NFL to re-evaluate 'roughing the passer' rule following Week 5 controversial calls

Last updated October 12, 2022

According to ESPN contributor Ed Werder, the NFL’s competition committee is planning to review the roughing-the-passer rule following two disputed calls in Week 5, in the games between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons and the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders.

The committee consists of six team owners and four head coaches, who make the most recommendations to change the rules. Teams are also allowed to propose rule changes, which require 24 votes from team owners for the changes to be granted.

An anonymous committee member said that the review would be helpful on roughing calls, although it was not certain if NFL would be interested in processing reviews based on personal fouls.

"Well, the hard part is that because we have no real standard for what roughing the passer looks like, we will always get a wide range of what a referee decides is and isn't a foul," the member said.

"The only way to correct that is to have a 'review process' for personal fouls. We may even have to do that for OPI (offensive pass interference) and DPI. These are huge fouls that impact and can change the game when the foul is or isn't called. I don't know if the powers that be would want that 'review process' for personal fouls or not, though."

The Association Press' Rob Maadi said that NFL owners would also discuss the rule change in New York next week. The league did not give any directive to enact rule changes this season following an incident involving Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa suffered a head injury in Week 4 during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals just after he suffered a concussion due to being hit by Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano in Week 3. The NFL then decided to make some improvements to its concussion protocols.

Criticism in issuing penalties for sacking quarterbacks

There have been reports of NFL defenders questioning how they should take down the opposing quarterbacks after two cases of roughing-the-passer warranting penalties over the weekend.

On Sunday, Atlanta Falcons defender Grady Jarrett was flagged by referee Jerome Bogger for sacking Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. Jarret received a penalty, which resulted in the Falcons losing 15-21 to the Buccaneers.

On Monday, Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones sacked Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr in the first half. The replays showed the sack was loose and Jones was able to recover, but referee Carl Cheffers issued a penalty for Jones regardless. Although the crowd didn’t take it well, the Chiefs still ended up winning in a close call by 30-29.

"The quarterback is in the pocket, and he's in a passing posture. He gets full protection of all the aspects of what we give the quarterback in a passing posture," Cheffers said.

"So, when he was tackled, my ruling was the defender landed on him with full body weight. The quarterback is protected from being tackled with full body weight. My ruling was roughing the passer for that reason."

Jones has nine records roughing the passer throughout his career. He said he might have a solution.

"We've got to be able to review it in the booth, you know what I mean?" Jones said. "I think that's the next step for the NFL as a whole. If we're going to call it a penalty at that high [of rate], then we've got to be able to review it and make sure, because sometimes looks can be deceiving."

The players are not the only ones who wonder what the defenders should do if they get to the quarterbacks in the backfield. Fans have been observed voicing their criticism, with one mentioning that the league needs a rule change in the defense area.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams is a sports gambling expert. He's been writing in the sports betting and DFS industry for over a decade. He specializes in MLB and NBA, along with College Basketball and College Football.