September 25, 2018 / 5:38 PM / 21 days ago

Jerry Jones, competition committee rip penalty enforcement

Ben Roethlisberger joined the brigade of players unclear on what constitutes roughing the passer.

Aug 30, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on the field before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

In the Pittsburgh Steelers’ win at Tampa on Monday, Roethlisberger benefitted from two roughing the passer penalties, a personal foul designed to protect quarterbacks and defined by the competition committee in March as a point of emphasis this season.

“I don’t want to criticize officiating, especially when you’re talking about a penalty that helps the quarterback out,” Roethlisberger said. “I was surprised at the first one. The second one I thought was legit, he hit me in the helmet. But there sure are a lot of them. I can’t imagine the fans at home are enjoying it too much.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the penalty is blurring the line of what he defined as a “man’s game.”

“The way I see our future is I see a real serious emphasis on youth football, amateur football. I see it reflected at the high school level. Then a step above that will be the collegiate level and I see a collegiate game that certainly has a lot of finesse in it but is a great game and makes these kinds of adjustments we’re talking about,” Jones said on 105.3 FM in Dallas on Tuesday.

“But when it comes to pro football, to use a boxing term, that’s when you put the 6-ounce gloves on. That’s when you don’t want to fight with those 10-ounce gloves or you don’t fight with those head gears. Everybody’s being really paid to go out and you’re paid a lot of money to go out and incur those type situations that have more risks in them. It’s real important that pro football distinguish itself as a very physical game relative to the game at college, relative to the game at high school and amateur. That’s very important.

Now where to find that balance, that’s one thing but when we get to a point in the future in time you’ll see pro football where they’ve put the 6-ounce gloves on and where the men are playing.”

NFL Network’s Judy Battista reported on Tuesday that members of the competition committee are not pleased with enforcement of the penalty. A call to discuss the rule and its impact on games is scheduled for next week.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday he asked the NFL for clarification on the rule — and how the league proposes coaching players pursuing the quarterback — for the third consecutive week. Linebacker Clay Matthews was flagged for roughing in each of the first three games.

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman blasted the league on Monday for going too far to protect quarterbacks, leaving defensive players underprotected.

Sherman was responding to news of Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes suffering a season-ending knee injury trying to avoid putting his body weight on Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

“They don’t care about the rest of us getting hurt. Long as the QB is safe,” Sherman wrote via Twitter.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said roughing calls are “out of control.”

—Field Level Media

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