Now that some of the emotions from the Green Bay Packers’ loss to the Las Vegas Raiders are behind us, I wanted to ask our readers this question: Should the NFL penalize horse-collar penalties differently?
Obviously, this question stems from when Raiders cornerback Marcus Peters pulled Packers receiver Christian Watson down by the back of his shoulder pads on Monday night. Watson ended up hauling in a gain of 77 yards, but he probably could have scored a touchdown if Peters hadn’t used the illegal tackle on a receiver who was clearly pulling away.
Ultimately, the Raiders were only penalized three yards because half the distance to the goal at the time was just three yards from the spot (the six-yard-line) where Watson went down. The Packers didn’t end up scoring a touchdown on that drive, which with a successful extra point would have given Green Bay the 17 points that the Raiders matched on the night.
You can make the case that Peters’ horse-collar tackle won Las Vegas the game, or at least saved them from overtime, which just feels wrong. I’m not sure what the answer here is, but it doesn’t feel like the sport should be incentivizing these types of penalties with positive results, especially for all the talk about player safety that the NFL has pushed out there over the last two-ish decades.
Maybe “half the distance to the goal” penalties should be allowed to be tacked onto the next drive. If the Packers were able to use that 15-yard personal foul against the Raiders’ offense on the following drive, that would feel a lot more just than the three yards they gained near the goal line.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has made a case this week that Peters’ horse-collar tackle should be considered a “palpably unfair act,” which NFL referees have the power to award a touchdown for under the current rule book. I don’t think you want to open the can of worms that is referees awarding touchdowns, though.
What do you guys think the solution here is? Let us know in the comment section down below.