatedly stated that the league’s rules are applied equally to everyone. How can he now claim that there is inconsistency in how a rule is applied to the marquee position on the field?

    Oh, I forgot. It’s Goodell. He can say or do anything and the gaffe/lie will be quickly forgotten.

  15. When this clown admits he gift wrapped a win for the saints against Seattle….and cost them a second home playoff game due to no calls, I mean nothing against an inferior team which usually causes more infractions not zero……I might believe this sport isn’t rigged.

  16. You can tell that Goddell grew up in the household of a professional politician as the inconsistent application of the rules just seems like not big deal to him.

    There is more than one swamp that needs draining.

  17. stexan says:
    Nov 6, 2016 10:11 PM

    I don’t like Newton or his team, but the stone fact is he gets hit in the head more and gets fewer calls than any QB I’ve ever seen. Not to mention the knee divers and ankle biters that hit him in the pocket.
    Try as I might the only reason I can see for this he’s a hot doggin’, smart mouthed ——-

    —–black man.
    If Brady or Rodgers got hit like that the field would turn yellow from all the flags. And I doubt either would be able to finish the game

    Clearly those who embrace the meme that Brady gets more RTP calls than others haven’t done their research.

    They also have another disconnect from reality with their perception that Brady asks for flags more than other players.

  18. stexan says:
    Nov 6, 2016 10:11 PM

    I don’t like Newton or his team, but the stone fact is he gets hit in the head more and gets fewer calls than any QB I’ve ever seen. Not to mention the knee divers and ankle biters that hit him in the pocket.
    Try as I might the only reason I can see for this he’s a hot doggin’, smart mouthed ——-

    —–black man

    And thank you for that, I couldn’t find my race card this morning.

  19. Goodell is a corrupt buffoon. Why report about anything he says? Every word out of his mouth is a lie.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Well said but just adding to the comment…

    It is more probable than not that Goodell is a corrupt buffoon. Why report about anything he says? Every word out of his mouth is a lie.

    Maybe the NFLPA can hire Teddy Wells to get to the bottom of this, most of us feel he will follow the directions of his employer and come to whatever conclusion they need,

  20. Easy solution is to take the stupid hedge language out of the rules. If there is no universal understanding of “forcible” then it has no place in the rule book. They TRY and write rules like they are lawyers, but then just end up with confusing nonsense.

  21. I truly believe Cam is not being treated fairly but do not think it has anything to so with race.

    He is a running QB and as such once he leaves the pocket he is treated differently. Factor in to that he is huge and fast, by far the most athletic of his type right now, so when he is running it is no small task to bring him down. Add his passing ability and I do not think there is anyone else in the league who compares to him.

    I do believe some players are taking shots at him because he has not been protected well by the refs however. Once that starts the rest of the league will follow suit.

    The refs need to pick up the slack here, call it really tight for a few games and fine the offenders to the max. The rest of it will then fall into place.

  22. “One way to help do that would be to make these calls subject to replay review”.

    No, no this is not one way. We do not need more ad breaks or reasons to slow the game down even more.

    If there is an issue with application or interpretation of the rules, one way would be to close the myriad loopholes that exist that make the rules open to interpretation in the first place. Another option would be to make the officials charged with applying the rules full-time, so that they can be adequately schooled in application and interpretation of the rules.

    Either way, the league is currently sleeping in the bed which it made – which currently leads to a multitude of complaints every week about the same thing. Unless and until the league office decides to do something positive to positively impact the product on the field, we will all be here complaining on a weekly basis.

  23. arwiv says:
    Nov 6, 2016 8:21 PM

    If Cam were my son, Id be embarrassed that I raised such a coward. How, as a man, do you cry like he did?
    _________________
    If my son’s boss were treating him unfairly, I’d expect nothing less than sticking up for himself. Id be embarrassed if he didn’t.

  24. The officiating in the league is the worst. I was watching the Giants-Eagles game yesterday and although Pederson blew that game for the Eagles, there was a litany of missed calls by Bill Vinovich:
    1. 1st qtr, Caleb Sturgis kicked a FG but a Giants defender clearly rolled into his leg, knocking him down but no roughing the kicker was called. And on the replay he wasn’t blocked into the kicker.
    2. Third quarter, the Eagles threw a deep cross to Bryan Treggs, a rookie. He had his body between the ball and the defender. As he reached up to catch it, the defender climbed on his back and knocked the ball away before it got to him. No PI was called.
    3. 3rd quarter again, Giants ran the ball for a short gain. After the play, one of the Giants lineman came in and bodily threw Malcolm Jenkins to the ground in front of the official. But when Nigel Bradham retaliated, HE was the one that was penalised.
    4. 2 plays before that, the Giants hit a pass over the middle. My understanding is when the receiver becomes a runner, you can hit him helmet to helmet. Again, the Eagles got penalised.
    5. On the Giants last TD pass, the Giants LT grabbed DE Connor Darwin by the jersey and drug him to the ground. No offensive holding. But in the 4th quarter, the same thing happened and holding was called.
    6. On the Eagles last possession, Carson Wentz was blitzed, and he got the ball away. But, the incoming Giants pass rusher got his hands up on Wentz’ helmet. No.penalty. The ref seemed to be telling Wentz the player was trying to stop himself. Previously that didnt matter. If your name was Manning, Brady, Breed, or Rogers, the mere hand inadvertently going to the helmet was 15 yards.

  25. thecatalinawinemixer says:
    Nov 6, 2016 9:01 PM

    I think they also need to start throwing flags for guys getting up after an incomplete pass or whatever, arms up, complaining for a flag. They look like spoiled little kids, and I don’t think an official ever said, “you know what, that guy’s right. That was a penalty.” It should be a 15 yard personal foul penalty, equivalent to a baseball player arguing balls and strikes. That would stop pretty quick, I imagine.

    This is a problem that you see in many professional sports when the players sense the referee isn’t sure about the call. Simple clearer definitions for roughing the passer, pass interference and a few other rules are needed, and then the refs have to be trained intensively (forget their other jobs, at least for a week or two) until they can make clear decisive rulings consistently. Once the players see consistency, they will stop their yapping (and if they don’t, I agree an unsportsmanlike penalty should be called). The NFL is NOT making a good faith effort to ensure quality refereeing. I am in my 60’s and I would love to see some refs in their 30’s and 40’s making those calls.

  26. If Cam was a coward do you think he would be running and putting his body in danger for the last 5 years? Nobody can doubt his toughness. But after the year he had last year, defenders started to play dirty against him and try to take him out of the game. He is complaining about illegal hits that aren’t getting called.

  27. I think they also need to start throwing flags for guys getting up after an incomplete pass or whatever, arms up, complaining for a flag. They look like spoiled little kids, and I don’t think an official ever said, “you know what, that guy’s right. That was a penalty.”
    —-

    It’s not uncommon at all for officials to throw flags right after the whistle, as players – particularly WRs – react with arms in the air. Whether that’s a good thing or not, or even whether refs were influenced by player reactions, is debatable though.

  28. riekki says:
    Nov 6, 2016 8:21 PM

    Marshall Faulk sorta let the cat out of the bag this morning on the NFL Network.
    Ever since Cam embarrassed Ed Hochuli, the refs have swallowed their whistles on QB hits.
    This explains the helmet to helmet, in the pocket calls, in the Super Bowl.
    This illuminates the Jerricho Cotchery catch that was not a catch.
    The referee vendetta against Cam Newton is an outright attack on the integrity of the NFL game.

    ——————

    And as Faulk pointed out, the video and any talk of it has quietly [mysteriously?] vanished from circulation and discussion … kinda makes you say, “hmmm”.

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