Football Roughing the Passer

What is a Roughing the Passer Penalty in Football?

Roughing the passer is a penalty in football that is called on the defensive team when a defensive player makes harsh contact with the passer, usually the quarterback, after the ball has been released for an allotted time. This penalty results in a 15 yard loss and an automatic 1st down against the defense.

As of 2018, roughing the passer may also be called against the defense if, during a sack, the defensive player falls and lands on top of the quarterback. This rule change is the subject of much controversy as it leads to an injury risk for the defensive players involved in the play and the referee's discrepancy to call the penalty varies by officiating crew.


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