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Talk pro football with SI.com's Andrew Perloff in Huddle Up, a forum to discuss the hottest topics around the NFL.
11/29/2006 11:52:00 AM

Enough with the roughing calls

The Giants' Mathias Kiwanuka let Vince Young out of his grasp and the Titans quarterback scrambled for a key first down late in Tennesse's 24-21 win last Sunday.

The NFL needs to ease up on the roughing the passer penalties this season, instead of waiting for the offseason to reevaluate how they enforce the rule. Is there any doubt a roughing the passer call will be pivotal in a playoff game?

Last week, two games were greatly affected by the league's new emphasis on protecting quarterbacks. The Giants' Mathias Kiwanuka, fearing a penalty, let Vince Young out of his grasp and the Titans QBs scrambled for a first down that allowed Tennessee to mount an unlikely comeback. And the Packers' Cullen Jenkins was wrongly flagged after barely making contact with Matt Hasselbeck's helmet, leading to a Seahawks first down that changed the direction of that game in the fourth quarter.

Questionable roughing the passer calls have become a regular part of ESPN highlights and those aforementioned plays have been the focus of talk radio all week. And they often happen on key third-and-long plays, because those are the situations a defense is most likely to reach the quarterback.

Another factor that makes this a real problem for the NFL is how big the quarterbacks are getting. The newest crop of quarterbacks, like Vince Young, Jason Campbell and Ben Roethlisberger, are as big as defensive ends and are hard to tackle. Even a non-mobile quarterback like Tom Brady is difficult to drag to the ground. Brady will fight any defensive linemen who gets through. So what's a guy like Kiwanuka to do?

I understand the NFL needs to protect its marquee players and this rule isn't going to change. But most of the injuries to quarterbacks have nothing to do with the kind of plays that are drawing flags. Look at Donovan McNabb's recent MCL tear, which had nothing to do with contact. The league can do little to prevent the most serious kinds of leg injuries.

I wish I had a better alternative for the NFL. Maybe cutting out a preseason game, reemphasizing the "in the grasp" rule or improving a quarterback's padding. But at this point, I don't care if the star quarterbacks get hurt if the cost of protecting them is an unfair game. And there's no question these roughing the passer calls are unfair. Just wait until the key play of Super Bowl XLI is a penalty on DeMarcus Ware for hitting Philip Rivers as he releases the ball.

As always, let me know what you think. If you agree with me, maybe we can make some noise and the NFL will listen.
posted by sidotcom | View comments |  


Posted: 12:30 PM   by Anonymous
Dead on. The pendulum has swung too far in the quarterback's favor. Protect them when they are vulnerable (after throwing, below the knees) but they are football players and should be treated as such.
Posted: 12:35 PM   by Anonymous
I must be old school but when I played if you had the ball it was game on. And if you did not want to be hit go out for track.
Posted: 12:35 PM   by Anonymous
I comepletely agree with you Perloff. However, Kiwanuka is a moron for letting Young go. i don't care what excuse you make for him. That play is the epitomy of what you what call "boneheaded." He should be more aware of his surroundings going after the QB like that. The least he could have done is hold up Young long enough until the ref blows the whistle.
Posted: 12:35 PM   by Anonymous
Also add another play from ths week where the roughing calls had an effect -- Tom Brady 'juked' Urlacher and picked up a 1st down on a 3rd and 9. After the game Brady said he was the only guy on the team that could have picked up that first down because Urlacher would have leveled anyone else but because it was the QB and he had to worry about a last-second slide he couldn't play normally with Brady running the ball and Brady got the first down.

Between this call and the horsecollar call (which gets called when it isn't horsecollar and often goes uncalled when it is), they really need to figure out what is a penalty and what is not. The consistency in these calls is nowhere to be found.
Posted: 12:35 PM   by Brian
I agree that the roughing calls are a little out of hand. I understand completely the quarterback needs to be protected but a lot of these roughing calls are just tackles. I also think the other call officials can't get right is pass interference. I witnessed 2 bad interference calls in the Pats-Bears game which singlehandedly could have turned that game over had Rex Grossman not been so turnover prone. Not to mention the Pats got robbed on that phantom interference call against the Broncos in last year's playoffs. Incidental contact is not a penalty. Quit making the NFL a wussy league, refs!
Posted: 12:36 PM   by Mike
Don't forget the Cincy-Tampa Bay game. The bogus roughing-the-passer call on Justin Smith gave the Bucs a first-down which sustained their game-winning drive. The call probably cost a Bengals a win and may be responsible for a playoff miss.
These guys are out there to hit. This is the highest level, so they should be hitting harder than anyone.
Salisbury said it best, but I'll give it a shot. Where does this rule cross the line? Will the NFL let the quarterbacks wear red scrimmage jerseys all season? What about flags around their wastes? Two-hand touch?
The penalties for truly overt, unsportsmanlike hits should be SEVERE: going for the knees, high shots, late shots, etc. But these guys are supposed to get hit, and they know it too.

Also, leading with the head: How do you move WITHOUT leading with your head? You can't walk with your feet in front of you and your head held back, let alone to do so at full speed.
Posted: 12:47 PM   by dickm27142@aol.com
remove the rule against intentional grounding and don't allow contact with the QB after he throws the ball. this allows the QB to avoid any hit that he chooses and removes two judgement calls by the officials. these QB's are smart tough guys, let them make the choice.
Posted: 12:50 PM   by Anonymous
Well done on the article. I have seen way to many games affected by roughing the passer penalties. The NFL must take action now and ease up on the roughing the passer calls. It is unfair to protect a player to this extent.
Posted: 12:50 PM   by Anonymous
DEAD ON!! Kiwinuka is a rookie who was flagged several weeks ago for not doing exactly what he did against Young. Also, the 'know your surroundings' argument is only made by people who have never played the game (and realized that it is impossible to tackle someone and still see if they have thrown the ball)! The plain and simple truth is that consistently horrible officiating and random application of very vague rules, is what ultimately costs the Giants that game. Very simply, do not flag a pass rusher unless it is a flagrantly dirty or late hit.
Posted: 12:53 PM   by Anonymous
Agreed, but overall the officiating in the NFL has been aweful. I wathed that Packers Seahawks game and I could have been one for the ages for MNF but that one call was the 2nd worst all year. The worst one was Wiggins (Vikings vs Patriots) catching the ball and running 6 FULL STEPS before being tackled and not only was it ruled incomplete but it was upheld on REVIEW!!!
Posted: 12:56 PM   by Anonymous
defensive ends, are taught from day one to never,ever let go. what happened in the giant game sunday was a mistake. i'm sure from now he will never let go.
there are no clear-cut rules that will work to everyone's satisfaction. the in-the-grasp rule was eliminated because of quick whistles. let the guys the play.
Posted: 12:58 PM   by Rich
They need to bring the "in the grasp" rule back (or enforce it if it still exists). With as big as these QBs are, you can't expect a guy tackling a QB to also keep an eye on the ball (like Peter King said yesterday in his MMQB Tuesday Edition).

