The NFL’s new roughing the passer rule dubbed the “Aaron Rodgers rule’ has been a source of controversy ever since it was first implemented during the preseason.
The rule states that players must not “land on top of him with all or most of the defender’s weight” when attempting to sack the QB. The rule was put in place to prevent the injury that occurred when Anthony Barr drove into the Packers QB Aaron Rodgers after a tackle last season.
Here’s the rule via the NFL officiating handbook.
A rushing defender is prohibited from committing such intimidating and punishing acts as “stuffing” a passer into the ground or unnecessarily wrestling or driving him down after the passer has thrown the ball, even if the rusher makes his initial contact with the passer within the one-step limitation provided for in (a) above. When tackling a passer who is in a defenseless posture (e.g., during or just after throwing a pass), a defensive player must not unnecessarily or violently throw him 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.
The rule may have cost The Green Bay Packers a win in today’s game when Vikings QB Kirk Cousins threw a late-game interception but was later changed to a roughing the passer penalty because Clay Matthews landed on Cousins while attempting a sack.
The Vikings were then able to tie the game with a field goal a bit later and Packers fans weren’t happy.