Overprotecting the Quarterback
The league instructs its game officials to protect quarterbacks. If a hit on a quarterback is borderline, officials are told, call a penalty.
But the roughing-the-quarterback call that decided last Sunday's Cincinnati-Tampa Bay game took it too far.
The Buccaneers' winning touchdown in their 14-13 triumph came after rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski was sacked by the Bengals' Justin Smith and fumbled, only to have the play negated by 15-yard personal foul for roughing. Instead of facing a second-and-18 play at the Bengals 40-yard line, the Buccaneers got a first down at the 25.
Gradkowski landed on his head on the play. But he was brought down relatively gently by Smith. He wasn't slammed to the turf. Not even close.
Yes, they're quarterbacks. But it's still football, folks.
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