NFL will discuss making roughing the passer reviewable, more ejections for illegal hits on QBs


Roughing the passer penalties are down from last year, falling from 121 at this point in 2021 to 76 so far this season. But a handful of those 76 shouldn’t have been called, including Dolphins pass rusher Jaelan Phillips for a legal hit on Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert on Sunday Night Football.

The NFL acknowledged referee Scott Novak’s error in throwing a flag against Phillips.

“Didn’t like that call,” NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent said Wednesday at the league meetings in Irving, Texas. “We thought that Phillips did what we are asking the coaches to coach and the players to actually execute.”

Earlier this season, officials had egregious calls that went against Grady Jarrett for sacking Tom Brady and Chris Jones for strip-sacking Derek Carr.

The NFL’s “when in doubt” stance about roughness calls has prompted some owners and General Managers to question whether a roughing penalty should become reviewable.

Vincent said the Competition Committee will discuss whether to make roughing the passer reviewable as well as whether more players should be ejected for roughing the passer penalties.

“Quarterback goes down by a hit. Obviously, there’s a flag on the field,” Vincent said. “Should that player be automatically ejected or should that be a reviewable play? That’ll be a topic of what’s reviewed. What should be reviewable? Do you want to add things to that bucket? Is that something we should taking a look at? Should a disqualification automatically come with a player that is actually taken out of the game?”

The NFL’s one-year trial at making pass interference calls reviewable failed miserably in 2019. So does the league want to try to go there again with roughing the passer?

Vincent said “chasing perfection is the wrong place to go.”

“The officials, I must say, have been pretty consistent and very accurate on making that call, but they’re human. We will have an occasion where we may disagree,” Vincent said. “I mentioned the Chargers-Miami game. . . . But I think that is a discussion that will be a healthy discussion of the offseason with the Competition Committee, just keeping in mind: Do you allow the coach to challenge that? Or is that something that comes from New York? We look at game time. We were at 3:02. We were two minutes down a year ago. All those things come into factor.

“Because today it’s a personal foul, and there’s a ton of fouls that’s in that category. Where does it end? Again, the most impactful play in football is pass interference. Now, we start including the personal foul, but that’s why we’ll discuss it. We’ll bring back all the data: When it happens; how often it happens; how accurate is it? But I’ll be looking forward to this discussion.”

32 responses to “NFL will discuss making roughing the passer reviewable, more ejections for illegal hits on QBs

  1. Why not adopt Belichik’s suggestion – make ALL plays and penalties or lack thereof reviewable?

  2. Please, no more replay reviews. Between the incessant flags, injuries, and replay reviews the game is becoming borderline unwatchable.

  3. Can’t wait until the first ejection of a player for hitting a QB too hard. Why even draw this out anymore? This league is finished, just go all in and remove hitting the QB all together because that’s obviously where it’s headed anyways.

  4. All nfl games have to many flags. If it’s borderline don’t throw the flag in any situation. If it isn’t obviously a penalty in full speed don’t throw a flag.

  5. The ravens won’t have any players left if they get ejected for dirty hits. Some of those dirty hits cost the Steelers a game we should have won on Sunday.

  6. I don’t have a problem with it. I’d rather see Allen or Mahomes against Hurts in the SB than a couple of guys signed off the street.

  7. They really need to review the roughing the passer rule. The hit on Herbert was not bad and I’m a Chargers fan.

  8. The BS penalty on Phillips could have entirely changed the result of that game! Chargers would have had to punt from their own endzone!

  9. This won’t cause any additional controversy or make things even more confusing whatsoever.

  10. So the next step if you are going to get a penalty, fined and ejected might as well make it count and try to injure the QB especially the knees. Take out Mahomes’ knee not only is he done for the current year, but he would be pretty useless the following year rendering KC useless for that time opening doors for other teams.

  11. The last thing anyone wants is for players to be automatically ejected for rushing and getting to the passer.
    If they want to use replay to correct a call like the one on the Herbert hit, then we’re getting somewhere. But we don’t need refs looking for more reasons to throw players out of the game.

  12. Vincent said “chasing perfection is the wrong place to go.”

    Nobody is asking for perfection, just for the NFL to make the effort to get the call right. We’re not talking about a 5 yd offsides here. Roughing is a momentum shifting, game changing call and we’ve seen far too many of them this season that were wrong.

    IMO roughing should be an automatic review. It’s at times a difficult call to get right at game speed so review will help ensure the call is correct. As for the ejection issue, I’m not in favor unless the hit is blatant. I say treat it like a personal foul.

  13. A lot of this could be solved by just stopping the QB from running past the line of scrimmage.

  14. The body weight rule is ridiculous. Let’s pretend the QB’s are actual football players playing football.

  15. Terry Bradshaw, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, Joe Montana, Dan Marino look at today’s QBs and roll their eyes in disgust. Put dresses on them as someone said.

  16. Vincent is pitting perfection vs. the quest for perfection. This league makes more money than God and yet…

    Welcome to Vincent Airlines where we promise to land your plane safely MOST OF THE TIME. No, don’t confuse him with Herschel Walker. He gets paid to make such statements.

  17. So Jaelen Phillips could’ve been ejected for his clean sack on Herbert this past Sunday?

  18. I have been a football fan my entire life and I have watched the game become what it is today. Now I’m not saying that the game is perfect and I know that roughing the passer penalties are down this year. But I have seen far to many RTP calls that were in no way due a call like that. In the Dolphins game this past week, Phillips was flagged for what was IMO a clean hit and I have seen it too many times already. Why not just wrap the QBs in bubble wrap so they don’t get hurt. I’m all for player safety but football is a violent sport, hence why they are paid so much money. I get that QBs are the face of most franchises but if you want to make all this money then actually play the game. The QB slide is ridiculous IMO, the tuck rule that was implemented because of Brady. Tua getting slammed to the ground against Cincinnati with no call? I could go on and on. The NFL needs to do something about this because a RTP foul is a momentum changing play

  19. The flag on the Phillips call came in well after the play was over, so it seems like the ‘eye in the sky’ in New York told the referee to throw the flag. This shouldn’t be allowed at all. If New York thinks the call is wrong, then the referee should be told to review it, not just arbitrarily decide it remotely. The final call should always rest with the on-field officials.

    Bill Belichick is right, EVERYTHING should be reviewable. But the NFL doesn’t have the guts to do that.

  20. No matter how good the ref is it is impossible to make the correct call when these guys are going full speed. This should have happened decades ago. And of course, do a quick review from HQ. We don’t need Refs looking into a square for 5 minutes.

  21. dingodango says:
    December 14, 2022 at 2:08 pm
    I don’t have a problem with it. I’d rather see Allen or Mahomes against Hurts in the SB than a couple of guys signed off the street.


    That’s exactly the problem. It should be the Chiefs vs. Eagles, not QB vs. QB. But in trying to protect QBs at all costs the NFL has made the games all about them. It’s unfortunate and harmful to the quality of the game in my opinion. Should be plenty of different ways to win – not just “who has the best QB”.

  22. Yes, let us expand the aaron rodgers rule. Now, time for dinner and to congratulate each other on our awesomeness.

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