Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NFL Wants To Protect Its Quarterbacks, Except Aaron Rodgers

Steve and Andy will be writing weekly articles on Bleacher Report, because our sports knowledge cannot be limited to 2 hours a week. Here is Andy's weekly article:


This past weekend, the Green Bay Packers feel in overtime after an Aaron Rodgers turnover led to points for the opposing team.

Stop me if you have heard that before.

Replay also showed that he suffered a blow to the head, and the play should have resulted in a 15 yard penalty against the defense.

Sound a bit familiar? It should.

The Green Bay Packers were knocked out of the playoffs last year after Aaron Rodgers was hit and fumbled, resulting in an Arizona touchdown and a 51-45 shootout win. However, replayed clearly showed that the defender grabbed Rodgers' facemask, and instead of a game ending fumble recovery for a touchdown, the Packers should have received new life and another opportunity to win the game. But that never happened, because the referees missed the call in a pivotal moment of the game.

Fast-foward to week 5 of the 2010 season. This year, the NFL elected to move the umpire behind the line of scrimmage, partially for his safety, and partially so that they could better protect the quarterback. It has been fairly successful across the league. In fact, when defenders hit Peyton Manning or Brett Favre too hard, or come too close to Tom Brady's legs, flags fly very quickly. In week 3, the Packers lost in part because an interception was called back when a rightful helmet to helmet penalty was called against the Packers.
And yet, Aaron Rodgers can never seem to catch a break, or even get a penalty called against the defender that is striking him in the head. Replays again showed that the defender who got pressure on Aaron Rodgers on the play that he threw the interception in overtime, had helmet to helmet contact as he forced Aaron to the ground. If the quarterback was Brett Favre, it would have been a penalty. If the quarterback was Peyton Manning, it would have been a penalty. If the quarterback was Jay Cutler, it would have been a penalty. But not if Aaron Rodgers was under center.

It happened once in the NFL playoffs, and it cost the Packers a chance to play the Saints the following week. A missed call once in a while is understandable, it is unacceptable for this to have happened more than once, and for it to have cost the Packers two of their past six games.

But in a year when touchdown catches are ruled incomplete because of celebrations, don't expect the NFL to do anything except defend their own referees and image. But it is inexcusable for NFL referees to have missed personal foul calls on Aaron Rodgers, one of which resulted in a concussion, that resulted in losses for the Green Bay Packers. Packer fans have every reason to be upset about how this season is playing out, but we should be even more angry about the fact that two of our last six games were dictated by poor referees that would have made different calls for different quarterbacks.

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