When the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl on the strength of a lockdown secondary, some accused the Legion of Boom of playing overly physical with wide receivers. Illegal contact was apparently a point of emphasis for NFL referees in the offseason. The result, however, may be a bit of an overreaction:
The NFL has been aggressive calling illegal contact throughout the preseason, fostering frustration from defenders and fans alike. Those frustrations boiled over in Friday night's game between the San Diego Chargers and the Seattle Seahawks, when cornerback Tharold Simon had a pick-six called back on an iffy penalty.
The Twitter reaction was harsh.
HOORAY FOR OFFENSE! YAY NFL!— Danny Kelly (@FieldGulls) August 16, 2014
They cant possibly call illegal contact like this.— Stephen White (@sgw94) August 16, 2014
Penalty that just negated Simon's 105yd INT TD return for illegal contact is the biggest joke BS call I have seen yet. Terrible. #Seahawks— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) August 16, 2014
SI's Doug Farrar HATED it.
NFL needs to step in here. This is absolutely preposterous.— SI_DougFarrar (@SI_DougFarrar) August 16, 2014
Nice recovery, Simon. Too bad the league wants to eliminate your position completely.— SI_DougFarrar (@SI_DougFarrar) August 16, 2014
This is total Goodell, though. Implement a rule with no detail and no consideration of effect. Ready, fire, aim.— SI_DougFarrar (@SI_DougFarrar) August 16, 2014
If NFL referees continue to call contact tight in the secondary during the regular season, expect the backlash to be even stronger.