We already know that the NFL will call roughing the passer whether it is or is not, actually, roughing the passer. NFL EVP of Football Operations Troy Vincent recently said as much after controversial roughing calls against Chris Jones of the Chiefs and Grady Jarrett of the Faocons.
“We support those calls,” Vincent said during an October 16 appearance on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. “Why? Because in Article 11 [of the rulebook], this is the one rule – and we have a ton of rules – where the judgment you give the referee, that white hat, is the latitude to call that play in real time. If that’s what both Carl and Jerome in those two particular games, if that’s what they saw, the rule allows us to say yes to support it.”
NFL Executive VP Troy Vincent joined Sunday NFL Countdown to discuss the recent controversy surrounding roughing the passer calls: pic.twitter.com/pmV725VmK8
— ESPN (@espn) October 16, 2022
Vincent also said that quarterbacks drive ratings, and that’s why the NFL is going to protect the quarterback. With that, the NFL finally said the quiet part out loud.
There is also a codicil in the NFL Rule Book which states that “When in doubt about a roughness call or potentially dangerous tactic against the passer, the Referee should always call roughing the passer.”
On Sunday, two beleaguered quarterbacks were bailed out of horrible interceptions by specious roughing the passer calls.
First, there was Mac Jones of the Patriots, who saw this pick-six by Jets cornerback Michael Carter called back after a highly suspicious roughing call on defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 30, 2022
And then, soon after, Bears quarterback Justin Fields was saved on this Trevon Diggs interception after defensive end Chauncey Golston.
Trevon Diggs’ INT was wiped out because of this roughing the passer penalty on Chauncey Golston pic.twitter.com/N8aa25gKpK
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 30, 2022
Whether these actions actually constitute roughing the passer is irrelevant. The NFL has said outright that it will use this infraction to edge things in the quarterback’s direction at all times, so these outcomes are ideal for the league. It’s also why there’s no point in making roughing the passer a reviewable call, because the league is going to tell the officials that any roughing the passer call is the right call.