The NFL needs to stop protecting the QB so much. Get rid of the "slide rule". Urlacher would have nailed Brady. If a QB runs over the line of scrimmage he is now a Running BACK and should be hit as such.

If the NFL doesn't change some of these rules - lets do this - put all QBs in dresses, high heels and flags on their hips. They expect to be treated like you would treat little girls, have them dress like it! Its football, be MEN and take a hit!
Posted: 12:58 PM   by Anonymous
What about Bears CB Charles Tillman getting flagged for a roughing call on that crazy two-fumble play, even though the play had not been whistled dead and what he did was absolutely legal? All he did was block a player -- on a still-live play -- and yet no one is talking about the failure of the officials to realize that the block occurred during a live ball. I understand the need to protect the QBs and all players, but the nature of football is a contact spot, and it seems that the rules are trying to keep the contact to a minimum.
Posted: 1:01 PM   by Anonymous
I agree, QBS are players when they move beyond the pocket, they should be treated likea running back, they should also take away throwing the ball out of the pocket that rewards the QBs for screwing up, lets play real football.
Posted: 1:01 PM   by Anonymous
I don't see how you cna pick on Kiawanuka? He clearly stopped Young's forward progress and if he kept going and Young went down, they would have flagged him for driving Young into the ground. There isn't much of a way to sack a QB when you have him in a bear hug anymore. Plus, the Giants' Frank Walker had been flagged on the previous series for hitting Young on a 4th down play on the sideline 2 yards away from the first down marker when Young had not pulled up at all. How can the rule be that the offensive player can keep running when he touches the sideline, but the defender has to be aware of it and pull up?
Posted: 1:05 PM   by Anonymous
As an official (though not in the NFL) we yell "Ball's Gone!" or "It's Away!" whenever a QB throws or a kicker kicks. At this point, it's the responsibility of the players to know that we have informed them that any more shots will lead to a penalty and any hits before this are legal. Even when a QB throws and a defender has him I've always tried to let go or it's a penalty. I think the rule is far too strictly enforced in the pro game and I don't think the refs are doing enough to let the players know when they can and can't hit the guy with the ball. Between defenders getting called for it the millisecond after the QB throws and they can't stop and the gunner who is in flight when a ball is kicked and the punter trips over him, things have gotten too sticky-tacky in what is supposed to be the big, bruising league.
Posted: 1:07 PM   by Rich
The whistle should blow when forward progress is stopped. They do this for a running back and receivers, why not for a QB who is still in the pocket? It is obvious when forward progress stops (unlike the in the grasp rule which is/was kinda vague).
The phantom roughing the QB calls are dead-on with the consistency of a roughing the kicker penalty where the breeze from the passing rusher blows the punter over, or the punter lands on the rusher's back and falls down. Both calls are garbage calls and should be at the very least reviewable. What I find reprehensible is a referee can make that call on Jenkins but when a lineman INTENTIONALLY (and don't tell me otherwise because he could have flattened out, Kennison push or no) curls and drives his shoulder into Trent Green's earhole not only is there no flag but the league said the hit was legal! Sean Salisbury made my point when he said it's garbage and it has to change.
Posted: 1:08 PM   by Mark
While we are at it, can we mention how there are no longer 5-yard incidental facemask calls anymore? I can't recall the number of times I have seen a hand stay on the mask for a spilt second before the player moves it and makes a tackle, and this is called a 15-yard penalty. Plain wrong.
Posted: 1:09 PM   by Anonymous
How about something like a "running in to the passer" penalty similar to what the kickers have? If the refs have an option for a call that wouldn't provide an automatic first down they could work to protect the QB without necessarily altering the possible outcome of the game...
Posted: 1:11 PM   by Anonymous
Agree with all that has been said, but want to second the "leading with the helmet" comments. I think I understand the spirit of the rule - an effort to control old-fashioned "spearing" and to protect the tackler from potential neck injuries. Further, the rule seems to be aimed at preventing particularly vicious hits on vulnerable receivers (in the air) and quartebacks (standing more-or-less in place).

That being said, I have seen several game- or at least drive-changing calls where a defender has wrapped up an offensive player and the laws of physics forced both players' helmets to clunk together. As I recall, the textbook form-tackle (technically) requires one to lead with the helmet, as does every single collision between offensive and defensive linemen... Like I said, I think I get it, but this call seems to be as arbitrary as "offensive holding" or "travelling" in the NBA.
Posted: 1:11 PM   by Anonymous
How come you see QB's get thrown to the ground and no penalty but you just touch his head it's a penalty. QB's in the past used to get smacked around pretty good and they did okay. They just might as well let them wear skirts or flags and play flag football. There are other rules that could and should be changed but not enough space to expand on that subject.
Posted: 1:12 PM   by Anonymous
Not to mention the bogus "roughing the passer" call on Julius Peppers during a third down play. Clearly, changed the momentum in that game.
Posted: 1:16 PM   by Anonymous
Yeah.. I thought the worst roughing the passer call this year was on Justin Smith of the bengals.
he sacked and forced Bruce gradkowski and forced a fumble.. He rolled him to the ground and they said he SLAMMED him to the turf.. that was a new one for me
Posted: 1:16 PM   by Anonymous
The call in the Packers-Seahawks game was a joke! The refs are an embarassment to this league. Consistent reffing is what keeps the ultimate fan happy. Why not review the penalty if it's that questionable? It would take all of a minute and at least they'd get the chance to get the call right...
Posted: 1:16 PM   by Anonymous
We all know the saying "defense wins championships"...But the NFL will always lean towards the Offense. They want to see high scoring games. And they will change the rules any way they can to increase the scoring. They have already crippled the DB's in the league with that illegal contact penalty.

