Good Idea Or Bad Idea: Reviewing Roughing The Passer

Good Idea Or Bad Idea: Reviewing Roughing The Passer | Sports Takes & News |

The talk around the NFL this week was how the league may introduce an opportunity to review roughing the passer penalties. Those against it are reminding us of the disaster it was to have pass interference be subject to review in 2019, and those for it are pointing out the amount of game changing calls that happened last year that changed wins to losses. So, it is a good idea or a bad idea for roughing the passer calls and non-calls to be subject to replay review?

As reported by Judy Batista of, the league is considering adding a replay review rule to add roughing the passer calls and non-calls for the 2021 season.

My first reaction when seeing this story was two-fold.

First, the replay review must be designed to have a roughing the passer call not affect the outcome of the game unless the flag is legitimate.

Second, this rule is going to be an attempt to deter quarterbacks from drawing penalties by flopping in the backfield after a pass or in some other way fake that they were hit late in order to get some free yardage and a first down, a charge that many QBs faced last year. (Looking at you Russell Wilson!)

Another problem with any new addition to replay is something that came up last year, the assumption the system makes that the call on the field “stands” without any evidence to overturn it. Unless and until someone is reviewing any play with an open mind and not a preconceived notion, the replay system will always be flawed, with a roughing the passer call being the latest addition to that vastly imperfect system.

There is some talk of a “Sky Judge” that will watch the game from inside the stadium and have access to every single television camera angle, and who will have the power to fix missed judgement calls like roughing the passer without a coach’s challenge. 

The time has come for the NFL to declare who is and isn’t qualified to make game-changing judgement calls during a game. Either it’s the officials on the field, or it will be someone else in the stadium or in New York watching the game on a monitor smaller than most of our televisions. If it is the officials on the field, then the NFL needs to leave them alone and let the game be called; and if that means adding more officials to each crew, then so be it.

If the game has become too fast for those in the zebra shirts on the field, then let people watching the game make the calls or be able to overrule any call made from their catbird seat; an option that will make those on the field less likely to throw the flag, and forever change the game of football.

The reviewing of roughing the passer penalties can be a good or a bad idea depending upon how the NFL implements the rule, how it is used by coaches and enforced by the officials overseeing the games next season. For me, the less replay I see the better; but in today’s world with everyone watching the game and the networks always looking to post clips on social media of controversial calls, we are moving towards having more replay, not less in our football lives.

With this idea already being talked about in early March, I would expect to see it installed for the 2021 season or soon thereafter, which means the NFL will need to come up with a way to make things better, not worse by adding replay review to roughing the passer calls and non-calls. Otherwise all we will be doing is turning football into basketball, with every stoppage in play becoming a time to watch replays and see if any calls were missed, something that doesn’t sound like much fun to me. 


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Good Idea Or Bad Idea: Reviewing Roughing The Passer |

The post Good Idea Or Bad Idea: Reviewing Roughing The Passer appeared first on TOOATHLETIC TAKES.


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