It’s no secret that the new, and stricter, roughing the passer rule has already impacted the overall game of NFL football. The rule basically goes: you cannot drive through or land on the quarter back, or else it’s an automatic 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty.
The first Sunday of the season started off with Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns being hit with the penalty on a seemingly clean, within-regulation hit on Ben Roethlisberger, a historically difficult QB to take down. Did Garrett actually break the new rule? That’s a matter of opinion. Regardless, the rule has been changing field position and affecting the ultimate outcomes of drives ever since. Not to mention the seemingly wide range of discretion that referees use to determine the penalty.
The NFL could easily avoid all of these issues surrounding the new rule – at a time of controversy after controversy for the NFL. Obviously, there is no simple fix or cure all for this bad penalty-calling disease that so commonly plagues sports officials everywhere, but the NFL should try creating a strike zone rule such that a player can only directly hit the quarter back from the thighs up to the shoulders. The tackler should wrap and roll the quarter back, just as players have drilled since pop warner, all the way through high school and college on the pop-up dummy and heavy bags drill.
As a 5-foot-4-inch 125-pound former corner back myself, I was forced to use this technique much more often than the average-sized player, just as most other smaller players must.
Just look at this YouTube video for historical proof of a whole team utilizing this form at the highest level. That being said, to argue that one can’t learn to successfully utilize this form of tackling as a primary tackling is incorrect.
Maybe the NFL Referees Association will see this article and give it a try next pre-season. Until then, remember not to take it out on the TV when your team fails to stop their opponent on the game-losing drive because of the 15-yard roughing the passer penalty that puts the opponent in to field goal range.
Instead, take it out on these guys.