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Troy Vincent on controversial roughing penalties: “We support those calls”

Mike Florio and Peter King are bewildered but unsurprised by how NFL has responded to a number of questionable roughing the passer flags so far in the 2022 season.

The NFL basically admits that business interests supersede getting it right.

Appearing on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, NFL executive V.P. of officiating Troy Vincent was questioned about last week’s controversial roughing the passer penalties. Said Vincent, “We support those calls.”

Vincent explained that the league supports the calls because the rule gives the referees the latitude to call roughing if they think they see it. Again, the rule expressly requires the flag to be thrown “when in doubt.”

That’s what the league wants. For one specific reason. To keep quarterbacks healthy. And the league wants to keep quarterbacks healthy to keep games exciting. Indeed, Vincent rattled off the statistics regarding the vast majority of the most-watched shows on TV being NFL games. They’re widely watched because of quarterback play.

“If you don’t have a quarterback, you don’t have a chance to win,” Vincent said. More accurately, the NFL won’t have a chance for people to watch.

During PFT Live this week, I mentioned the firewall that media companies must have between business interests and the integrity of their journalism. The NFL needs a firewall between business interests and the integrity of its game. In this specific case, business is driving the bus, and the integrity of the game is suffering.

More accurately, games are potentially being decided because the league wants referees to protect quarterbacks so aggressively that the league accepts mistakes. The league welcomes mistakes. The league is willing for specific games to be decided by a bad call, if it means avoiding having the ratings (and revenue) diminished by a bad schedule due to backup quarterbacks.

That’s exactly what’s happening. Vincent, on Sunday morning, admitted it.