So what is next?
Posted: 1:17 PM   by Anonymous
I totally agree. Quarterbacks are football players too and I think the position is overprotected. A defensive/offensive lineman constantly get hit more so than your prima donna NFL quarterbacks. Where is the justice?
Posted: 1:17 PM   by Anonymous
I agree with reigning in the roughing the passer penalties. The NFL also needs to get the pass interference penalty fixed. It should be a standard 5 yards and a first down like holding or illegal contact. I am not a Pats fan, but watching the referee pick the ball up and practically carry it down the field and put it in the end zone for the Bears was sickening. Unfortunately, it happens all too often. Can there be a bigger game changing penalty than a phantom 60 yard pass interference call? You could intentionally cripple a guy and get away with a 15 yarder.
Posted: 1:18 PM   by Bones
Add Julius Peppers' hit on Jason Campbell. Julius executes a perfect form tsckle - a great 'clean' hit. Richard Marshall intercepts with excellent field position but it is overturned by a roughing call. If not for that, Carolina probably puts the game away. Instead it gives Washington new life and momentum.

Let the players play.
Posted: 1:21 PM   by Anonymous
RIGHT ON! I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels this way. The NFL rules are such that officials determine the winner of a game rather than the teams/players. I rules are so judgemental and complicated that it is difficult to explain to a new fan that it is OK to knock someone out with a legal hit but you can't touch a receiver or the quarterback. Football is a rough sport, keep the rules simple. I've been a pro football fan since Super Bowl I, but every week I witness officials determining the outcome of games that I'm considering giving up watching NFL football.
Posted: 1:27 PM   by Anonymous
This is not just an NFL problem. The OSU-Michigan game was certainly influenced, if not decided, by the questionable 3rd down roughing call on Michigan when they hit Troy Smith as he was throwing an incomplete pass as he went out of bounds in the 4th quarter. Osu went on to score what became the winning touchdown. It becomes laughable when one arbitrary call decides 60 minutes of football.
Posted: 1:31 PM   by Creighton
I agree completely. I also think they should re-think the roughing the kicker rules. I'm tired of seeing a punt almost get blocked, then the punters foot lands on the back of the guy laying on the ground and he tumbles to the ground in dramatic fashion just to get the ball back. Kickers and Punters in the NFL are professional football players, not actors trying to get an Oscar.
Posted: 1:32 PM   by Anonymous
I think some of this can be addressed by applying a 5 yard penalty for lighter offenses, and a personal foul 15 yard penalty for those truly deserving. It would allow the defense to play a little more freely, and officials are used to this judgment call with face masking, etc.

I don't believe this is an IDEAL solution, but I believe it is a possible or realistic fix to implement quickly.
Posted: 1:34 PM   by Anonymous
I Agree. The league should start dishing out fines to officials who blow calls like the Wiggin's catch and the C.Jenkins roughing penalty. These calls ruin the fun of watching a football game.
Posted: 1:34 PM   by Anonymous
Coughlin would have likely preferred the prospect of a 15 yard penalty over what actually transpired. That said, a first down would have resulted either way. You can lay all the blame for the comeback and ensuing loss on the missed tackle. That was a team breakdown, from Eli's bad decisions all the way to the last guy on the roster.
Posted: 1:35 PM   by Richard
Give the official who monitors the QB (referee?) a whistle that has a different pitch (lower) than the regular stoppage-of-play whistle.

When the QB releases the ball, the referee blows this special whistle to indicate that the QB now has to be "protected".

This seems to be the only way for the QB rules -- which differ whether the QB has the ball or does not -- to be managed.

Maybe instead of a whistle the referee shouts or does something that can be heard by the defender without looking.
Posted: 1:35 PM   by Anonymous
You are completely right. The Packers defense looked pretty horrible all game and they come up with a HUGE stop on third and long and Jenkins gets called for a garbage penalty. He barely (if at all) touched Hasselbeck on the head. The ref also said he hit him on the back of the helmet, but you have no choice when the QB turns his head away from you! That was a three point game at that point and I think the Packers had a legitimate shot at winning, but when the Seahwaks scored on that drive, the game was over. I completely agree with the other posts that the league worries way too much about the quarterbacks - Hasselbeck has even said not to worry about their heads, protect the knees. Football is a contact sport, last I checked - there shouldn't be a call unless it is blatantly late or at someone's knees (and you're not blocked into them). The refs were awful in the Monday Night game, but the call on Jenkin's was by far the worst. I'd be interested to see if anything changes with the rules and if the refs admit their mistake.
Posted: 1:36 PM   by Anonymous
Change it to the way facemasking is done. Flagrant is 15, accidental 5. Old school is BS, Buddy Ryan made hurting the QB the raison detre of his defense, and now defenses track how many times he gets cheapshotted.
Posted: 1:41 PM   by Anonymous
The league needs to loosen the rules for the refs. There is too much pressure on the officials to protect the QB.

Head to Head spearing should be a penalty every time, but accidential or minimal QB helmet contact should not be an automatic flag.

Also the time the defender has to smack the QB after he releases the ball should be extended. To many flags are thrown on defenders who just follow through on a play.
Posted: 1:41 PM   by Anonymous
Perhaps they need to change the rule to call in "touching the passer" :-)

I think the QB's are taking advantage of the fact that it's a win win for them -- either have a great pass/run (Young) or 15 yds-automatic first down!!

