NFL to consider making roughing the passer subject to replay review

NFL: DEC 16 Seahawks at 49ers
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Good news: Roughing the pass could become subject to replay review.

Bad news: Roughing the pass could become subject to replay review.

According to Judy Battista of NFL Media, owners could vote to make roughing the passer subject to replay review. On one hand, it’s necessary. On the other hand, pass interference calls and non-calls were subject to replay review for a year, and it was a disaster.

Given the way the rules are written, the replay process would entail scanning on a frame-by-frame basis any and all available angles for any and all potential instances of roughing based on broad, literal application of the rule. It would become, from a coach’s challenge perspective, a potential emergency option to extend a key drive. And for every interception, which makes the replay process automatic, part of the second look will entail checking to see whether any potential roughing the passer happened.

In support of the possibility of making roughing the passer subject to review, the item at points to a horrendous roughing call that helped the Vikings beat the Lions in a Week 17 game to which no one paid any attention. Without replay review, the seemingly phantom call could not be reverse.

Still, while it’s a good idea in theory, the league potentially would be stepping on another rake given the manner in which the rule would be applied. It also could result in the same kind of shifting standard for what does and doesn’t result in a reversal of a ruling on the field, in the same way the bar for interference seemed to move up and down in 2019.

So what’s the best way to prevent a truly egregious blunder? Sky judge. That’s the answer. Specifically, the NFL should add an extra member of the officiating crew who sits in a booth and watches all available angles and communicates with the referee, the same as any on-field official. That’s the way to properly allow for a truly obvious blunder to be quickly fixed, without relying on a replay process that tends to excessively micromanage and overofficiate and, ultimately, render rulings on judgment-type calls with all the reliability of a Magic 8 Ball.

36 responses to “NFL to consider making roughing the passer subject to replay review

  1. Good. Some of those calls last year and in years past were a joke and changed the flow of the game. You know its bad when your favorite team benefits from it and you still get disgusted.

  2. Please no.

    NFL failed miserably with the pass interference replay so I have no confidence that this will be any better.

  3. If they apply this like they did with pass interference where they simply went with the call on the field regardless of the video evidence, then it will be a waste of time.

  4. YES!
    Nothing worse than having great plays by world class athletes overturned by intimidated, incompetent part-time employees calling penalties on what they just might have possibly seen.

  5. That would be interesting, More interesting if they would go back and retro actively apply the rule. Tom Brady would have 50% of his ruffing calls reserved then

  6. Actually, hands to the face mask is equally bad my officiated penalty too. Not against packers, but few years ago a phantom call was made against lions and last year, twol calls against them again doomed them.

  7. Cardinals literally beat the 49ers just on BS roughing the passer calls alone.

  8. If you can only review a penalty and not a no call this can work. If you can challenge a no call this will be terrible.

  9. They should have done this years ago. There have been many blown calls that altered game outcomes in the past, including the bogus call that cost Frisco a game against New Orleans and home field advantage in the playoffs. In fact, make all personal foul calls reviewable.

  10. There was a game last year when Cousins was hit helmet to helmet and then fumbled the ball. The refs missed both and called it an incomplete pass. The opponent (sorry can’t remember who) throw the challenge flag and the decision was changed to a fumble because roughing the passer/helmet to helmet hits can’t be challenged. Any rule that fixes obvious wrongs is a good thing but I would go further and make everything challengeable. If you think that’s a bad idea after the PI debacle, that went wrong because of the implementation not the basic idea.

  11. Replay should still be used, but simplified and expedited.

    First, a team has only two (or maybe 3) challenges per game, but you can challenge ANYTHING, penalty called on the play or not.

    Second, there are no automatic reviews for turnovers, TDs, etc. A team must use a challenge for those.

    Third, A replay official in the booth or in NY makes the call (no more officials looking at a tiny screen on the field).

    Finally, if a definitive call cannot be made after 60 seconds of watching the video, the call on the field stands.

    This would allow the overturning of obvious mistakes, but greatly reduce the time in doing so.

  12. The whole “landing with your weight” on the qb penalty is what has caused the increased roughing the passer calls. And it was NOT only the Vikings who benefited from such a call. There were MANY questionable examples.

