Regardless of whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admits it or not, the league has an officiating problem. Too often games appear to be decided by questionable calls from officials. Some of this is unavoidable. No matter how in-depth the rulebook gets, there will always be a layer of subjectivity that can’t be removed.
One of the more recent sources of frustration is the enforcement of “roughing the passer” penalties. The NFL has good intentions by recently broadening the definition of the penalty to include things like landing with your full body weight on the quarterback, but with more stipulations to the rule has come more calls that appear to be controversial at best and flat-out wrong at worst.
So as the NFL Competition Committee met for the first time this offseason, one team reportedly proposed to make roughing the passer penalties subject to review. That way the league can maintain the safety of the new rule, while improving the accuracy of these costly penalties.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Should roughing the passer be a reviewable penalty?
My answer: Absolutely not.
In theory, this is a decent idea. A 15-yard penalty is strong enough that you want to be absolutely sure officials are getting it right. Unfortunately, we’ve already seen that when a subjective call is put up for review, the results are rarely consistent or helpful. The one year in which pass interference was subject to review was an absolute disaster and the NFL tossed it after a year.
There’s no reason to believe roughing the passer would be officated any better. Case in point, during this Competition Committee meeting over the weekend, the group watched 80 different instances of roughing the passer. Want to guess how many they thought were incorrectly called?
Committee looked at 80 plays of roughing the passer, found only 3 questionable. Big convo: sling vs. slam. Slam is problematic -- when a defender picks up the QB in the air and slams him on the ground. Slinging is more considered the natural progression.— Judy Battista (@judybattista) February 26, 2023
Three. Just three.
Making roughing the passer reviewable may fix a call every few weeks, but the amount of failed reviews are going to both increase officiating frustration and slow down the game. Hard pass.
Should roughing the passer be reviewable?
This poll is closed