The NFL’s new roughing the passer rule, introduced this year, has been faced with a lot of controversy from the fans of the game.
The rule prohibits players from landing on top of the quarterback with most or all of theirbody weight and unnecessarily driving the quarterback into the ground. It has caused 38 penalties already through week four of the season.
By changing the rule, the owners and the league hope to reduce injuries, especially of their quarterbacks. “This was a move from the owners in order to secure the assets of their quarterback,” said Tim Sibbel, who previously played football in high school.
The NFL has changed into an offensive game. The new roughing the passer rule protects players like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. The big name players are how the league makes their money and this new rule ensures that.
The NFL has had to change the way football is being played to ensure the safety of the league’s players. The players have gotten stronger, faster, and bigger over recent years. The requirement for more pads and safer helmets has become a necessity. “Linebackers now weigh what the lineman used to weigh years ago,” stated Daryl Klocke, my dad, who has never played football but is an avid fan of the NFL.
The demand for bodily preservation goes back decades. Defenders were able to drive quarterbacks into the ground or make blind-side tackles to the head for hope of injury.
The defenders have had to change their whole style of playing. Fans no longer see the big hits that make them cringe. Instead, they see players dodge out of the way or have missed tackles so they aren’t penalized for targeting.
It has become harder for the defense of teams to become the deciding factor in games. Defenses are playing softer so they don’t hurt their teams chance so winning the game. “The quarterbacks now have more time in the pocket because the players don’t want to be penalized for a late hit or roughing the passer,” stated Madison LeGrand, devoted fan of the Vikings.
Players have tried to adjust their style of tackling, but are unsure how to do so. Giants linebacker B.J. Goodson told Sports Illustrated, “It’s best just to err on the side of aggression and let the refs be decision-makers.”
Many games have been largely affected by the call. In week two, the Green Bay Packers played the Minnesota Vikings. With nearly two minutes left in the game, Clay Matthews hit Kirk Cousins right when he released the football. Matthews was penalized for roughing the passer. The Vikings scored that drive to go into overtime and tying.
Matthews told Tim Laden of Sports Illustrated about the Cousins hit, “I have so many emotions running through as far as what a terrible call it was,” he said. “You tell me. Did I put pressure on him? I thought I hit him within his waist to chest; I got my head across, put my hands down. . . I feel like I did the right thing to influence the game. I’m trying to bite my tongue, but I obviously don’t agree with [the call].”
It does not ensure the safety of the defensive players either. Miami Dolphins defensive lineman, William Hayes, was injured trying to abide by the new roughing the passer rule. Instead he tore his ACL and will be out the remainder of the season.
The new rule has sparked a lot of uproar from coaches, players, and commentators of the NFL. Many believe the rule should be changed or at the very least more consistent. LeGrand stated, “It’s frustrating to watch the games with penalties deciding the outcome.” She continued, “The majority of the body weight part of the rule should be taken out unless a player intends to hurt the quarterback.”