REPORT: NFL Considering Significant Change To Controversial ‘Roughing The Passer’ Rule

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Aside from the dreaded pass interference call or debating on what is a catch in the NFL, one of the most controversial rules in the league is easily the ‘roughing the passer’ penalty.

It reared its ugly head several times last season, which included one of the worst when Lions defender Tracy Walker rushed on a corner blitz to get what looked like a textbook sack on Kirk Cousins.

According to Judy Battista of NFL Media, the owners may vote to implement replay review for roughing the passer calls such as the one seen above. Even if it passes, we have already seen a replay system flame out in one year after the league scratched the pass interference replay rule.

Via NFL:

“Issues with roughing calls date back to when the rule itself was amended to include a flag if a player landed on top of a quarterback as he hit the ground, which came as a result of Aaron Rodgers suffering a broken collarbone in an early-season game against Minnesota when he was taken to the ground by linebacker Anthony Barr. Routine sacks, once celebrated by many, became danger zones for defenses looking for a big play and instead giving the offense a chunk of yards and a new set of downs. Never was the rolling-off tackle more important than during this time.

Such a change to include replay would seemingly muddy the waters at first if pass interference replay is any indicator, but might also bring long-term clarity to a rule that has become significantly more nitpicked by officials since the aforementioned body-weight amendment. There have been more than a few questionable roughing calls (see: Browns vs. Jets in Week 16), and it might be helpful to the flow of the game to start getting these right, even if it takes an additional minute or two.”

According to, the league will also consider reverting back to sudden-death overtime rules and offering an alternate onside kick option.