NFL admits ref was wrong to flag Myles Garrett for roughing Ben Roethlisberger

Michael David Smith
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett was flagged for a hit on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday that the NFL now says was legal.

NFL V.P. of Officiating Al Riveron told NFL Network that Garrett did not land with most of his body weight on Roethlisberger and shouldn’t have been flagged.

“The rule specifically says ‘most, if not all, of your body weight,'” Riveron said. “So we want that player to make an effort. And the last three or four weeks, we have pulled extensive video to show the clubs exactly what we’re talking about, and we probably last week showed 5-to-1 or 6-to-1 of legal hits, or legal contact, as opposed to illegal contact. Because the question we get all the time is, well, what do you want our players to do? Well, they have to not put the weight on the quarterback. And this one [on Garrett] yesterday showed, even though there is some body weight on Ben, this is not what we would consider contact that rises to the level of a foul.”

There are questions, however, about whether defenders can ever really refrain from putting most of their body weight on a quarterback they’re sacking — and whether officials can judge whether a player has put most of his body weight on the quarterback. This new rule is going to be a hard one to call consistently, and it was called wrong on Sunday in Cleveland.

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