By Liam Day
At the start of the 2018 NFL season, commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL officiating crew introduced a newly approached Roughing the Passer penalty. Originally, the call would only be enforced when a defensive player hit the quarterback late (after he had thrown the ball), aimed
a tackle at the head, or hit below knee level. The new change requires a defensive player to avoid, “landing on top of a quarterback with his full, or most, of his body weight”, said the NFL rules committee. Throughout the first nine weeks of the season, this call has caused a ton of controversy.
In the first three weeks, there had been 34 roughing the passer calls—three against Clay Matthews, who has drawn controversial flags in the past two games. Just 16 roughing calls had been called league-wide at the same point of the 2017 season. Despite the drastic change, the NFL rules committee has informed the league that they will continue to make the calls as they were made through the first six weeks "to ensure consistency in officiating the rule.” The main problem players have faced when this call is in play is landing on top of a quarterback after making a tackle prior or immediately after the ball has left his hands.
The rippling effect of this rule could eventually bring this change to high school football. Senior linebacker Sam Alsheimer disagrees with the new rule, saying that “...it’s honestly pathetic. I would hope they wouldn't do the same for High School football.” Additionally, it isn't a surprise that defensive players in high school would be against this rule, but even players that would often be positively affected by the call still disagree with it. For example, Sophomore cornerback Trisden Bovello says, “I don't think quarterbacks in highschool are hit hard enough for the rule to be relevant. I also think it being a rule in the NFL is awful.” Overall, the Glenelg football team isn't in favor of having this NFL rule change applied to high school football.
With this new change, the NFL has taken a controversial step towards making safety a top priority in the league. NFL fans have started to fear the future of the league and how it may take away the aggressiveness of how the game is played. Additionally, since a ripple effect could result in the change being officiated in high school football as well, the issue of “roughing” the passer will continue to spark controversy until some sort of change takes place.