NFL better wake up or it will start driving away TV fans (and hence revenue)
Posted: 1:42 PM   by Anonymous
That's why I stick with rugby, where it's "every man for himself." It makes no difference if you are a "lineman" forward or "QB/RB" backline player, the laws apply to everyone. And we play without the sissy pads!
Posted: 1:43 PM   by Anonymous
I'm inclined to agree with you. They're quickly turning quarterbacks into kickers.

The easy answer is, once a QB is in the grasp, blow the whistle. A guy like Vince Young won't get a quick whistle but Drew Bledsoe does? That's a little subjective, for my taste. If you're going to say QBs can't get hit, then they shouldn't be able to scramble, either.

The entire idea about being so dogmatic about things like blows to the head was to take the subjectivity out of it. The problem? You can't eliminate all of the subjectivity and in an effort to protect quarterbacks, you've given too much advantage to the offense.

Not that the league is complaining, I'm sure. If hockey is rewilling to rewrite its rulebook to ensure more scoring and baseball is willing to juice the ball - it would be naive to think the NFL wouldn't do the same thing. Every sports league in North America is willing to crap all over the "hard core" fan in order to draw new fans.
Posted: 1:49 PM   by Anonymous
Perhaps the NFL should use 1 or 2 of its superfluous preseason games to test new rules. For example, what if they played one weekend of preseason games where the rule was "if a defender touches the quaterback while he holds the ball, the QB is down at that spot"? It might make the preseason more interesting and give the league the chance to test some crazy ideas.
Posted: 1:49 PM   by Anonymous
Simple fix: 5 yd penalty for inadvertent or otherwise minor contact with the QB. 15 yard for flagrant or helmet-to-helmet contact. There are many other judgement calls the refs have to make - such as pass interference and roughing the kicker - why let them use their judgement here too? Protecting the QB is a good thing, but it's gotten so completely ridiculous.
Posted: 1:50 PM   by Steve
I couldn't agree more. After listening to all the pre-game hype regarding the Packers/Seahawks game last Monday, Brett Farve's streak, etc...then one bad call ruined a potentially great finish. No telling what would have happened, but this much we know - that call ended the game. I watched the rest of the seahawks series and when they scored off went the TV. So much for promoting one of the all time great QB's. Then taking the ball out of his hands by a stinking zebra. It's getting harder & harder to watch the NFL anymore.
Posted: 1:51 PM   by Anonymous
This might not be popular, but here goes. The NFL needs to use the technology of the replay booth to overturn some of these ridiculous calls. The officials only use replay on specific calls. Use the technology that is available.
Posted: 1:51 PM   by Anonymous
Part of the rulebook's intent is to protect a QB when they are "vulnerable". Shouldn't this logic be applied to a receiver going over the middle and extending themselves high in the air to get a ball just as the free safety and middle linebacker are licking their chops??
Posted: 1:52 PM   by Anonymous
I saw the call against the Packers
and it was a travesty. It definitely changed a good game into a farse.
A review of that type of call is
The Vince young play was a joke
the lineman was in a catch-22
If he had finished the tackle he
would have been flagged. By letting up it cost his team the game! This is not football.
But I don't believe intentionally hurting a player to gain an advantage is right either.
We may have to have a ref at a video screen who would hopefully
correct these obvious mistakes!!
Posted: 1:54 PM   by Anonymous
Could not agree with you more. Too much protection for QBs these days. Are they football players or pansies? If they are going to keep roughing calls and interference calls the same then make them reviewable. Too many drives are extended to protect the QB. Too many extended when the hand checking between receivers and D-backs goes in favor of the receiver.
Posted: 1:56 PM   by Anonymous
Its easy to say Kiwanuka should've been focusing on Young's arm, hand, fingers, etc. and making a sack. Its just not possible all the time out there in the middle of the action. Rules like this actually make a player lose focus on what his instinct tells him he should do and the outcome of an entire game is compromised. "Protect the QB" should actually read "Protect the QA's legs"
Posted: 1:57 PM   by Anonymous
football is a game where you are supposed to get hit. quarterbacks should just learn that. if they are that fragile then they should play some other sport.
Posted: 1:58 PM   by Anonymous
So if a quarterback in the pocket eludes a tackler by ducking his head into his chest only to have the nosetackler come right up the middle and drill him straight in the chest (thus his head), then a penalty is going to be called?? Get real!! You can't have it both ways.
Posted: 1:59 PM   by Anonymous
For two weeks in a row now, the threat of a roughing the passer call has absolutely changed the outcome of the game. For the Week 11 occurrence, look at the Cleveland lineman who released Rothlisberger, only to see him complete a pass for a first down, keeping the game winning drive alive. Helmet to helmet should be called, but be aware, many qbs are ducking (or naturally curling up when a hit is coming, like a reflex) when about to be sacked.

The Justin Smith sack/penalty evoked a poignant response from Marvin Lewis: "I guess we just have to cuddle them to the ground". Mike Periera, head of officials, defended this call, saying it looked like Smith slammed Gradkowski's head into the ground. Not even close, worst call of season long, game altering misinterpretation by part time referees who should be full time like players, coaches, trainers, owners and fans!
Posted: 2:00 PM   by Anonymous
For two weeks in a row now, the threat of a roughing the passer call has absolutely changed the outcome of the game. For the Week 11 occurrence, look at the Cleveland lineman who released Rothlisberger, only to see him complete a pass for a first down, keeping the game winning drive alive. Helmet to helmet should be called, but be aware, many qbs are ducking (or naturally curling up when a hit is coming, like a reflex) when about to be sacked.

