Super Bowl LVII: Everyone hoping to avoid “rough” calls

Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 10:06 AM CST
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PHOENIX, Ari. (WBAY) - Here at Super Bowl LVII, Eagles fans and Chiefs fans (and all football fans alike) are cheering the same thing on Sunday night: for the game and the trophy to be decided by the players on the field, not the officials wearing zebra stripes.

And while a “sky judge” may be on the way to help on-field officiating, it’s not here yet. And there have been some questionable calls this year, and in the playoff. The hot-button topic has been roughing the passer.

“You never want officiating to a story in a game like this,” said NFL officiating analyst Dean Blandino. “And roughing the passer has been, although the number of calls has been down this year.”

“It is an eye sore, over isolated plays,” said fellow NFL officiating analyst Mike Pereira. “There were 153 (roughing the passer) that were called in 2021 and 93 in the 2022 season.”

“I think the sky judge is an interesting concept,” Blandino said. “I think there will always be examples of plays where you can see it should be corrected. And it will be easy to correct some of those. But for every one of those, there will be 50 or 100 where it’s not as obvious. We saw what happened with pass interference, making that reviewable in 2019. Didn’t go very well.”

“We are doing that in the USFL,” Pereira said. “We are reviewing all personal foul calls, not just roughing the passer. So it can be done. Problem is if you make roughing the passer reviewable, and you take the Chris Jones play. You take my favorite group of people, 50 drunks in a bar; 50 drunks in a bar didn’t think it was roughing the passer, but the league did. So if it goes into review and the league comes back and says, yes it is, the controversy still emerges.”

“You know roughing the passer is just one of those things where you just try to be cognizant of the rules every time you get to the quarterback,” said Eagles pass rusher Haason Reddick, who had 14 sacks this season. “I don’t know if there is a better way to do it or not.”

It remains to be seen, but we hope we don’t see it on Sunday night.