  13. And then you would have pass interference calls on every elite quarterback in the league. For example, Rodgers complains to the refs every time someone even touches him! Imagine if there was some magical frame-by-frame replay that showed a defender hit his shoe after the pass was thrown causing him to fall down. Imagine if there was some additional ref in the booth calling imaginary “hits” based on his/her own prejudices/team loyalty! It appears to be coming to the point wherein the defense would not be able to rush the passer at all and just have to defend down the field.

  14. They already put skirts on quarterbacks so why not introduce replay in a way that we can ogle at how the skirted ones are inappropriately touched about 12 times using slow-motion. Not a fan of these cute butterfly rules they have in place. You wanna take out helmet to helmet? Fine. After that, it’s football man. Stop complicating the damn game.

  15. Still amazes me that the NFL experience with PI reviews was a disaster. Somehow the small league known as the CFL can handle it, but the NFL just can’t figure it out. Just shake my head.

  16. Everything should be looked at on video, and they don’t need to stop play, or slow down the game to do that. I can see most of the mistakes within a couple seconds, while sitting on my couch. They should have 4 or 5 guys watching 20 monitors in real time, and radio down to the field as the ball is still rolling. They can get every call right, and it will actually speed up the game. No need for lengthy reviews that look like they’re using technology from the 1950’s.

  17. while the idea of even more stoppage of play for review and commercials makes me cringe, I think this is necessary. Too many games have been directly influenced by 15 yard penalties for sneezing on a quarterback.

  18. AndyB says:
    March 3, 2021 at 8:42 pm
    If they apply this like they did with pass interference where they simply went with the call on the field regardless of the video evidence, then it will be a waste of time.

    This, exactly. The NFL clearly didn’t want DPI to be reviewable and scuttled that test by pretending the bad calls on the field were correct. It was such a blatant sham.

    QBs need to be protected to a certain degree, but there are so many bad roughing the passer calls these days. The idea of reviewing them is nice, but I have no faith that the NFL will make an honest effort to get it right.

  19. I’m ok with that, if its something like an obvious hit to the head that was missed. BTW; pointing to a meaningless week 17 game between two non playoff teams isn’t really a good argument. And remember, coaches only have 2 reviews, and 3 if they get the first two correct, which rarely happens. Unless it’s an important play, I doubt coaches will be throwing flags left and right. So this new rule wouldn’t slow down the game hardly at all.

  20. Helmet to helmets and face masks should be reviewable. Those are clear either they did or didn’t do it that has nothing to do with officials opinions. Cleveland was cost a trip to the AFC title game due to an official missing a helmet to helmet causing a fumble and the official not being able to call the penalty that showed clear as day in a replay of the hit..

    Roughing the passer is iffy because referees are not consistent on how they call those now. Replay won’t change that. Let’s not forget a couple of years ago when roughing the passer was defined as “If Clay Matthews Jr or Myles Garrett looked at a QB with a mean face”.

  21. Or just do what extremely smart players like Aaron Donald did, and adjust your game….

    You should be able to review a call a flag of Roughing the Passer. Not review a play to see if their was a Roughing the Passer. IMO, which means nothing.

  22. This will have the opposite of the intended effect. Instead of overturning bad calls, we’ll start seeing flags thrown on challenges when someone barely makes contact that you’d never see in real time but a slow mo replay shows a QB’s helmet was barely grazed while a defender was making a clean tackle

  23. Mocap uniforms and AI review technology would put the refs out to pasture where they belong.

    Or continue leaving the game to fallible men who all have a price.

  24. Until they come up with a cumulative foul system that results in ejections and suspensions, I really don’t want to hear any of this.

  25. about time…i also think it works much better than the pi replays, mainly because refs don’t know what a catch is. Seeing if a guy was clubbed in the head or not or had his facemask grabbed should be much easier to judge and make for fast clear calls…but yeah ike buddy above said, more commercials boys!

  26. I’m with the late, great Jack Lambert on this one … “make QBs wear dresses.”

  27. Once again I must reiterate that this is football, not ballet! We need less things for the officials to throw flags on , not more. The game is becoming unwatchable!

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