What’s Wrong with New NFL Roughing-the-Passer Rule

Ryan (Fuzz) French, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

We have all seen the effects of the new NFL rule. Packer fans witnessed this rule first hand, in weeks two and three of the NFL season. The roughing-the-passer rule now states that a defensive player cannot land with his body weight on top of a passer or it is a fifteen-yard penalty.

The rule used to say that a player cannot hit the passer after the ball has been thrown unless the player initiated the hit at a time the passer still had the ball. This new rule only protects one person on the field and sacrifices the entire play of another. The rule eliminates a defensive player’s reason to perform a correct, well-taught tackle on a quarterback.

This new rule is not only ridiculous, but also physically impossible for a defensive lineman or other player. When trying to sack a passer, defensive players have aiming points on the passer’s body.

Also this new rule would suggest defenders slow down and try to shift their entire body to the side in order not to hurt the passer. When you slow down to sack a quarterback, who is typically the most athletic player on the field, you tend to miss, and the quarterback gets free.

Another problem is when the initial hit is made, for the defensive player to shift his weight, he is more liable to land on the sensitive areas of the body. For example, Dolphins defensive lineman William Hayes tore his ACL because he landed on his knee trying to avoid a dreaded fifteen-yard penalty. Now because the NFL is trying to protect one player, they are risking the safety of others.

In my eyes the NFL is worrying more about the money than the actual players. Take the Packers, for example, with Aaron Rodgers out last season. There was a considerable loss in television ratings and game attendance after his injury. This would cause profits for teams and the league to go down.

Every year there is more than one quarterback who gets injured and the league wants to blame it on the defensive players. Maybe the league should teach the quarterback to throw it or maybe the offensive linemen and running backs how to block, instead of eliminating an entire defensive position on a passing play.