On Sunday, the Vikings and Green Bay Packers played to 29-29 tie, and one of the story lines that had fans buzzing was the controversial roughing-the-passer penalty called on Packers linebacker Clay Matthews that wiped out a late interception that could have sealed a victory for Green Bay. Matthews was flagged for landing with his body weight on Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Late in the first half, Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks was called for the same infraction for his hit on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and the penalty helped set up a Green Bay field goal.
The Matthews play caught the attention of Gophers coach P.J. Fleck, who had the game on TV in the background while breaking down film and taking notes for Minnesota’s Big Ten opener at Maryland on Saturday. He'd like to see penalties called when the infraction is clear but sees confusion because officials are asked to make too many judgment calls.
“I’m always for making the game safer for everybody, no matter who it is. I think, too, though, what we are doing is making it harder, and it’s becoming more judgment calls,’’ Fleck said Monday. “It’s not like, ‘That’s [obviously] a foul.’ It’s more like, ‘Was that or wasn’t it? Was that body weight, was that not body weight?’
“You can see why the flag was thrown and you can see why people are arguing why it shouldn’t have been,’’ Fleck added. “If it’s a foul, it should be very clear, and it should be for the protection of the players. Again, I’m for keeping everybody safer, but then all of the sudden you are putting a lot more power in just the [official's] judgment. It should be very clear, no matter what, that it’s a foul.’’