It’s pretty much common practice these days to deride the NFL’s latest rule changes, and just as common to deem them “soft.”
But Jason Witten put a political twist on that line of criticism Monday night.
The former Dallas Cowboys tight end, who serves as the color commentator alongside Joe Tessitore for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” raised a few eyebrows with this remark about the NFL’s roughing the passer rule during Monday’s Pittsburgh Steelers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers matchup:
“They’ve just gone too far with that rule. I knew they were going to make it about the health and safety and protecting these quarterbacks. It just seems like we went a little bit to the left wing on that with our approach on trying to protect it.”
(Click here to watch a video of Witten’s comments.)
Regardless of what you think of the rule — which now penalizes defenders for landing on a quarterback with their full body weight — it’s odd Witten would use the term “left wing,” especially considering his new employer has (unfairly or not) been accused of inserting liberal narratives into its sports coverage.
Witten’s tone while making those comments suggested he may have liked a do-over. ESPN, for its part, insisted his remarks weren’t politically charged.
Witten’s strange phrasing aside, frustration with the new rules appears to have reached the NFL’s competition committee, which reportedly is “uncomfortable” with how the rule is being enforced and wants to discuss it further.
Thumbnail photo via Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports Images