Kansas City Chiefs: The Good, The Bad And The Baffling From Week 14

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The Baffling: Tamba Hali’s Penalty

Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Time to revisit the rulebook.

The rules for hitting a


passer’s knee:

"A rushing defender is prohibited from forcibly hitting in the knee area or below a passer who has one or both feet on the ground, even if the initial contact is above the knee. It is not a foul if the defender is blocked (or fouled) into the passer and has no opportunity to avoid him; Note 1: A defender cannot initiate a roll or lunge and forcibly hit the passer in the knee area or below, even if he is being contacted by another player. Note 2: It is not a foul if the defender swipes, wraps, or grabs a passer in the knee area or below in an attempt to tackle him."

Former Vice President of Officiating, Mike Pereira:

First off, Hali was held. He gained leverage with a rip move, so Jared Veldheer tugged at Hali’s pads prior to a last-ditch effort to push his inside hip. That, in turn, snowballs into expletive-laced confusion.

So we meet again, subjectivity.

Clearly, whoever writes the commissioner’s savvy speeches also penned the NFL’s riddle of a rulebook. It’s encrypted with ambiguity.

Ignoring the hold, did Hali, per league rules, rough the passer? Maybe. Maybe not (see: convoluted).

But if the call stemmed from “lunging,” the NFL needs to have a chat with Webster. In pursuing Stanton, Hali’s movement remained fluid. There were no sudden, lunging motions.

Then again, sense has never been the league’s selling point.