Ravens fans’ gripe du jour with the NFL officials is the roughing the passer flag on Terrell Suggs. The call has been widely panned as atrocious, and it will be interesting to see how the NFL tries to explain it away. They may just ignore it and hope the whole thing goes away (the call was THAT bad) but there are some extraordinary circumstances around the call that may force them to address it, at least in some fashion.
First, let’s take a look at the hit that drew the flag:
Ball still in quarterback’s hand, defender already falling forward, takes QB to ground fairly innocently, as far as sacks go. To compare, this hit on Vince Young by the Pittsburgh Steelers drew NO penalty:
A hit that would make WWE fans proud, but that’s just “tough Steeler football,” when it’s them. Unfortunately, Suggs has built himself a reputation (however unfairly) of being a guy that the refs have to watch out for around the quarterback. If you remember, it was his roughing flag in the 2008 Tennessee game (barely brushed Kerry Collins’ helmet) that allowed the Titans to continue their game-winning drive, and of course we all recall Brady-gate from last year’s Patriots game.
Now, what about those “extraordinary circumstances” mentioned earlier?
Well, the league would set quite a precedent if they decide NOT to fine John Harbaugh for his forcible explanation to the official of exactly where how “strike zone” is defined for an NFL defender attempting to record a sack…
Atta boy, John! Next time forgo the niceties though, and just deck the guy across the chin.
As Harbaugh said after the game:
“It’s hard for us to determine right now what roughing the passer is,” Harbaugh said. “If that’s roughing the passer, I don’t know how you are supposed to bring Carson Palmer or any other 250-pound passer down other than to tackle him.
“We hit him in the strike zone and took him to the ground. There were plenty of other times we couldn’t get him to the ground. It takes effort to get the guy to the ground. He’s a strong man. They (the NFL) are going to have to explain that to all of us this week and maybe we can figure it out.”
Well, what exactly would make Harbaugh say that Palmer is a strong guy who is tough to get to the ground? Perhaps plays like this one, from earlier in the game?
So, to be clear…to register a legal sack on Carson Palmer (or any QB), a defender has to hit him a bit harder than Jarrett Johnson did in the above clip, but not QUITE as hard as Sizzle did, OR pick him up and bodyslam him into the turf? Got that, Ravens defenders? Jeez, how hard is that…
Anyway, this post isn’t meant to say “the refs cost us the game.” Its more of a “they are TERRIBLE at their jobs,” which is indisputable at this point, from any fan base. I have no doubt that Jets fans could go back and do this same thing regarding pass interference calls from last Monday’s game. And then of course there are Lions fans, who couldn’t catch a break if Jim Schwartz’s skunk-goatee depended on it.
Please, NFL, while you’re negotiating the next collective bargaining agreement, include a clause that makes officials full-time employees of the league. This is pathetic for the biggest sport in the country.