Roughing the passer to be discussed at ownership meetings next week

Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs
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Fans and media aren’t the only ones talking about the roughing the passer situation, after Monday night’s controversial call in the Raiders-Chiefs game and Sunday’s game-altering decision in Falcons-Buccaneers. Owners are talking about it, too.

More specifically, they’ll be talking about it next week.

Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press reports that the subject will be discussed when owners convene next week in New York for quarterly meetings. However, there’s no guarantee they’ll do anything more than talk about it.

Many think that the owners and the league want it this way, in order to ensure that quarterbacks are more likely to stay healthy. Beyond each specific team’s interest in seeing its own quarterback play, nothing craters prime-time ratings like one or both teams trotting out backup quarterbacks.

Maaddi reports it’s unlikely that roughing the passer will become subject to replay review. He cites the 2019 debacle involving replay review of pass interference. That was a failure of execution by the league, however, not a failure of concept.

As Maaddi also notes, the rulebook requires referees to err on the side of protecting quarterbacks: “When in doubt about a roughness call or potentially dangerous tactic against the quarterback, the referee should always call roughing the passer.”

While this leads to outcomes that frustrate observers, what are we going to do, quit the game? The NFL surely believes folks will huff and puff but never stop watching over something like this.

The primary concern should be legalized gambling, as explained in Playmakers. Roughing calls that reside in the discretion of one person can influence outcomes, creating a clear and easy path for potential conversion of an otherwise straight shooter into the NFL’s version of Tim Donaghy.

If an NBA-style officiating scandal is ever going to happen in football, it’s going to happen with someone who has the power to turn losses into wins and/or to help the favorite cover or not cover the spread by simply pulling out a flag and shrugging his shoulders, claiming that he was only erring on the side of protecting quarterbacks.

39 responses to “Roughing the passer to be discussed at ownership meetings next week

  1. “Would you please make it a bit easier for my $150/200M investment to be injured?”

    Yeah, I can see them changing this.

  2. The game has been around for how many decades and they’re still trying to figure this out. Hopefully a few more decades a few hundred meetings and they’ll get it perfect.

  3. “If an NBA-style officiating scandal is ever going to happen in football…”

    Interesting tangent. Seems like it’s already been happening with Brady and Rodgers.

  4. You mean “Barely touching the quarterback” will be discussed at ownership meeting next week….

  5. “If an NBA-style officiating scandal is ever going to happen in football, it’s going to happen with someone who has the power to turn losses into wins and/or to help the favorite cover or not cover the spread by simply pulling out a flag and shrugging his shoulders, claiming that he was only erring on the side of protecting quarterbacks.”


    As though this hasn’t been happening “forever”…?

  6. Beyond each specific team’s interest in seeing its own quarterback play, nothing craters prime-time ratings like one or both teams trotting out backup quarterbacks.


    Did you see the Broncos/Colts primetime matchup last Thursday. TV Stations were apologizing for being forced to air the game. Rated one of the worst NFL games of all time and both teams had their starting QBs.

    Nothing tanks ratings like bad football and there are plenty of NFL teams who might improve by the backup playing or at least be more entertaining.

  7. If they won’t have roughing the passer subjected to review…then they need to revert back to the way it was 4 weeks ago.

  8. Personally the whistle should sound when the QB gets wrapped up with both hands by a defender or being dragged to the ground.
    Hear me out – how many times have we seen QB’s ankles & legs broke by being dragged and twisted to the ground in a “dog pile”?
    And wrapping up a QB oftentimes results in the typical body slam to the turf – which can & does result in a head/neck injury – see Tua!
    And YES – there are QB’s that can squirm out/shake off any of these mentioned & make it look easy – Mahomes & Rodgers are probably the best at it now.
    Whatever they choose to do or not will still be criticized by many.

  9. The rules need to be black and white. Take out anything subjective that allows officials to influence the outcome of a game.Also add an eye in the sky that can quickly confirm or override any calls on the field. It’s not a perfect solution, but it lowers the risk of a rogue official going full Donaghy.

