NFL to use Clay Matthews’ penalty as a “teaching tool” for pass rushers


The NFL will use two roughing the passer penalties from the Packers-Vikings game as teaching tools this week.

The two roughing penalties in that game — one on Eric Kendricks and one on Clay Matthews — were correctly officiated, according to a league source. The technique of grabbing the passer from behind the leg or legs, scooping and pulling in an upward motion, is a foul.

NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron will share the two plays with teams this week to reiterate that the tactic is a foul.

Matthews and the Packers publicly have disagreed with referee Tony Corrente’s decision to penalize the Packers linebacker for his hit on Kirk Cousins.

Jaire Alexander intercepted Cousins’ pass with 1:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, which would have allowed Green Bay to escape with a 29-21 victory. Instead, the 15-yard penalty kept the drive alive, and the Vikings scored a touchdown and two-point conversion to send the game to overtime.

Kendricks’ penalty on Aaron Rodgers came late in the second quarter and helped Green Bay kick a field goal on the final play of the half.

46 responses to “NFL to use Clay Matthews’ penalty as a “teaching tool” for pass rushers

  1. I was rooting for the Vikings but Matthews did not lift Cousins up off the ground. He didn’t even wrap up so how could he lift? It was a little hit, not even full force. Officiating has always been mediocre in its best years, but this season it seems WAY out of line with reality so far.

  2. I’m glad they’re officially stating that the two plays were equivalent. I would hate for the flag to be thrown on one team and not the other because that threatens the integrity of the game. Still, I would have preferred them to come out and say that neither play should have been penalized.

  3. There’s a very good replay angle out there on this play. I’ve watched it over and over and can’t see any lifting or scooping. He initially doesn’t grab Cousins by the legs. Matthews hits Cousins with his right shoulder in the stomach. His right arm wraps around Cousins’ waist. He carries him to the ground.

    This angle was from the opposite side of the ref, perhaps that’s the problem. As Matthews is carrying Cousins downward, physics kick in (equal and opposite reaction), and Cousins right leg (the side the ref can see) goes toward Matthews and then bounces back again, which pulls the leg up slightly. Maybe that’s what the ref was seeing. If so, it’s more of a bad angle call than an outright bad call.

    Having said that, I can’t believe the league still says it’s a good call. Nevermind, I can believe it.

  4. I watched both plays multiple times and in both cases the quarterback jumped a little as he was throwing the ball, so he was in the air at the time he was hit. I suppose that could make it appear that the defender was lifting the quarterback off his feet, but it didn’t happen. In both cases, the defender did everything possible to avoid landing on the quarterback or hitting him too high or too low. They really are asking the impossible and it’s going to be a big problem if they’re doubling down on this.

  5. “The technique of grabbing the passer from behind the leg or legs, scooping and pulling in an upward motion, is a foul.”

    You can’t tackle QBs anymore and just think about how else are you supposed to tackle a human being the size of Big Ben or Cam Newton.. Isn’t this the laws of physics?!

  6. Great idea. Claymaker has always pressed a bit too much. Needs to be sat down. Using him as an example of what not to do is right on. Like his uncle, Chuck Cecil.

  7. Just put dresses on the QBs already, then. Anyone with common sense, including Mike Periera and Dean Blandino STRONGLY disagree with this.

  8. There was hit on Rodgers by Kendricks when 12 was out of the pocket that, in my mind, was legal, but was probably the closest to roughing. The Kendricks hit on Rodgers was beyond clean, and there should not have been a penalty called for RTP. The Matthews hit on Cousins was clean, the penalty a joke.

    Al Riveron is pathetic. He’s the Angel Hernandez of the NFL. One thing about Blandino and Periera: They were honest, and called out their officials when necessary.

    Let me amend my statement above. Al Riveron is the Sean Spicer of the NFL.

  9. I guess this means the Packers will NOT be getting the apology from the NFL that many Packer fans were saying would happen today…

    Having said that, I don’t like the rule and truly wish that Rodgers and the vast number of Packer fans hadn’t whined so much about the perfectly clean, legal hit (based on the rules at the time) that Barr delivered to Rodgers last season.

    Rodgers and the Packer fans cried and pouted and now we have these new rules that no one likes.

  10. But, but, but, the Packer fans said they would be getting a sorry we screwed up letter, How can this be, oh the humanity!

  11. This is disgusting, ludicrous, and insulting to football fans. The only teaching moment here is to show two plays that were legal and acceptable. Instead, the league is just doubling down to protect the referee’s calls- and it’s not an overstatement to say that this impacts the integrity of the game. The Matthews hit yesterday, whether you like him or not, was textbook on how it should be done (I’m not knocking the Kendricks sack here, only saw it once). The Matthews hit on Trubisky last week was a good example of how it shouldn’t be done.

    This is only going to cause further confusion. The helmet issue is nothing compared to the idiocy of this stuff. And this rule isn’t the fault of Barr or Rodgers. It’s the fault of the NFL creating an absolutely stupid rule that they can’t effectively judge. At this point, they should just send every sack to the replay booth, and we can only hope that it will be judged fairly so as not to just protect the referee’s initial call- but how can we even count on that? The true enemy of any fan or team isn’t their rival fan or team. It’s the NFL.

