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Film Study: Hate the new roughing the passer rule, not the men enforcing it

Fans should realize the issue shouldn’t be with the refs, but with the rules in general.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

NFL fans are confused and frustrated by the roughing the passer rule of landing on a quarterback with all the defender’s weight. This was one of the adopted rules by the competition committee which flew under the radar this offseason, but has reared its head early in the 2018 season. The rule was implemented due to Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr crushing Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, resulting in a broken collarbone during 2017.

Implementing the rule is intended to prevent defensive players from landing on the quarterback with all their weight hoping to reduce injuries to the most valuable position in the NFL. Unfortunately, the rule did not get much press in the offseason and many fans were not aware of it being implemented.

Steelers fans need to understand the penalties Monday did not subsequently lead to points for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — the same penalty helped the Steelers against the Cleveland Browns.

The refs flagged Pittsburgh for two roughing the passer penalties during the Tampa Bay game but fans forget the team was also the beneficiary Week 1. With no score early in the second quarter, Ben Roethlisberger rolled out and threw the ball away. After the release Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett crashed into Big Ben driving him into the turf and landing on top with all his weight. The action resulted in a penalty which resulted in a first down giving the Steelers a fresh set of downs. The next play James Conner capitalized with an easy touchdown. Without the penalty, the Steelers would have had to settle for a field goal changing the dynamics of the game.

Unlike the Browns game, the two penalties did not have a direct effect to the score. The drives where Sean Davis and Stephon Tuitt committed the penalties ended with interceptions. Even though the Bucs did not draw blood, the plays drew the inaccurate ire of Steelers fans. Both plays are being flagged consistently around the NFL. Tuitt and Davis landing on Ryan Fitzpatrick mirror the hit from Garrett. Are Steeler fans frustrated with the Black and Gold amassing a league-leading 13 personal foul penalties in 2017 along with leading the NFL with five so far this season or are fans just not understanding the new rule?

The rule was implemented to protect the most important position in the NFL — like it or not. Quarterbacks are the reason 80,000 fans pack into stadiums around the NFL in all weather during fall and winter. The NFL is trying to keep those key cogs on the field and fans need to understand the rules that try to safeguard them. Fans need to embrace the rule until it is changed but Steelers fans need to remember that the rule change has helped the team more than the rule has hurt their beloved team. It is now up to Pittsburgh’s coaching staff to instruct players to avoid such flags. How will players avoid doing so and not hurting themselves? (Miami Dolphins defensive end, William Hayes tore his ACL avoiding such a penalty during Week 3.)