  10. Once all the geezers retire from the position, these hits will appear less dangerous in real time (EX: difference in optics between Brady RTP and the Mahomes no-call this week).

    That will HOPEFULLY lead to more consistent calls. Won’t have to worry about it again until all the young studs (Mahomes, Burrow, Jackson, Allen, Mac, Hebert, Rush) become old in 10-15 years.

  11. Any roughing the QB call should be reviewed by the league office. That’s the only way they’re going to have any consistency. Right now the refs have no idea what they should be calling.

  12. I am very interested in hearing what Stephen Ross says about the subject. Whoops, I forgot he won’t be there.

  13. Remember all the down votes to flag football comments? Here we are 2 weeks later and now you’ve got penalties for tackling too hard. It’s coming.

  14. What a clown show. How many make-up calls did the Raiders get nailed with after that bad call? 5? Sounds fair to me!

  15. Nothing craters ratings like trotting out 2nd and 3rd string QBs: but the NFL has created a system with the spotter that makes it exceptionally easy to be forced to trot out 2nd and 3rd string QB. See Dolphins, Miami.

    With the proliferation of legalized gambling, NFL partnerships, and media broadcast integration the temptation for to throw a game becomes high, and profitable. But, again, the most powerful and influential person capable of changing a game is NOT wearing stripes. It’s that anonymous and hidden “spotter” who has the power to pull a QB after any tackle.

    Finally, protecting the QB should be a simple 2-layer approach. Refs on the field make their calls in real time with whatever POV angle they have and err on the side of QB safety, but with booth review overrides available to slow down the play and get the call right. So the field red can call roughing but the booth can correct such obvious mistakes as last night. And this NFL oversight should not penalize a team with a use of a challenge.

  16. On one hand you have officials which are just awful at their jobs. Yes, it is a hard job. Not so hard that these guys constantly get it wrong, and it’s always the same ones making the same mistakes. On the other hand, you’d be a fool not to think the NFL gives these guys instructions based on whatever the league is trying to accomplish. Hell, they flat out admit it with the “increased emphasis on x penalty” stuff we get every offseason. The NFL was criticized heavily and intensely because of the Tua situation, you bet they told refs to be flag happy . And it has nothing to do with Brady or Rodgers, unless you think Carr is getting superstar treatment, too. Now that they’ve been called out for it, they’ll dial it back. That’s how the league rolls.

  17. From this year forward, nobody in the continued history of the game will ever come close to Michael Strahan and T.J. Watt’s 22.5 sack record. Defensive end and outside linebacker pay will shrink just like running backs have.

  18. Bring it back to the 70s. You get two steps and can drill the QB if he still has the ball within those 2 steps. QBs today are pansies compared to the Bradshaws and Tarkentons of the world. You know you have a damaged product when referees are making stuff up as they go. These idiots are costing teams games with this garbage. These guys signed up for pro football. Play it then!

  19. QBs are still the most important position. They should be protected unless they are runners.

  20. stifleyourselfedith says:
    October 11, 2022 at 4:59 pm
    Bring it back to the 70s…QBs today are pansies compared to the Bradshaws and Tarkentons of the world.
    Terry and Fran didn’t have 300+ lb defenders who can run sub-5 40s running at them. Gotta love a keyboard warrior calling any NFL player a pansy.

  21. Let’s not forget about these phony concussion decisions. Bridgewater takes a hit on the first play of the game and then he’s out indefinitely because some guy in a press box decided he saw him stumble a little bit when he got up. No concussion symptoms, all protocols were followed, but the guy in the press box knows more than the doctors and medical professionals examining the player. If we’re worried about the appearance of impropriety for gambling purposes and owners’ star quarterbacks not being able to play, this situation is even more important than the roughing the passer stuff.

  22. The NFL is already rigged just look at the Jets Dolphins game I have watch a lot of video and can’t see Teddy stumble at all

  23. It’s not the penalty that needs discussing, it’s the Officials interpretation and enforecement. Same with holding. We are seeing defensive players mugged regularly without any meaningful enforecement. A sky judge could theoretically fix stuff like this.

