The Rules: Roughing The Passer
Posted August 31, 2007
WRAL is fortunate to have the assistance of Jim Pacheco, a former official, to answer questions about rules and officiating. Jim has been an official in baseball, basketball and football at the high school and collegiate levels, officiating events such as the National League during the Major League Baseball lockout and the College Division III Wolrd Series. Jim has also been an official for the PAC-10 Conference on the West Coast.
Most recently, Jim has taken a leave from officiating in the NCHSAA while his son plays football, and he has graciously offered to help WRAL answer questions and clarify rules when situations arise.
On Thursday night, there was a controversial roughing the passer call in the last three minutes of the Clayton-South Johnston game. It was 4th and 17 for the Trojans when the Comets appeared to take down the quarterback for a loss and turnover, but the official called it roughing the passer. This ultimately allowed time to run out for Clayton, and South Johnston won,10-7.
Here is what Jim had to say about the roughing the passer rule:
"The penalty for roughing the passer is 15 yards and [an] automatic 1st down. The Referee (white hat) is responsible for the call. The basic judgement is based on th coe ability of the defender to avoidntact once the ball is away on a pass. If, in the referee's judgement, the defense could have avoided the contact after the pass is away, any contact afterwards could be deemed a personal foul. Based on emphasis, referee's will tend to lean toward protecting the quarterback."