The NFL referees have surely gotten their points of emphasis across so far during the preseason and in doing so it’s made several of the exhibition games even harder to watch than they normal are. Will the points of emphasis be relaxed a little bit once the regular season starts? Steelers team president Art Rooney II certainly hopes so.
“I think it’s fair to say there’s concern around the league about [the increase in penalties] and I think that the point has been made by the officials,” Rooney told Scott Brown of ESPN.com. “I hope we’re going to get back to a more normal number of penalties per game.”
So far during the preseason, the Steelers have been flagged eleven times total for illegal contact, defensive holding or pass interference. As a team, they’ve been flagged 34 times with 13 of them coming this past Thursday night in the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I expect it to be officiated appropriately,” said head coach Mike Tomlin during his Tuesday press conference. And actually, I’ve got a conference call this afternoon regarding that very thing with the Competition Committee. It’s several things that we’re looking at in the preseason from an officiating standpoint – the points of emphasis in the secondary and those fouls have obviously gotten a lot of attention.”
Despite all of the flags last week against the Steelers secondary, Tomlin likes how his defensive backs are handling the officiating changes.
“I really think they’ve done a great job of embracing the challenge they’re facing (regarding) the point of emphasis (defensive contact) and showing the ability to move forward after negative things happen, when flags are on the ground,” Tomlin said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That’s really a sign of maturity.”
As for Rooney, now that he’s voiced his opinion on the matter, he’ll now take a wait and see approach heading into the regular season and hope that history holds true.
“I think that’s been the history that you’ve seen things called in the preseason more than you’ve sometimes in the regular season when they’ve decided to make a point,” Rooney said. “That’s been the pattern that I’ve noticed in the past so we’ll see if that holds true this year.”