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#pounditThursday, October 6, 2022

NFL to see significant increase in 1 penalty for 2022?

Roger Goodell at the podium

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Each offseason, the NFL asks its on-field officials to pay closer attention to certain rules and enforce them accordingly. One of the penalties they are looking at this year is illegal contact, and history says we could see a lot more flags thrown for that in 2022.

An NFL spokesperson confirmed to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert on Monday that the NFL has made illegal contact one of its “points of clarification” — previously known as “points of emphasis” — this summer. The rule remains unchanged, with illegal contact defined as prohibitive contact by a defender on a receiver more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage while the quarterback is still in the pocket.

More specifically, the NFL’s competition committee has encouraged officials to move more quickly from the contact to the quarterback to determine whether a foul has been committed. Seifert spoke with league sources who are unsure if the clarification will lead to more illegal contact penalties this season, but history paints a pretty clear picture.

The NFL made illegal contact an offseason point of emphasis on two previous occasions since 2004. After the first, flags for illegal contact more than doubled to 191 in 2004 from 79 the previous season. Then in 2014, illegal contact penalties nearly tripled to 148 after just 52 were called in 2013.

For fans who want less flags thrown in the secondary, that is not a good sign.

The NFL also made a notable rule tweak recently in advance of the 2022 season.

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