NFL says it’s not backing down on protecting quarterbacks

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL isn’t backing down on protecting quarterbacks.

League executive Troy Vincent said there was a “healthy” and “spirited” conversation with owners about roughing-the-passer penalties at the league meeting on Tuesday.

“Everyone knows if your quarterback is not healthy, you don’t have a chance to win,” Vincent said. “We’re not changing the philosophy around that call. … We’re not going to back off of protecting the quarterback.”

A pair of disputed roughing penalties in Week 5 frustrated defensive players and had players, coaches and fans questioning what constitutes a legal hit. Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL’s competition committee, said the conversation on making roughing-the-passer calls reviewable lasted about 30 seconds and needs more discussion.

“When you decide to review subjective fouls, then you’re going to have subjective eyes on something that’s already been viewed once,” McKay said.

McKay pointed out the league’s negative experience with reviewing pass interference in 2019.

Overall, roughing-the-passer penalties are down from previous years. Through Week 6, there were 53 in 2018, 59 in 2019, 43 in 2020, 52 in 2021 and 38 so far in 2022.

“We’ve had less calls than we’ve had in the past,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “There has been no change to the rule. We obviously, as in any officiating, officials make calls that we would rather not have be calls or we’d have calls that we prefer that they do make. We make that clear to the officials and make it clear to our coaches.”

KROENKE PAYMENT RESOLVED

Goodell said the matter of who’s paying Stan Kroenke’s $790 million settlement for moving the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles was resolved. He did not confirm reporting that Kroenke would be responsible for $571 million and the other 31 owners the rest, saying only the vote was unanimous.

“That was a matter for the ownership,” Goodell said. “It was resolved as partners, and it’s what the league does. I think it was incredibly positive.”

BLACK FRIDAY FOOTBALL

Something new is coming to the day after Thanksgiving beyond discount holiday shopping: the NFL.

The league is set to play a game on Black Friday in 2023, jumping into a window it had previously stayed away from. The game will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video and start at 3 p.m. ET.

“I would call that entire weekend a football weekend,” Goodell said. “We think there’s room for the NFL in Friday, and we’re excited about it. We think it’s going to be a great thing.”

DIVERSITY WORK ONGOING

The Diversity Advisory Committee, which was formed in March, updated owners on ongoing efforts with teams and the league office.

Among the improvements, the number of women in coaching positions continue to increase. The NFL said in training camp there were 15 women, including 40% women of color, in coaching positions — the highest number in league history and up from 12 a year ago.

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