While we were all freaking out about the NFL’s new rule regarding helmet contact, a smaller rule change was lying dormant, waiting to ruin the game as we know it.
During this year’s owner’s meeting this year, the NFL adopted several new rules, including the aforementioned helmet rule, a kickoff change and finally a change to the catch rule.
However, on the NFL’s official “2018 RULES CHANGES AND POINTS OF EMPHASIS” page, if you scroll way down the page, you’ll see a section labeled “Protection of Quarterbacks.” There you’ll find an enforcement change that has rocked the NFL season through three weeks:
“The Officiating Department will emphasize that the defender is responsible for avoiding landing on the quarterback when taking him to the ground.”
If you’ve missed it, this is Clay Matthews’ least-favorite new rule. He’s been called for roughing the passer in all three games, and while they all haven’t involved this landing on the quarterback/body weight stipulation, the most controversial one did. Take a look:
This is a foul for roughing the passer - the defender lands “with all or most of the defender’s weight” on the passer. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9(b): https://t.co/s9YKN8NLuT #GBvsWAS pic.twitter.com/ei2QZkvvzx— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) September 23, 2018
This has the players and fans up in arms, as it looks like a pretty standard NFL tackle, and it’s hard to imagine Matthews making the play in any other “legal” way.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Does the league need to change its roughing the passer rules or enforcement?
My answer: There’s no doubt something needs to be done. I understand the reasoning for the “body weight” rule, but it seems like the league added it with little understanding just how tough/impossible it is for players to adapt to it. Asking a player to somehow control exactly where their body is while they’re in the middle of making a tackle is just too much.
This isn’t a case of “the players just need to adjust,” adjusting is nearly impossible. You’re asking defenders to have reflexes that humans are incapable of, and you can see it in the frustration of the players.
I don’t have a nice and neat solution to this one, but the NFL is already reportedly looking into changes in how the rule is enforced, so that’s a good sign.
Does the NFL need to fix their roughing the passer rules?
This poll is closed