SportsPulse: Week 3 provided plenty of upsets and upset defensive players as the roughing the passer controversy reared its ugly head once again. Trysta Krick is here to overreact to it all.
Defensive players have repeatedly questioned the implementation of the NFL’s roughing-the-passer rule so far this season.
And on Monday night, a quarterback even decided to join the fray.
When asked in his postgame news conference Monday about the frequency of roughing calls in 2018, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told reporters that he believes the penalties are having an adverse effect on television viewers, slowing down the game and making it more difficult to watch.
“There are sure a lot of them,” Roethlisberger said. “I can’t imagine the fans at home are enjoying it too much.”
Roethlisberger was the benefactor of two roughing-the-passer calls during Monday night’s 30-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while the Steelers’ defense was also flagged twice. According to ESPN, the four roughing calls were tied for the most in a single game since 2001.
Roethlisberger told reporters that he thought only one of the two roughing flags against the Buccaneers was warranted.
“I don’t want to criticize the officiating, especially when you’re talking about a penalty that helps the quarterback out. But I was surprised at the first one,” he said. “The second one I thought was legit. He hit me in the helmet. It was kind of like hearing that loud ring when your helmet gets hit.”
The roughing-the-passer flags have become one of the major themes of the NFL season thus far, as the league has renewed its emphasis on protecting quarterbacks. Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, who has twice been penalized on questionable calls, said the NFL is throwing flags on “football (plays)” and interpreting the rule too broadly.
“I think they’re getting soft,” Matthews said of the NFL over the weekend. “The only thing hard about this league is the fines that they levy down on guys like me that play the game hard.”
Contact Tom Schad at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.