    I’m sure it will be great watching football in 2020 when there are no kick-offs or sacks. And that’s what the NFL is- sackless.

    So much of the stupidity has come under the regime of Goodell- from cheating scandals, ball inflation, catch/not a catch, helmet rules, kneeling, and now this. This league needs an enema, and it needs better leadership. How the owners can’t see this is beyond me.

  12. Last year the packers and fans cried till they made this rule! Now live with what you wanted you can’t have it both ways!!

  13. frank booth says:

    And this rule isn’t the fault of Barr or Rodgers.

    Right as far as Barr is concerned (all he did was make a perfectly legal tackle).

    As far as Rodgers – he is only partly responsible. He shares this with the Packer fans (and probably you) that whined and cried about the sack.

    31 one other teams and their fans understood that it was a perfectly clean legal hit.

    Only one team and their fans complained. We now have this “disgusting, ludicrous” rule as a result.

  14. This rule sucks, but it is futile to complain about. We all know rules are made to generate scores. I am no fans of referees, but it seems they are doing their jobs if both of these plays are examples of how the new rule is going to work now. Good on them at least being fair to each team which doesn’t always happen. If you need to blame anyone it’s the owners you need to look at. This is America where corporations are somehow deemed equal to human beings. Everything is an investment and greed is paramount when it comes to players making 25 to 30 or more million a year…

  15. After having seen the play this morning, I should have grabbed every barf bag on my flight yesterday. I’m gonna need something for the rest of this season!

  16. gtodriver-

    I actually said that the Rodgers sack was a clean hit at the time. Also, we clearly know that the NFL doesn’t kow-tow to fans. Conversely, it’s as if they have contempt for them. This goes far beyond Packer/Viking sniping. This is so like you to twist one’s comments or a post into something else. I know that your posts are with purpose and specifically crafted to get a rise out of people (often in what you think are subtle insults, but are actually clearly visible), but I want to believe that you are somewhat intelligent and don’t actually believe most of the spurious content that you post- at least I hope that’s the case. I think that the rule was partially made because of the hit, not so much that it was Rodgers per se, but that the league wants to protect it’s marquee players. Rodgers is going to be out of the league in a few years. The rule will live on. If it wasn’t Rodgers last year, it was going to be some other star QB down the line.

    A Packer-Viking tie was the most palatable thing to me, short of the Notre Dame team plane crashing into the field while the Vikings and Packers were on it. It would give the Bears a good shot at winning the division this year.

  17. Basically you have to run up to the QB and scream “sit Criss-cross, applesauce!!” or you get a penalty.

    Not a fan of either team, but that call was a joke, whether “correct” under these crazy guidelines or not.

  18. brichard55 says:
    September 17, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Unfortunately it wasn’t a penalty
    I’m not trying to sound like a jerk or disagree with you at all. Unfortunately, it now is a penalty if they are using it as an example of the new rule.

  19. If you look carefully, doesn’t land with his weight on him, he uses his arm to reduce the weight falling on him.
    But the refs said that wasn’t the issue, that Mathews drove him to the ground.
    I don’t agree, but it seems the solution is you aren’t allowed to reduce a players balance by lifting his leg up?
    Thats kind of nuts.

    They need to redo this ruling.

  20. With these rules, the NFL can expect the tv ratings to continue their downward spiral along with stadium attendance. Fans will not want to buy overpriced tickets for watered-down football.

  21. As a Vikings fan I have witnessed many times the dirty play of Clay Mathews. I did not feel this play was violent or late in anyway. I also felt the same way about the Kendrick’s hit on Rodgers. I do think calling it both ways was correct but it’s not how the game should be played. This needs to be addressed by the NFL. They’ve gone way too far on this. The same thing happened last week with Richardson. He hit the qb with force but tried to break his fall on him by putting his hands down to brace the fall and not have his weight fall on the qb. Still was flagged and fined.

  22. Oh good, so they’re going to educate the players now that we’re already 2 weeks into the regular season. Nice to see the NFL staying right on top of things. What a joke of an organization, I can only imagine what “tackle” football is going to become in the next ten years.

  23. gtodriver says:
    September 17, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Rodgers and the Packer fans cried and pouted and now we have these new rules that no one likes.

    I want to give the poster the benefit of the doubt and believe the above is sarcasm. I really want to. But I don’t think it is.

  24. That’s BS, what is he supposed to do??? Lay the QB down like he’s putting a child to bed? Now I bet the Vikings moron fanbase will come out and whine about how the NFL favors the Packers.

  25. This is BS to help save face for stealing a game away from the Packers. Basically what they are saying is 1) you can’t wrap up a QB, or 2) from now on every QB should get both feet off the ground when being hit and throw them in the air. Do that and you should get a penalty called and a new set of downs every time your hit moving forward.

  26. Defenses are going to change to accommodate. QBs will not be tackled as much; but they will get mauled much more by defenders. I see strip sacks increasing dramatically.

  27. frozenstiff says:
    September 17, 2018 at 5:59 pm
    Last year the packers and fans cried till they made this rule! Now live with what you wanted you can’t have it both ways!!
    So let me get this straight, the all powerful packer’s and their fans led to this rule change??? Come on man, the dumbing down of proper tackling has been ongoing for years. Just because the vikings are a cursed franchise doesn’t mean the whole nfl is against them.

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