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Competition Committee uncomfortable with roughing calls

The roughing the passer calls that have roiled the NFL this season aren't making the competition committee happy either.

Several members of the committee, which made the rule a point of emphasis in the spring by pinpointing that they did not want defenders to land with their weight on the quarterback, are uncomfortable with the calls so far, particularly the controversial call against the Packers' Clay Matthews after a hit on Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, according to a person with knowledge of the committee's thinking. That call negated what would have been a game-sealing interception, essentially costing the Packers a victory in a game that ended in a tie. The league defended the call.

The competition committee has a regularly scheduled conference call next week. But members of the committee are unsure if anything will change with the rule emphasis or the way it is being officiated this season. That may depend on what commissioner Roger Goodell thinks. Complicating the decision: The league could be reluctant to pull back on a rule with its base in player safety.

After four roughing the passer penalties were called in Monday night's game, there have been 34 such penalties so far this season. In all of the 2017 season, there were 109. The body weight provision of the roughing rule has been on the books since 1995. But it became a point of emphasis after the league received feedback from teams after the 2017 season -- during which Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' collarbone was broken when Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr landed fully on Rodgers.

Protecting the health of quarterbacks has always been critical to the NFL, because their presence affects scoring -- which declined last season before rebounding in the early part of this season -- and fan interest.

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