NFL fans haven't been pleased with the amount of penalties seen during this year's preseason games. With an added emphasis on calling illegal contact more than five yards from the line of scrimmage, referees have been throwing flags at an almost unwatchable rate.
And now you can count Pittsburgh Steelers co-owner and president Art Rooney II among those who harbor the same sentiment.
Rooney probably has a legitimate gripe; the Steelers were flagged six times for illegal contact or pass interference in last Thursday's 31-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. That added up to a total of 13 penalties against them in that particular game.
Rooney told ESPN.com that there's a concern around the league about the increase in penalties, but hopes to see a return to a normal amount when the games actually mean something.
"I don't think anybody's trying to increase the number of penalties or the number of stoppages in games. It will go up and down depending on a game, but on the whole I think we need to hopefully get back to something that's more like we had last year in terms of number of penalties per game."
The silver lining here is that, yes, this is the preseason, and the increase in penalties could simply be the officials' way of putting defenses -- and players in the secondary, specifically -- on notice. But there's no denying that this year's crop of preseason games have hardly resembled the version of football we know.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he was pleased with the way his defensive backs have adjusted to the increase of flags, but if the trend continues into the regular season, he might change his tune. And you can bet Rooney won't end up being the only owner speaking out on it.