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NFL to consider (very bad idea of) making roughing the passer reviewable

NFL: OCT 13 Seahawks at Browns Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you thought the implementation of the pass interference replay system was garbage (and it was), I cannot imagine you’ll like reading this news.

The NFL is considering a rule change for the 2021 season that would see roughing the passer penalties reviewable, according to NFL Network’s Judy Battista. This potential change would be discussed during the Annual League Meeting at the end of the month.

Now consideration is not implementation, so let’s not be too worried about this. There are undeniably some ridiculous roughing the passer calls and others that are missed. Unfortunately, there are plenty of soft calls that are “letter of the law” correct that are likely not going to be overturned on review, which would draw the ire of fans just like the ill-fated pass interference reviews did in 2019.

You may recall that when pass interference was available for both booth review and challenge, the call on the field was upheld an overwhelming majority of the time. It is hard to imagine NFL coaches faring any better if they are able to challenge roughing the passer. If it’s exclusively booth review I’m not even sure it’ll end up as a net positive.

There are many valid gripes about the application of roughing the passer penalties. How subjective is the “body weight” rule? What about an incidental helmet shot even if it’s minimal contact?

So while I’d like to see clear and obvious calls (or non-calls) corrected, the pass interference debacle has me totally uninterested in parsing the rulebook further with more reviews that just chop up the flow of the game.