Let’s be clear. Helmet-to-helmet hits are bad and dangerous. But it seems like NFL officials have trouble getting on the same page about when it’s appropriate to issue a personal foul for the hit and when to throw the flag at all.
Take Thursday night’s Panthers-Steelers game for example. In the third quarter, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ran the ball for 18 yards, easily converting a first down and sliding around the Panthers’ 14-yard line.
Carolina safety Eric Reid attempted to tackle Roethlisberger. His shoulder made contact with the quarterback’s helmet, landing a nasty hit on Big Ben. It didn’t take long for the officials to give Reid a personal foul for unnecessary roughness and eject him from the game.
Nobody is arguing that Reid didn’t deserve a personal foul, but fans are wondering where the consistency is on these types of calls this season.
Earlier in this same game, Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt made a questionable hit on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. But there was no ejection, let a lone a flag.
Just weeks ago, there were two helmet hits against quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Baker Mayfield that weren’t flagged as well.
NFL officials need to work on issuing penalties consistently; otherwise they’re going to keep facing frustrated fans and even more frustrated players.