Commentary: NFL Using Matthews Hit as Example is Utterly Ridiculous

The National Football League has done it again.

Every time we think the NFL is going to do the right thing, they never do.  Such is the case today when they announced that they are going to use the roughing the passer penalty called on Green Bay as an example of what NOT to do when you tackle the quarterback.

As a reminder, Clay Matthews, the Packers leader on defense and one of the finest linebackers in the NFL, was flagged late in the game against the Vikings for roughing.  The penalty came on an interception by Green Bay that would have iced the game.  Instead, it was a game changer, as Minnesota went down to kick a field goal late that would lead to a tie.

Matthews hit the quarterback with his shoulder, but the NFL claims that he “drove” the QB into the ground.  Video evidence doesn’t come close to backing up that claim.  Now, the NFL — as a way to save face — is telling us they are going to use the video as a training tool.  Hogwash.  The NFL is covering their collective you-know-what because the blown call cost the Packers the game.

We have seen this kind of inconsistency from the NFL so many times, we are simply used to it.  In this case, though, the rule is meant to protect the quarterback from late hits, etc.  This play was a band-bang play that was a textbook tackle.  The truth is, plain and simple, the official who called the penalty blew it.

Players in both leagues have come out and said that the rules are so ambiguous that they have no idea how to play the game anymore.  A defensive back, running full speed, gets hit in the head by the running back lowering his helmet, and the DB gets flagged for targeting.  A common occurrence in today’s landscape.  Problem is ???  That same defensive back gets kicked out of the game, fined, and suspended.

Unless anyone is wondering, football is a Big Boy sport.  It is violent.  It is brash.  It is fast.  If you don’t want to get hit, there are plenty of sports you can choose that don’t allow you to get hit physically.  It is the nature of the beast in football and these ambiguous rules are killing the game.  Now, we have a situation where an interpretation of the rule — a wrong interpretation — cost a team a game.

The NFL would have been much better off just admitting it’s mistake.  By not doing so, they have told us again they are willing to deceive the fans instead of just telling us you made a mistake.

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