Green Bay Packers star Clay Matthews blasted the NFL on Sunday after receiving a controversial roughing the quarterback penalty in Sunday’s game, saying the league is “getting soft.”
Matthews made a tackle on Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith late in the third quarter of the Packers’ 31-17 loss. Matthews appeared to have made a common football play, wrapping Smith around the torso and tackling him to the ground for a sack. However, the linebacker was penalized for landing on Smith with his body weight.
Matthews, who received a similar penalty for tackling Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins in last week’s tie, sounded off about the controversial call when asked about it after the game.
“Unfortunately this league’s going in a direction I think a lot of people don’t like. I think they’re getting soft,” Matthews stated. “The only thing hard about this league is the fines they levy down on guys like me who play the game hard.” NFL Football Operations tweeted after the controversial call, reaffirming the referee’s decision to make the call. “This is a foul for roughing the passer,” reads the tweet. “The defender lands ‘with all or most of the defender’s weight’ on the passer. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9(b).”
This is a foul for roughing the passer – the defender lands “with all or most of the defender’s weight” on the passer. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9(b): https://t.co/s9YKN8NLuT #GBvsWAS pic.twitter.com/ei2QZkvvzx
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) September 23, 2018
The rule stems from a controversial play last season where Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone from a play where he was driven to the ground. Players may not fall on quarterbacks with all or most of their body weight.