We won’t truly know the extent and frequency at which NFL referees will call unnecessary roughness and helmet-to-helmet penalties until the regular season begins. There could be a chance officials are trying to set the tone and their expectations early in meaningless games so that players will be more cautious come Week 1. Or, the NFL really will have a year-long issue where penalties that shouldn’t have been called are now the norm. Exhibit A: This “roughing the passer” foul on Vikings defender Antwione Williams.
I mean, what else was Williams supposed to do here to secure the tackle?
Voices around the NFL blamed the quarterback for flopping on this one to draw the call.
This is an extremely bad roughing the passer call. The QBs body movements after he got hit made it seem like the defender pile drives him. He didn’t. Not close pic.twitter.com/ARo416cVLZ
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) August 18, 2018
Player safety will always be at the forefront, but keeping the integrity of the game intact will also be a challenge for the league moving forward. Thus far, it doesn’t seem like the NFL has gotten it right yet.