The Justin Smith sack/penalty evoked a poignant response from Marvin Lewis: "I guess we just have to cuddle them to the ground". Mike Periera, head of officials, defended this call, saying it looked like Smith slammed Gradkowski's head into the ground. Not even close, worst call of season long, game altering misinterpretation by part time referees who should be full time like players, coaches, trainers, owners and fans!
Posted: 2:03 PM   by Anonymous
The roughing call on Jenkins was absurd -- I didn't understand why that couldn't have been overturned by a review. At the very least, such a call should be reviewable. There was clearly no foul and yet the terrible call obviously impacted the climactic part of the game and possibly the outcome.
Posted: 2:03 PM   by Anonymous
Are QB's not football players? Then let them take a hit. Personally, I'm fed up with the NFL. From QB's that are afraid to get hit to million dollar WR's who can't catch. I'd rather watch a rugby game.
Posted: 2:05 PM   by Anonymous
Roughing the passer, inadvertant facemasks flagged for 15 yards, QB slide rule...this league will do anything and everything to create points. Why do people bother to keep stats or celebrate records when the game changes every few years, making it easier to play offense and more difficult to play defense?
Posted: 2:06 PM   by Anonymous
I agree 100%. ease back on the rule. It's getting ridiculous!
Posted: 2:07 PM   by Anonymous
i amongst everyone i talk to agrees the roughing the passer call is ruining the game. another example is tom brady's 'juke' on brian urlacher in the bears/patriots game. it's was more unseen to the avg. person, but being a former player (in college) i know for a fact urlacher wasn't going 100% because for a moment brady looked down as if to prepare to slide, then pulls up and cuts right. urlacher being caught off-guard couldn't make a play. all of this caused by penalties trying to protect two out of 22 people on the field.
Posted: 2:08 PM   by Anonymous
How about the QB wears flags and we forget the tackling?
Posted: 2:16 PM   by Anonymous
It's supposed to be football, not ballroom dancing. If you have the football, you get hit. It's that simple!
Posted: 2:19 PM   by Anonymous
I think that the NFL should use retired football players as officials and also make it a full time job. Mostly study during the off season. They would probably be more suited to make most calls as they have played the game. I think most officials are too old to keep up with the speed of the game.
Posted: 2:23 PM   by Anonymous
I agree and I think the NFL should put those unnessary ruffness calls under further review.
Posted: 2:26 PM   by Anonymous
I do agree that the over-sensitive roughing the passer calls are a problem. The only solution I see that makes any sense is easing up a little on plays where there is no helmet-to-helmet contact and emphasizing the slide rule, when the QB scrambles.

However, this is a problem that is far, far outweighed by the defensive pass interference calls. Do you really think a so-called "pivotal" roughing call that nets a first down is worse than a 60 yard never-had-a-prayer-of-being-caught pass that gives the offense a cheap 60 yard advantage? How many times on 2nd or 3rd down do we see a QB just loft one up there with little to no chance of being caught only to have a penalty give the equivalent of a field-marching drive.

Protect your QB's and protect your investment. That at least makes sense. But, anything more than a 15 yard penalty (college rules) for pass interference is a ridiculous game-changing penalty that needn't be called in the first place.
Posted: 2:26 PM   by Anonymous
Posted: 2:30 PM   by Anonymous
Heartily agreed. Here are two things the NFL can do to improve the situation without putting QBs at risk:

1) The name of the game is *consistency*. It's not just that DEs have to handle the QB with kid gloves -- they don't even know for sure what the refs will call and what they won't. It's a guessing game right now, and that's completely unfair to the defensive players.

2) Introduce a 5-yard "illegal contact with the passer" penalty for hits that technically fall under roughing the passer, but where it was clearly not the intention of the defender to lay a big hit on the QB. Yes, this is a little subjective, but I think it would be far better than the present situation.
Posted: 2:30 PM   by Anonymous
It’s unanimous. It’s past the point of ridiculous and infuriating. A bad roughing call cost Cinci a game vs. Tampa. Please forward this string to the NFL.
Posted: 2:35 PM   by Mike N
The most obvious solution might be to allow the continued calling on the field as it is, but to force a review of the calls upstairs before enforcing the call, with a short limit for review. Using that process would have likely over-turned the call against the Packers. It wouldn't solve all problems, but it is better than what we have today!
Posted: 2:36 PM   by Anonymous
Dead on target.

The Kiwanuka "incident" is the 3rd time this season I have seen a D-lineman let a QB go when in the grasp because they didn't want to get flagged. The first 2 times were hits on Rothelisberger where he pump-faked as being hit.... and the defensive player backed off the hit, only to watch the QB bounce away.

On the flip side of the coin, I have seen a few QB's (Charlie Frye of Cleveland is one that comes to mind) who get pounded but don't draw calls.

In the end, I think there are 3 issues at root. 1) There is a difference between a clean hit and tackle and intentional roughing. 2) Inconsistent application of the rule. 3) Football being a contact sport.

On the first point and third point, as a coach, I would support my player in a clean tackle, penalized or not. Football IS a contact sport. The QB is supposed to be a football player and are at the same risk as a WR going across the middle for a pass or RB in being hit. They are in a position of significant responsibility on their team and as such, are due the attention, negative and positive they draw.

On the second point, the rule is applied inconsistently throughout the league. I would be willing to bet that if one were to review game film, certain players draw a significantly higher number of questionable penalties while others would draw significantly fewer.

Of course..... the same might be said about offensive lines holding.... but that is a discussion for another time.
Posted: 2:37 PM   by Anonymous
I agree about "ticky-tacky" calls, but the biggest thing that can be done to help the problems is for the League to finally make Officiating a full time job with benefits for the Ref's. This will make their only job to be one of spending time in the offseason learning and reviewing the rules, instead of having another job to cover the benefits.
Posted: 2:40 PM   by Anonymous
The penalties are getting so ticky tack on pass interference and roughing the passer, what would a hit like the one Charles Martin delivered on Jim McMahon in 1986 cause in today's NFL? (Suspended for the season?, but still a 15 yarder and the Bears still get the ball back ), now that was a legitimate penalty, but the cullen jenkins one was a tap. What about Jack Tatum, would he even be able to play in today's sissy-league NFL?
Posted: 2:42 PM   by Anonymous
Great post, I agree completely. I also think the league should lift the rules about citizing officials. I think its stupid and if the officials deserve it they should have to suck it up and take it. If a bad call changes a game like in Seattle last Sunday, then the officials should be critized for it.
Posted: 2:47 PM   by Anonymous
For those who think you can't move without leading with your head. Take away the helmet and facemask and you'll see how they did it in the old days. They tackled by wrapping up a guy and bringing him down, instead of spearing him as hard as they can. I agree the roughing calls are getting out of hand, but the real problem is that every hit is now meant to knock a guy out instead of just tackle him. Kiwanuka could have tackled him or just wrapped him up, but players today don't know how to do that all they know is the knock out blow. Thus since he was afraid to drive him into the ground he let go, as if driving him into the ground was the only option.

