If you thought the roughing the passer controversy from Sunday’s Packers-Vikings game would come and go with the 24-hour news cycle, you might be disappointed to hear the latest on the situation.
In the least shocking news you’ll read about today, the NFL not only stood by referee Tony Corrente’s call on Clay Matthews during Sunday’s contest, but also said the video of the play would be included in a teaching video sent to teams by the league.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Network first reported Monday afternoon that the main emphasis of the video would be the “scoop and pull” tactic, which is what the league is citing in the case of Matthews’ illegal hit. According to the league, the act of “grabbing the passer from behind the leg(s), scooping and pulling in an upward motion” is considered a foul.
Of course, the news was met with yet another wave of criticism from fans and reporters alike, who pointed to the ever-shrinking “strike zone” afforded to defensive players when tackling the quarterback, and, oh yeah—the fact that Matthews didn’t appear to use the “scoop and pull” on the play in question.
Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino, both of whom formerly served in the role of Vice President of Officiating for the NFL, also seemed to disagree with not only the league’s assessment of the situation, but also the general direction in which the enforcement of such plays is headed.
It’s fairly clear the NFL is looking to change the way the game is played, and if things keep heading down the current path, it seems likely they’ll succeed in that mission.
In the meantime, NFL fans will continue to delay celebration on any play where a defender comes in contact with the quarterback as they wait to see whether or not a flag was thrown, and players will tread lightly for fear of costing their team 15 yards.
Top photo: Benny Sieu/USA Today sports