Competition committee to look at roughing the passer penalties

Clay Matthews

The NFL's competition committee has grown uncomfortable with the league's stricter roughing the passer rules, but are unsure if amendments will be made this season, according to NFL Network's Judy Battista. After four roughing the passer calls in the Steelers' 30-27 victory over the Buccaneers Monday night - the most in an National Football League game since 2001 - Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger noted, "There are sure a lot of them". Obviously the one that's been called a lot the first few weeks is the roughing the passer.

"There's some concern that the officials are going a little bit too far with some of these calls", one of the sources said.

"It was not what we saw with the Clay Matthews hit on Cousins the week before". The NFL says that rule has been on the books since 1995 (Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9) and that it made it a point of emphasis this season after hearing complaints from coaching staffs that it wasn't being enforced.

"I think it's really hard on officials to make the right call". As long as it remains legal to tackle the quarterback to the ground, there will be no way to sustain a fair game with these guidelines implemented for this year.

"When the league came out last week and publicly defended Tony Corrente's call of roughing the passer by Clay Matthews and they sent it out to the clubs saying that this is a foul because he pulled and scooped the quarterback, they lost all credibility". Referee Craig Wrolstad said, with the league office's subsequent backing, that Matthews's hit on Smith violated this season's directive by the competition committee prohibiting a defender from landing on a quarterback with most or all of his body weight.

Players, coaches and fans have been critical of many of those penalties.

"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", Roethlisberger said. I like the spirit of the rule.

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