The game has changed from it's old time version, thus the rule changes, for good or bad.
Posted: 2:47 PM   by Anonymous
There were actually 3 games this affected last weekend. In Carolina vs. Washington, Julius Peppers hit Jason Campbell with his head leading into Campbell's shoulder. Peppers clearly did not use the crown of his helmet as a weapon, nor was it a helmet-to-helmet hit. Campbell threw an interception on the play, but it was negated by the penalty.
Posted: 2:53 PM   by Anonymous
To the person who felt that the hit on Troy Smith was questionable, I can only say that you're wrong and must not watch a lot of football.

However, the call on MNF and the call in the Bengals-Bucs game were both atrocious!! The NFL is big on publicizing punishments meted out to players; they should be just as vigilant in letting the public know that referees are punished for terrible calls.
Posted: 3:01 PM   by Anonymous
It is interesting when these phantom calls are called and when calls that should be called are not because they are almost always garnered to certain sides of betting point spreads. Are the refs in on gambling? It is kind of interesting to ast least look for. Look at the point spreads before any major NFL or college football game and look how the calls tend to favor one side of the point spread over another. Especially when the game is close to going over or under a certain spread. I feel that gambling in sports is omnipresent...including the players and officials.
Posted: 3:04 PM   by Mark
Just a thought. The NFL has roughing and running into the kicker and the 5 yard and 15 yard face mask penalties. Why not make a 5 yard running into the quarter back penalty that does not result in an automatic first down. I can't stand it when a 90 million dollar QB gets tapped on the helmet and it changes the whole game. Let QB's play football. If they don't want to get hit then let the backups play. By the way, Young should have been called down because his momentum was stopped. If that was Peyton or Carson they would have blowed that play dead so they would not have hit the ground and risked an injury.
Posted: 3:04 PM   by Anonymous
Yes, they need to get it right one way or another. Against the Steelers, rookie Kameron Wimbley was flagged for a personal foul for hitting Ben in the head with his hand (2 plays later he let go of Ben thinking he too had a sack and Ben was able to get back to the line of scrimmage instead of 2nd and 25, it was 2nd and 10). Then, against the Bengals, Frye was sacked and one of the Bengal players had a fairly hard helmet to helmet hit that was not called. Week in and week out the calls are as far from consistant as you can get.
Medina, Oh
Posted: 3:05 PM   by Anonymous
I'm suprised more offenses haven't employed a more Michael Vick style of play. Who needs a running back now? The direction QB-Protecting rules are going, defensive players will become to concerned with penalties to even hit the guy. These kind of rules remind me of the hypocrisy that is the NFL and how non-QB players are just not important.
Posted: 3:05 PM   by Anonymous
I am sick of people ripping on the officials and claiming it is all their fault. They are calling what is in the rule book, as well as what they are being instructed to call by the league and their supervisor. So, if you want to chande this call, and I agree that QB's are protected too much, you need to change how the officials are told to call roughing the passer.
Posted: 3:06 PM   by Anonymous
I get the feeling that sooner or later the d-line will come to the conclusion that its the same penalty if they level the QB of if they just touch him in certain situations. I think they will eventually say the heck with it and start leveling!! If I was going to get penalized, I would want to get my money's worth. This is ridiculous!!!!!
Posted: 3:09 PM   by Anonymous
Perhaps the solution is to simply make the call reviewable. It won't completly balance the sheet with questions about whether it is roughing or not but at least teams will be able to challenge the ruling in situations like Seattles where on replay's it showed it wasn't roughing at all. The refs are human and have to make split second decisions based on only the eye. Video would help to reduce this.
Posted: 3:10 PM   by John
It's a contact sport, for cryin' out loud!
Posted: 3:21 PM   by Anonymous
The ref standing behind the QB needs a different sounding whistle. He blows the whistle, the QB is off limits, and if QB still has the ball, the play is dead.
Why can't there be two "roughing" penalties, liemthere are for kickers and face masks? Minor things that had no chance of producing injury or were inadvertent would be five yards, added on to the play. Flagrant infractions would be fifteen and a first down. (Graded pass interference penalties might not be a terrible idea, either. Horrible to see a forty yard penalty on a touch call, even though it probably was interference.)
Posted: 3:33 PM   by Anonymous
the most ridiculous of these calls was against the jets in the most recent game against the pats. hobson was in the process of tackling brady when brady let go of the ball and yet he got called for roughing the passer. the league's explanation was something like "hobson needed to twist his body so the impact wouldn't have been as great as they hit the ground". how's a d-lineman supposed to keep that in mind?
Posted: 3:34 PM   by Anonymous
From the Redskins-Panthers game, Peppers was called for Roughing the Passer on what replays show to be a clean hit. Ultimately, the Redskins drive stalled, so some might argue that it didn't really matter. I'd argue that the Redskins were given a gift call and that it allowed them to maintain field position dominance over the Panthers that the over-ruled interception would have negated.
Posted: 3:35 PM   by Anonymous
dallas san diego?????dude please, id be surprised if they make it past the first round of the playoffs, and you seriously think they are going to beat the Pats or even the Colts for that matter... Patriots '07 BABY!! thats all you reporters need to be writing about
Posted: 3:36 PM   by Anonymous
This issue is not limited to QBs but rather the entire defense as a whole. As stated earlier this week on SI.com, there are no more shutdown corners anymore due to Passing Interference calls (these NEED to be reviewable!!!). Now defensive linemen are being flagged for doing their jobs - hitting the QB. Why don't we just have the offenses out there then? It could be like baseball's Home Run derby.
Posted: 3:39 PM   by PsychoSchizoPhreniac
I would like to see the stats on which QB's have been "Roughed" the most! I know that Mike Vic has gotten alot of them. I'm sure it will show most "Rushing QB's" as the "Most Roughed". The thing is if you hit a QB as he goes out of bounds you get a flag! If you don't he gets the first down. It's Professional Football not Flag Football.
Vic got 160+ yards last week but if you asked him I Guarantee he takes more chances to get yards because he knows Defenses have to hold back a bit for him as QB.
Yes I understand that once he is out of the pocket he is fresh meat, but just like Brady said any other player would have been Leveled. Running Out of Bounds I'm sure more late hits have been for hits to QB's than anyone else?