  24. With the price of a QB now reaching the $50 million a year mark, look for the rule to become even more stringent (add on suspensions for hits like those against Carr and Brady). QB gets hurt the team goes in the tank and loses it star power (nobody cares about a DT) which then equals lower TV numbers then lower revenue, which is the only thing that matters to the NFL.

  25. Solution is easy just go to flag or two hand touch. The calls the past weekend are ridiculous. If that is what they are turning football into then not worth watching. Defenses are neutered. Might as well go to 7 on 7 competition.

  26. I want to extend what PhD said above. We saw Chris Jones get held with two fists of jersey last night and it was not called. We saw Mahomes get swung to the ground in obvious violation of the words in the rules without a call. The ref last night might as well have played the entire game with a paperbag over his head.

  27. Bizarre that the owners would oppose loosening the roughing the passer nonsense yet they have no problem sending their clearly concussed QBs back in the game!

  28. Joe ‘Turkey’ Jones v Terry Bradshaw = classic.

    And another point in last weeks Browns / Chargers game is that Jed Wills got sent off for a play because he tripped backwards over a DL….ridiculous.

    It’s called FOOTBALL….not PADDY CAKE !!

  29. “what are we going to do, quit the game?”

    I did, I stopped watching about 2 years ago. Didn’t even watch the SB. Yet I come here every day to read about it.

    It doesn’t matter to the league, I know that. But it matters to me on principle and for not being a hypocrite. To each, their own.

  30. Yep the moment something possibly helps the raiders in any way they have to review to make sure that this is actually what they want. Because we all know that the league does not want to help the raiders in anyway.

  31. I’ve got a solution. Make back-up QBs salaries exempt from the salary cap. This way, teams won’t have to trot out Mike Glennon. Dudes like Fitzpatrick and some of these other past-their-prime QBs who are terrible media personalities (think Drew Brees), can collect a paycheck and get called upon to hold down the fort. Who wouldn’t watch Philip Rivers vs. Brett Farve (can totally use the money now) duking it out on a Sunday night to keep their teams alive. Money is the only thing preventing these types of insurance policies so make them cap exempt.

  32. There is that one play or game which makes longtime fans of a sport question the legitimacy of the sport. For myself, I have not been naive enough to think that the NFL is on the up and up. Go on Twitter and people will see past examples of outcomes that were favored for one person and/or team than another. However, what happened in week 5 not only has the NFL go into Tim Donaghy territory. I would dare say it has made fans be reminded of the 1972 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team who will never accept the silver medals due to the likelihood of a stolen decision in the gold medal game. The league should be grateful this was not the playoffs. Even so, every game is important in who will win the prize in the end.

    It is my inference that the owners initially determined that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would win the Super Bowl and that Tom Brady would be given accommodation at every which whim and complaint. They might still have this as the plan, yet very few are buying it. I was genuinely stunned and impressed to see a near unanimous opinion of being against the roughing the passer calls, along with the dismissal of the preferential treatment Tom Brady has received. Not to mention the inherent racism. Player safety notwithstanding, the league should remember the cardinal slogan of football: defense wins championships. If that means the quarterback gets sacked and the 2nd or 3rd string gets a chance, so be it. For this is how Tom Brady went from having only one active game to be on the field in 2000 (6 passing yards) to winning the Super Bowl for the 2001 season. You have to wonder if the next great quarterback will have the same chances. Doubtful at this point.

    The league has choices to make. Either become a flag football league that caters to the bookies and a select few players who feel entitled to making the fans suffer with them n their midlife crisis (ahem, Tom Brady). Or get rid of the problems by having the U.S. Government oversee the league. This is what is done in numerous association football organizations, like the Premier League. This will get the stench of fixed games and gambling out of the game and get football to become innovative. Let us hope the latter choice is made.


  33. Speak on it justintuckrule. That’s some smart thinking bro. You should be on the competition committee.
    It would definitely keep talented qbs who can hold it together for a few games around for a few more years.
    I’m sure a guy like Ben or Brees could step in and stay healthy long enough to save a teams season.

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