NFL instructs refs to focus on particular penalty during 2022 season
NFL preseason games start up for most teams this week after the Jacksonville Jaguars and Las Vegas Raiders kicked things off at the Hall of Fame game on Thursday.
As the season gets under way, fans could see one particular penalty flagged more by officials during games.
Per a report from ESPN, the NFL has made “illegal contact” a point of emphasis this year. The penalty occurs when the quarterback has the ball in the pocket and a defender makes “prohibited contact.” It is a 5-yard infraction.
The league made it a point of clarification for 2022 after the number of times it was flagged in 2021 dropped in a major way:
Officials flagged illegal contact an average of 97 times per season between 2002 and 2020, but that number dropped to 36 last season. The decrease prompted the NFL’s competition committee to include illegal contact among its “points of clarification,” formerly known as “points of emphasis,” for the 2022 season.
Will that lead to more flags in this upcoming NFL season? Officials will certainly be paying closer attention to contact made by defenders while the quarterback is still in the pocket.
Currently, league officials are informing teams of the point of clarification as they visit preseason camps around the country.