The NFL is Ruining a Great Sport

On September 24, 2018, in NFL, by Stephen

By Stephen Nover

Clay Matthews broke free through the Redskins offensive line on Sunday and did what he has done 80 times before in the NFL: He sacked the quarterback. Matthews wrapped up Alex Smith and brought him down. He didn’t hit Smith with his helmet, nor slam him down with any undue violent force. In the football world I was broughtt up in it was a perfect tackle, one that would have your coach yelling, “Way to go, great play.”

One official didn’t see it that way. He flagged Matthews for roughing the passer. Packers coach MIke McCarthy had to be held back from perhaps physically attacking the referee after seeing Matthews penalized. The previous week Matthews had also been called for roughing the passer on a similar tackle, which in years past never would have been even thought of as a penalty. That highly-questionable call wiped out a potentially game-sealing interception by the Packers in their 29-29 tie with the Vikings.

Matthews has played for 10 NFL seasons. He’s a potential Hall of Famer. Prior to this season, he had been called just four times for roughing the passer. He’s never been considered a dirty player.

A short while later in the 49ers-Chiefs game, Jimmy Garoppolo took off on a run heading for the sidelines. He was whacked hard – helmet to helmet – by Steven Nelson in what looked to be a sure penalty on Nelson. No flag was thrown as Garoppolo was taken off the field injured. Backup 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard came in and threw a beautiful short touchdown pass to tight end George Kittle in the corner of the end zone. Flag. It didn’t count because one official determined another 49er had committed pass interference. I saw the replay several times. I didn’t see any interference. Neither did the announcer, nor probably anyone else except this one referee. It was an absolute bogus call.

The NFL has majors problems. But more than head injuries, nathional anthem controversies and union issues, the league is going downhill by inconsistent officiating crews. Some call things one way. Others don’t. There is no consistency. There are too many rules interpretations now regarding what and what doesn’t constitute a legal tackle.

I understand helmet-to-helmet. I get horse collar and clothesline type of tackles. I can see launching hits to the head. What I don’t follow – and never will – is textbook tackles being called penalties. Mess with this, as the NFL is doing, by going way overboard with their instructions and rules to over protect quarterbacks and you have ruined a great game.

The NFL is messing with this. Games aren’t nearly as fun to watch because there is no consistency among officiating crews. Everytime there is an incomplete pass you have to hold your breath if you’re pulling for the team on defense to see if a flag is going to come down for pass interference – whether it happened or not. Now the same is happening for any sack. It’s getting to be way too much.

You can try to regulate the game to make it safer, but you can’t change and ruin the game to make that happen. The NFL is doing that and it’s going to cost them if they insist on taking this path.


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