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It’s been nearly impossible to watch the NFL in 2018 without seeing a roughing the passer penalty called at some point during a game. Through the first two weeks of action the league’s referees called 21 such penalties, a record number for the first two weeks. Week three saw 13 more called, including four on Monday night.
Mike Pereira–the NFL’s former VP of Officiating turned rules analyst for Fox Sports–joined Gary & Larry to talk about officiating this week. Larry asked Pereira about the new roughing the passer rule and Pereira did not hold back.
“To be sitting in the booth (Sunday) with Joe and Troy, and standing next to Troy – there’s actually anger,” Pereira told Larry. “There’s anger. And I’m not talking about players here, I’m talking about like Joe and Troy. They are angry at the types of calls that are being made.
“And (Sunday) in the Seattle game we had a little bit of a shove down after the pass was thrown. And it was called roughing the passer. And Troy’s comment on air was, ‘I’m done with this. I’m through with talking about roughing the passer.’ Joe comes to me after and says, ‘I’ve been watching this game for 20 or 25 years and that’s not roughing the passer. And really, I think the league has lost all credibility.”
The NFL says they’re implementing the changes for player safety after public concern has grown in recent years about the health risks of playing in the NFL. Current players have been vocal about some of these changes–including the new roughing the passer rules–saying the league has gone too far with. Pereira agrees.
“I talked to one member of the competition committee Sunday,” Pereira said. “Talked to one prominent (member) that used to be and no longer is, and they made a point of emphasis about roughing the passer this year. But the point of emphasis was driving the quarterback into the ground and landing on him with most of all of your body weight.
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) September 16, 2018
“It was not what we saw with the Clay Matthews hit on Cousins the week before. And this member told me he polled six members of the competition committee and none of them think that play was a foul, and every one of them thinks the league has pushed the needle too far in the direction of the protection of the passer.
“When the league came out last week and publicly defended Tony Corrente’s call of roughing the passer by Clay Matthews and they sent it out to the clubs saying that this is a foul because he pulled and scooped the quarterback, they lost all credibility. And they didn’t fine Matthews by the way because really to me they knew it wasn’t a foul.”
You can listen to Mike Pereira’s full interview with Gary and Larry in the podcast player below. Larry’s question about new roughing the passer rules starts around the 4:50 mark: