The NFL is faced with a challenge and needs to resolve this delicate balance that is being tested in real time.
The league’s goal is to make football safer for its players, and that is the one principle it should defend going forward. The game’s integrity and the product on the field for all parties involved are not being protected, however, in key moments where rule changes and interpretations alter game circumstances and potentially outcomes.
Just before halftime of their “Monday Night Football” match, Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones fell on Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and was assessed a roughing the passer penalty.
When the ball fell to the ground as a fumble, Carr was getting ready to wind up for a pass. While tumbling on top of Carr as he hit the ground, Jones groped for the football and grabbed it.
Due to the penalty, the Raiders were able to score a field goal and lead 20-10 at the half. This made it more difficult for the Chiefs to come back and win 30-29 on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
However, the most important lesson from Monday’s game is that the NFL must make amends to its players, coaches, ticket buyers, and at-home viewers for another contentious moment during primetime.