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#pounditMonday, January 30, 2023

Troy Aikman rips soft NFL over roughing the passer penalties

Nov 21, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys former quarterback Troy Aikman attends the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Aikman may have been a star quarterback when he played in the NFL, but he’s had enough of the star treatment quarterbacks are receiving on the field.

Aikman and Joe Buck were calling the Week 5 “Monday Night Football” game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. The game was impacted by a huge call shortly before halftime.

The officials called Chris Jones for roughing the passer on a strip-sack with just over a minute left in the second quarter. Jones may have landed on Derek Carr, but that was after the ball was loose. The defensive lineman even tried to avoid wrapping up the Raiders quarterback (video here).

The penalty call completely changed the game. Rather than having the ball in Raiders territory down 17-7, Las Vegas maintained possession and got a first down in Chiefs territory. The Raiders kicked a field goal to go up 20-7.

Aikman, who was a star quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys, ripped the call.

“My hope is the competition committee looks at this at the next set of meetings, and we take the dresses off,” Aikman said. “I’m all for player safety, but the protection on the quarterbacks has gotten to a ridiculous level.”

No kidding.

Roughing the passer penalties were emphasized beginning in 2018 when the NFL aimed to protect quarterbacks even further. There were complaints far and wide that year over some hits that used to be perfectly legal suddenly being flagged.

The emphasis on roughing the passer calls dissipated somewhat in the following years, but the issue popped back up in recent weeks.

First, Jerome Boger made a terrible roughing call in the Bills-Ravens game in Week 4. Then Boger again made a terrible roughing call in the Falcons-Bucs Week 5 game. A day later, Carl Cheffers’ crew screwed the Chiefs.

The NFL can’t keep making these embarrassing calls, especially when they change the games in such big moments.

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