The theme of Week 5 was roughing the passer, and that’s never a good thing for the officials or fans of football.
Roughing the passer is always a judgement call, but more often than not officiating crews are making such a decision on a play with very little contact.
Before jumping to conclusions, though, what exactly is roughing the passer? The following is straight from the NFL rulebook:
"“Because the act of passing often puts the quarterback (or any other player attempting a pass) in a position where he is particularly vulnerable to injury, special rules against roughing the passer apply. The Referee has principal responsibility for enforcing these rules. Any physical acts against a player who is in a passing posture (i.e. before, during, or after a pass) which, in the Referee’s judgment, are unwarranted by the circumstances of the play will be called as fouls.”"
That definition is incredibly vague, and leaves plenty of room for interpretation. That’s part of the problem, however.
Giving officials so much responsibility and power leads to a misinterpretation of the rule. That is the NFL’s issue, and the only way to fix it is to come up with a clear definition of the rule or, perhaps, give players a little more leeway.
NFL Week 5: 3 worst calls of the week
The Jets dared to tackle Matt Ryan.
This is the second straight week Ryan has appeared on our list, making it all the more concerning from a fan point of view. If you’re playing the Falcons, expect a free 15 yards to be handed to them at some point. It likely won’t be timely, and on third down. Enjoy!
Sure, it’s the Jets. They probably wouldn’t have won anyway. But New York has been strangely competitive of late and, in London, could’ve pulled off a surprise. Who knows?
That is egregious, and our friends overseas likely have no idea why. Don’t worry, I am here to tell you!
Ryan let go of the ball as soon as he was hit. There was no late tackle. The Jets defender did, unfortunately, land on Ryan…but what is he supposed to do to avoid that? The shield has yet to provide a clear answer to that question.