The first half of the 2018 NFL season’s inaugural game between the Eagles and Falcons had more penalties (16) than points (9), so things were already off to an abysmal start. Then, the dumb new “no body weight on the QB” rule made an appearance.
With under two minutes to go in the second quarter, Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was the first player of the regular season to get a roughing the passer penalty, apparently because he didn’t float away after knocking over Eagles quarterback Nick Foles:
What else can Jarrett do here? There’s no way that anyone who actually played football, watched football, or knows anything about physics, had any say in the creation of this new rule. The rule was introduced in response to Aaron Rodgers’s broken collarbone last season, but Anthony Barr’s hit was more unlucky than malicious. Not only is the new language unnecessary, but it’s seemingly impossible to follow given how officials are interpreting it. The NFL is demanding defensive players to pull out of a hit once contact is made with a quarterback so they don’t drive the precious cargo into the ground.
The rule’s first notable appearance was in the preseason, when Vikings linebacker Antwione Williams was flagged and subsequently fined $20,054 for a fourth-quarter hit on Jaguars QB Cody Kessler.
It was stupid then, and it’s stupid now. It’s been stupid the entire time.