Trent Greens hit doesn't draw a flag? That should have gotten a flag & a fine. That was a perfect sign of Unsportsman like conduct, absolutelly no effort was made to slow up or try and avoid the QB, that was a player going full speed trying to intentionally hurt a guy. Look at that replay!
Posted: 3:39 PM   by Anonymous
The Peppers penalty was bogus but there was no INT on the play. Check the replay when the defender caught the ball his foot was out of bounds.
Posted: 3:41 PM   by Anonymous
NFL rules protecting the QB's are getting out of hand. These players get paid multi million dollar contracts to play Football, which by the way is a contact sport in case the officials have forgotten. If QB's do not like being hit or are afraid of being hit, then dont play. The military is always looking for a few more people, but then again they will have to deal with low pay, long hours, and the possibility of being injured and no over protecting rules.Well after writing that I do not think they would make good soldiers, stick with football. How about next year the NFL tries two hand touch, maybe that will make these 6'7 265lbs. players feel better.
Posted: 3:42 PM   by Anonymous
Thank God I'm not a QB. Seems like every guy on defense wants to knock out the QB, not just tackle him. Second, also glad I'm not a player or ref. Rules are too darn confusing. QB can't throw the ball away unless he's outside the tackles. Anyone getting a hand on the QB needs to make sure there's still a football in the QB's hand and then tackle around the legs or by "gently" pulling down the QB while also hoping the QB doesn't throw the ball just before they hit the ground. As a receiver defender, have to remember not only where you can hold up the defender after the snap (within 5 yards) but also remember to look back towards the ball when defending, otherwise you're flagged for not looking for the ball. And as an official . . . oh forget it. That's just the worst job of all: can't win any which way.
Posted: 3:43 PM   by Anonymous
What about the Steelers game, where Aaron Smith, literally fell at the quartbacks feet, just barely touching the shoe laces of Drew Brees, and getting the 15 yard roughing penalty.
Posted: 3:44 PM   by Giants Fan
you are 100% correct sir. Kiwi rules
Posted: 3:49 PM   by Anonymous
Along the same lines, the enforcement of "late hits" out of bounds is getting pretty ridiculous. If the tackle starts in-bounds, and continues out-of-bounds, it's not a late hit! Guys are using this to their advantage by faking towards the sideline and then running a few more yards when the defender lets up. An example would be Hasselbeck against the Bears earlier in the year.
Posted: 3:50 PM   by Anonymous
The NFL's emphasis might have the opposite effect of what was intended. If a defensive player is going to get flagged 15 yards for pulling up (as on Monday night) and 15 yards for driving a guys head into the turf, how long will it be before players realize that you might as well try to kill the QB?
Posted: 3:50 PM   by Stoney
Fortunately, I missed Kiwanuka turning Vince loose. Tough to know where to go with this one. He certainly is smart (BC grad) and had to be thinking he was going to be flagged and give up a penalty/first down call. However, I DID NOT miss the non-call for face guarding by the Bears defense which makes it even harder to swallow the two "pass interference" calls made against the Pats in the second half. If you are going to "let them play" in the first half, you have to do it in the second. Still ... the heckuva game if you like to see two teams who came to play and hit each other hard all day long! Kudos to both teams for a football game ... you know ... a CONTACT sport!
Posted: 3:54 PM   by Anonymous
You mean the NFL listens?? Only to the cash registers my friend.
Posted: 3:54 PM   by Anonymous
You are 100% correct. If the QB can't take a hit, then tell him/her to sit on the sidelines and grab some pom-poms. I understand why Kiwanuka let go of Young. If he had tackled him and Young had thrown the ball away he would have gotten a roughing call for sure.
Posted: 3:58 PM   by Anonymous
The Brady versus Urlacher issue is should not be in this issue. Urlacher did not expect a quarterback to try to run by him. He could have stayed with Brady and tackled him if he did not slide. However, he just expected Brady to go down. That's a boneheaded play. Letting a quarterback go when you don't need to takle him and you could just wrap him up until the whistle, another boneheaded play. What it comes boils down to is the lack of common sense of some players.
Posted: 3:58 PM   by Anonymous
I think the NFL should do away with the slide rule for quarterbacks who have advanced beyond the line of scrimmage. If they are behind the line and slide then they are down and contact is prohibited. However, if they become a ball carrier and advance beyond the line then they should be fair game. It's their choice if they want to step up and run diwn the middle of the field. Reward a defense for great coverage and pressure.
Posted: 3:59 PM   by Anonymous
Even if a crap call (like the one on Cullen Jenkins) helps my team, it sickens me as a fan. Protect the QB from late hits and dirty knee shots and do away with all of the other crap.
Posted: 4:01 PM   by Anonymous
What a moron. The Cowboys are not going to the Super Bowl.
Posted: 4:02 PM   by Anonymous
This rule is too unfair for any defense. The referee clearly don't know what roughing means anymore.
I just hope they make some type of adjustment before playoffs.
Posted: 4:03 PM   by Anonymous
I agree with everything you said except for the last sentence. The SuperBowl will be determined by a late hit call on Shawn Merriman against Tony Romo.
Posted: 4:10 PM   by Anonymous
I think the proof is in the commentary of ex-QBs such as Troy Aikman and Joe Theisman, both of whom had their careers cut short by serious injury. Let 'em play. the roughing the passer calls have become as rediculous as the 'in the grasp' calls were before. The NFL needs official with the ability to discern football plays from unnecessary roughness.
Posted: 4:16 PM   by Anonymous
What happened to "in the grasp" and blow the whistle. The Giants game is a perfect example. I understand protecting QB's but end the play with the whistle and don't call the brushes of contact being called including those to the head....They have helmets like everybody else!
Posted: 4:18 PM   by Anonymous
You are forgetting about a hideous call on Julius peppers as well. He hit Campbell as he threw and campbell later connected with his TE for a game changing TD...
Posted: 4:18 PM   by Anonymous
The way I see it, if they put on a uniform and pads then they are fair game. Since when are all QBs a bunch of pansies? Sure there are the pretty boy QBs out there and from the past, but I bet if you asked a guy like Brett Favre or Ben Rothlisberger if they think QBs should get some sort of special treatment because they are QBs, they would tell you you're a fool. This is football at its highest level. If a QB can't take a hit, he shouldn't be in the game. That is all. Plain and simple. QBs get paid some of the highest dollars in the league, they need to be able to take a hit and get back up. Once again, talk to Mr. Favre. He gets right up in the face of the biggest guys on the defensive side of the ball and he's been playing the position consistently longer than anyone.

