Maybe the Seattle Seahawks should be a little concerned regarding the NFL‘s decision to re-emphasize illegal contact and defensive holding; after all, it was quickly coined “The Legion of Boom rule.” Pete Carroll may see it as a sign of respect, but he may soon see it as more of a handicap.
The Seahawks were dominant this past Friday when they defeated the San Diego Chargers 41-14. However, they were not too pleased when second-year cornerback Tharold Simon’s 103-yard pick-six was called back for illegal contact. Simon’s displeasure was backed by his fellow players, coaches and fans. Despite the fact that this was a preseason game, the 12th Man got loud while Philip Rivers acted brash from the sideline. As it turns out, Rivers and the officials were wrong.
Carroll expressed that he took the call to the league, and the league informed him that the wrong call was made. Sure, it is not a big deal when you consider that it was a preseason game and the Seahawks were already blowing out the Chargers, but it was probably a big deal for Simon, who was forced to spend his rookie season on the PUP list and is trying to make a name for himself. It will most definitely be a big deal when the games start to count.
According to Carroll, a mock study shows that contact penalties are up seven times as much as they were last season. The emphasis on illegal contact and defensive holding is affecting the entire league, but no team covers receivers like the Legion of Boom. It is not a question of whether penalties will be called on technically sound plays going forward; it is a question as to just how many will be called.
The Seahawks are going to continue to play their kind of ball. Seattle is an extremely hard hitting team, but they are as technical as they are physical. Richard Sherman and company understand that they are going to get penalized, but they should not have to worry about constant unnecessary calls just because they became a focal point during offseason discussions, whether the league wants to admit that or not. And that is exactly why the Seahawks, more than any other team, should be concerned. Unless the league decides that they made a mistake within the next two weeks, the officials may be more likely to throw the flag on the Seahawks’ defensive backs when the games start to mean something. An apology from the league will mean nothing if it ends up costing Seattle, or any other team for that matter, a game during the regular season.
The officials are going to call the games as best they can, but in the back of their minds they all know about the Seahawks and their reputation on defense. If you were officiating a Seahawks game, might you become a little flag-happy too? Carroll believes that the league may start to tone it down; we shall see.