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Corrente roughly describes roughing the passer call. It was rough

Week 2: Vikings at Packers

Late in the fourth quarter Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews was hit with a roughing the passer penalty to extend a drive for the second consecutive week. Unlike last week, there does not seem to be much in this. Matthews contacted Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins as he released the ball and did not drive him into the ground or put his weight into landing on him. It is a tough call for referee Tony Corrente to make in real time compounded by the point of emphasis on quarterback hits this year.

Former referee and NBC rules analyst  Terry McAulay tweeted  that if the league considers this a foul “I am glad that I am no longer on the field and have to make those calls.”

The penalty negated an interception which continued a Vikings score-tying drive. Neither team scored after that, resulting in a 29-29 tie.

Corrente explained the call to a pool reporter after the game, which only made it worse.

It has nothing to do with the rule of full-body weight [landing on the quarterback]. It has nothing to do with helmet-to-helmet. He picked the quarterback up and drove him into the ground.

While there is no point of emphasis this season on driving a quarterback to the ground, this has always been specifically watched by the referee position. But what is obviously missing from the video is that Cousins was picked up and dropped to the turf unnecessarily.

Matthews is clearly aware of the two emphasis points mentioned by Corrente. Matthews has adjusted his game in response to the watershed rewrite of the rules this season. He wrapped Cousins at the torso in a rugby-style tackle coincidental with the pass being released, and the natural follow-through took them both to the ground. It is as if the tackle could be used as an example for the rule as it is written:

a defensive player must not unnecessarily or violently throw [the quarterback] down or land on top of him with all or most of the defender’s weight. Instead, the defensive player must strive to wrap up the passer with the defensive player’s arms and not land on the passer with all or most of his body weight.

Until they get further clarification from the league office, Matthews only has Corrente’s response as to how this tackle could have been legal:

Not picked him up and drove him to the ground

I’m not sure if Corrente had time to review video of the play prior to his interview with the pool reporter. (Typically, referees do not.) So, Corrente really has the one view at game speed as reference, while the rest of us have benefit of replay. But it would be shocking if the league upholds this as a correct call. Corrente will likely not be downgraded, which is typical for marginal player-safety calls.

Patrick Weber contributed to this report.

Tony Corrente postgame interview

Q: Tony, can you explain the penalty on Clay Matthews and what you saw there on the late hit?

Corrente: That was the play in the fourth quarter?

Q: Yes, sir.

Corrente: When he hit the quarterback he lifted him and drove him into the ground.

Q: Is that enforced under the new helmet rule?

Corrente: Not at all. It has nothing to do with the rule of full-body weight. It has nothing to do with helmet-to-helmet. He picked the quarterback up and drove him into the ground.

Q: What could he have done differently on this that play?

Corrente: Not picked him up and drove him into the ground.

Q:  There was one other question. There was a kickoff where the Vikings player appeared to take a knee. We are not sure if he went down and then flipped the ball to the referee on the Packers sideline.

Corrente:  He started to go down but he never went down.

Q: And so he then had to recover?

Corrente: He has to recover the football.

Q: And that’s not a safety?

Corrente:  Exactly.


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Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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5 thoughts on “Corrente roughly describes roughing the passer call. It was rough

  1. Corrente is a blithering idiot and the new Elmer Fudd or Tom White. Please fire this clown because he has no clue how to officiate. Maybe Clay Mathews should have picked him up and tackled him.

  2. Its a rough call to protect because it was a garbage call. Corrente’s crew made every mistake at every possible chance for the game.

  3. If I were McCarthy, I would scratch Corrente and his crew. That was a very poorly officiated game by that crew.

  4. A referee should be professional enough to understand the situation and not make a game changing call like that unless it’s clearly a roughing. I had no problem with the call on Matthews last week, but this call makes me think the ref thinks he’s more important than the game in some way. A referee should be thinking about making sure the game is played fairly and trying to let the players decide the game. Corrente obviously wasn’t focused on letting the players decide the game. He decided to insert himself into the game in a major way. In real time, there WAS a slight hint of Matthews driving Cousins to the ground with his shoulder, but the ref’s mentality should be, I only make this game changing call if this is obvious and egregious. In actuality, Matthews put is left hand out to try to stop his momentum. That’s why a ref needs to error on “NO CALL” unless egregious and obvious like last week. Ref’s, Please, Please, referee with the mentality that “I am not here to impact the game” and let the players decide the game.

  5. The NFL needs to hold refs accountable especially when they are almost 67 years old and imagine things that decide games. Tony Corrente ref #99 imagined that Matthews lifted and slammed Cousins. There was no lifting or slamming of Cousins as Corrente invented during his post game interview. Hey Tony watch the film before you make lame excuses next time. It was a one handed hug off to the side, not a lift and Mathews actually put his left hand down to stop his weight from coming down on Cousins. Cousins cleverly lifted his left leg into the air while on the ground and made a fool out of Corrente who fell for the fake and thought there was lift? Tony you need to be replaced. Isn’t this the same ref that dropped a “F” bomb on his open mic in a Indy/Miami game in 2012 and then had one of his God D- – – broadcast over the CBS TV telecast. Corrente needs anger management and glasses. He should of been given mandatory retirement back then. I know the NFL cannot discriminate against medicare patients but there must be some middle age refs out there that have earned a promotion and send this senior citizen back to La Mirada California. Not to mention Tony’s crew missed a pass interference by a viking’s early swipe to the chest of receiver Graham in the 2nd qtr followed by an offensive interference call against GB’s Adams which TV announcers rightfully explained as not a push off but a mutal contact play. TV ratings should continue to fall as players kneel and refs give imaginary calls that unfairly decide the games?

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