The rule makers are fools if they think that fans don't want to see a good hardnosed game out on the field. If you don't like contact, try swimming, or golf.

That's not to say that blatant hits to the head and attempts to injure a guy are acceptable. There is a happy medium, just don't take knocking around the QB out of the game. Geez!
Posted: 4:22 PM   by Anonymous
Seriously, I'm about 1-2 more of these horrible calls from watching the games anymore. Those guys train and practice all week, play under immense adrenaline, and some PART TIME zebra changes the game?

NFL better wake up.
Posted: 4:22 PM   by Anonymous
I agree! That call on Monday night against Jenkins was absolutely ridiculous. Plus it probably changed the outcome of the game. The game shoud be decided on the field not by refs.
Posted: 4:24 PM   by Anonymous
I agree the QB is too protected. I may have read over but most would not think this but, When Cleveland gave Pittsburgh the game a few weeks ago there was a play on a 4th and long that a Browns player (I cant remember which one) had Big Ben wrapped up and was 1 yard beside the field judge ( I think that is the back ref.) and he intentionally pulled up so not to crush the poor guy. That play went for 18 yards and a 1st down and I beleive led to the first of 3 touchdowns by Pitt in the second half. Would they have had to punt after that down the momentum may have swung back with the home crowd and team. I know Cleveland sucks but when a player shows sign he has the intent to knock the daylights out of the QB then pulls away to avoid fine or penalty the play should be called dead period.
Posted: 4:25 PM   by Anonymous
this is ridiculous...quit making excuses for these guys, particularly Kiwi.

what's next, excuses from CB's. "I was going to guard Reggie Wayne, but I thought I might get a PI, so I just quit".

People seem to be mad about roughing the passer calls. Fine. But why bring up the Kiwi play. The excuse about being afraid of a penalty was an ad hoc one he came up after the fact. 10 years ago he would have been raked over the coals for giving up. Now he gets a free pass.

His excuse is bogus b/c his options were not limited to driving Vince to the ground or letting go. He easily could have sat on his knees with his arms firmly wrapped around Vince's waist. He gave up on the play, like most of the Giants were giving up on plays all game long. Quit making excuses for him.
Posted: 4:28 PM   by Anonymous
Spot on, Mate. We're talking about professional TACKLE football, right? Seriously, if the QB can't be hit with any of the ferocity that the other 21 players have to contend with, then he should be wearing flags. Just put the QB back there behind an eight foot tall steel cage, require the defenders to have to scale the fence so that the QB knows they're coming and then the down would be with flags. That was pure sarcasm, but is that where we're heading? It sure seems that way.
Posted: 4:28 PM   by Anonymous
Face it a QB is a multi-million dollar investment for any team owner and its hard to find a great one. So when a franchise happens to stumble on a great one (Romo Dallas, owners are going to do whatever it takes to protect them. Unless the QB is Mike Vick. Did anyone see that hit he took on the pass that White dropped. Talk about leading with the helment.
Posted: 4:30 PM   by Anonymous
Leave the Giants DE out of this discussion. He should have played till the whistle instead of stopping because he feared he might get flagged. Vince still had the ball and had he been focused on that he might have completed the sack instead of pulling up like he did. At the very least, keep your head up.
Posted: 4:31 PM   by Anonymous
Lets put a set of flags on the QB for flag football. Makes more since than the current rules
Posted: 5:21 PM   by Anonymous
There were two forced fumbles on Ben Roethlisberger when they faced the Chargers and The Steelers maintained possesion on both fumbles because of in the grasp. The Chaergers won, but if they wouldn't have it would have been a riot in the media. this "in the grasp" rule needs to go.
Posted: 5:22 PM   by Anonymous
Kiwanuka should have simply held on - there's no penalty for a late bear hug - then looked to see if he could strip the ball, if it was still there. That's good football play.

Remove the ridiculous slide rule (slide rules are anachronistic anyway) and allow the QB to ground the ball legally as long as the pass attempt reachs the line of scrimmage. If the QB doesn't throw it away and is trying to pick up yardage, then he must be just like an RB - willing to pay the price (take a hit) or cross into the sideline sanctuary.

That said, the unnecessary roughness penalty is *always* available to the referees judgment. Spearing a player - prone or upright - with the helmet, piledriving a player, etc. is a penalty irrespective of that player's position and should be flagged. Colliding as fast and as hard as possible, on the other hand, is, and has always been, part of the game.
Posted: 5:32 PM   by Anonymous
When did we start treating quarterbacks like sticks? These guys can take hits, too. Wide recievers are a lot of the time smaller than their QBs, and they can get DRILLED, but QBs can't, simply because they throw the ball? These guys can take hits. Look at Big Ben against the Ravens. All the hits and sacks he took from much larger guys, and he came out for ONE play. They can handle the hits, honestly. They're so well-padded and these guys are just as athletic as anyone else.
Posted: 3:01 PM   by Anonymous
I cannot agree more. Quarterbacks can run, juke, fake passes all to their advantage, but when the defender does his job, he gets flagged. If you don't want a quarterback to be touched at all, make them wear flags like they did in peewee league. If a defender gets the flag, they're down, and that's it. Hard helmet to helmet hits are one thing, and slamming a QB to the ground is wrong too, but this ticky tack crap needs to go.
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