NFL owners will consider proposal to make roughing the passer reviewable

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By Amit


INDIANAPOLIS — NFL team owners will consider a proposal to make roughing-the-passer calls reviewable by instant replay.

One team has made such a proposal, said Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations. He did not identify the team.

“I think there’s one club proposal for that,” he said Sunday as league representatives and members of the competition committee began their annual offseason rule-change deliberations at the scouting combine.

The committee will review the proposal Monday, Vincent said. The proposal, unless it’s withdrawn, will be considered by the owners for possible ratification at the annual league meeting next month in Phoenix. It would need to be approved by at least 24 of the 32 teams to be enacted.

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The proposal does not require the endorsement of the competition committee to be considered by the owners. But support from the committee generally improves the chances of a proposal being ratified by the owners. In this case, it appears unlikely that the committee will endorse making roughing the passer reviewable.

The competition committee generally is wary of making such judgment calls subject to replay, citing the NFL’s failed experiment with making pass interference reviewable during the 2019 season. The league and owners dropped the system in 2020.

Vincent said the committee reviewed about 80 plays Sunday involving roughing-the-passer calls and non-calls — and found only three of them to have been officiated in a questionable fashion.

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The committee also had a discussion about whether it’s appropriate to allow offensive players to push the quarterback forward on quarterback sneaks. That is legal and was used by some teams with increasing regularity this past season. The Philadelphia Eagles, in particular, used that technique often on sneaks by Jalen Hurts.

The conversation about that play will continue at the league meeting, Vincent said.

“It was interesting,” he said. “We’re going to have to return to that one when we get to Arizona. … You know the inevitable is going to happen: Someone is going to get injured. … I just said: ‘You know what? We don’t need to make this decision today. Let’s take this to Arizona. Let’s allow the committee to think on it a little bit more.’ ”

The competition committee’s meeting Monday will include consideration of several safety issues, Vincent said. That includes studying whether to make hip-drop tackles — such as those that resulted in ankle injuries for Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes during the playoffs — illegal.

The committee also will scrutinize the high injury rate on special teams plays. League leaders have said they would like to identify ways to make punt plays safer.

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