NFL seems unlikely to change roughing the passer rules

Many fans, media, and observers believe the NFL’s officials have been overly aggressive when it comes to calling roughing the passer. As the Competition Committee prepares to make its annual proposals to ownership for rule changes, it seems likely that, when it comes to calling roughing the passer, nothing will change.

Via Judy Battista of NFL Network, the Competition Committee has looked at 80 roughing the passer plays. The Committee found that only three were “questionable.”

Only three? And just “questionable”?

The message is clear. They ain’t changing shit.

Sorry to be so blunt and coarse. But the truth continues to be, as NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent explained it on ESPN in October, that the league places a premium on keeping quarterbacks healthy. If that means tolerating “questionable” roughing the passer calls, so be it.

Once again, the biggest problem with the rule — one that rarely if ever gets mentioned beyond the borders of this website and the weekday show carrying its name — is that the rulebook specifically requires referees to call roughing the passer if there’s any doubt regarding whether roughing happened.

Not everyone connected to the game is fine with doing nothing. Per multiple reports, one team has proposed making roughing the passer reviewable.

But even if it’s subject to replay review, the standard will be whether it’s clear and obvious that the ruling on the field was wrong. And given that the rule expressly requires a flag to be thrown “when In doubt,” when would it ever be “clear and obvious” that there was no doubt about whether roughing happened?

Bottom line? Nothing is changing. The league would rather deal with periodic criticism arising from phantom roughing calls than risk not having starting quarterbacks available to play in high-profile games.

It’s all about keeping the quarterbacks healthy. And if that means flagging players for roughing when roughing hasn’t happened, it’s a risk worth assuming. Because it’s better than assuming the risk of quarterbacks getting hit hard, and then getting hurt.

NFL seems unlikely to change roughing the passer rules originally appeared on Pro Football Talk