Skip to main content

Referees Told To Emphasize 1 Penalty: NFL World Reacts

NFL referee yellow flag

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 03: A referee picks up a penalty flag during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots at New Era Field on December 3, 2017 in Orchard Park, New York. New England defeats Buffalo 23-3. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Just about every year the NFL picks out a new rule or set of rules that referees will place an added emphasis on and 2022 will be no exception.

According to ESPN, a league spokesperson said that the NFL has asked officials to pay closer mind to illegal contact fouls this season. Under the current rules, defensive players may not make contact with receivers more than five yards off the line of scrimmage while the quarterback has the ball and is in the pocket.

Last year saw a steep drop in the number of illegal contact calls in the NFL. There were only 36 called in 2021 versus the yearly average of 97 between 2002 and 2020. 

NFL fans are fuming over this decision by the league. Just about everyone is in agreement that this will only hurt the flow of the game, not improve it.

Some are saying that this is part of the NFL's effort to produce even more offense, while others are lamenting that this will lead to illegal contact calls all the time.

Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk noted that changes in focus like this always lead to a sharp uptick in the calls in the early weeks of an NFL season. 

But there are undoubtedly going to be teams that get absolutely blasted by these penalties, causing their early-season momentum to plummet. 

Are you concerned for your favorite team being adversely affected by this new emphasis?