Winning in the NFL is difficult enough on a week to week basis, but nearly impossible when you're having to battle it out with the officiating as well. All any of us ask for is some consistency around the league from the referees, and that's especially true in Micah Parsons' case.
Tune into nearly any media outlet or social media platform and you'd be hard-pressed not to come across numerous examples of the poor NFL officiating last Sunday afternoon, especially as it pertains to Micah Parsons. There were called penalties, but even more non-calls that helped sway the game in the Dolphins favor.
One questionable penalty that completely altered the outcome of the game was when Micah Parsons was flagged for roughing the passer. One play later, the Miami Dolphins scored their only touchdown on the night.
MICAH PARSONS IS PISSED AFTER THAT ROUGHING THE PASSER CALL— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) December 24, 2023
THATS A GAME CHANGING PENALTYpic.twitter.com/jtlH8rUMyM
Roughing the passer? According to Rule 12 Section 2 Article 11 of the NFL's rulebook, it is not.
Did Micah Parsons hit the QB in the helmet or below the waist? No. Did he forcibly drive him into the ground? No. Was he within the step limitation to make contact with the passer after he released the ball? Yes. So, why was this play penalized?
Here's the exclamation Micah Parsons received from the official:
“[Ref] said my intent was to punish the quarterback, but how am I trying to punish him if I’m just trying to sack him? ... I don’t know how you make that call. I don’t see any justification.”
The refs explanation of why Micah Parsons was penalized for roughing the passer is even more dumbfounding. Any unbiased person would agree No. 11 had a clean hit on the QB. He even led with his forearm, not a shoulder or helmet, and didn't fall on him. This was just a horrendous call.
Since roughing the passer is purely a judgment call for officials, the Dallas Cowboys and Micah Parsons have absolutely no choice to accept these type of game changing penalties, whether correct or not. That's unfortunately also true as it pertains to all of the holding non-calls Dallas' stud pass rusher should be receiving on his behalf.
This is something Jerry Jones recently addressed on 105.3 The FAN.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on @1053thefan on Micah Parsons not drawing an offensive holding penalty since October:— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 26, 2023
“I don’t think the intent (by the refs) is to take a player of his skill and limit him. … There’s no question that Micah is having restrictions that if turned loose…
Jerry Jones certainly doesn't sound like he believes the referees are intentionally trying to limit Micah Parsons, but it is smart for an owner to tread carefully when entering this kind of discussion.
Micah Parsons is a unique talent. He has the build of a defensive end, but the elite speed and change of direction like some the top wide receivers, making him nearly impossible to block one-on-one. On any given play he can probably draw a holding penalty, and yet, the last time NFL officiating has flagged an opponent for holding him was way back in October. That's nearly three months ago!
36 quarters for Micah Parsons without drawing a holding call.— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) December 24, 2023
Sunday afternoon against the Dolphins, there were numerous occasions in which Parsons could have drawn a holding call, and yet, nothing. Here's about a dozen examples the referees could have thrown the penalty flag against Miami for holding Parsons. Some obvious, some questionable, but all potentially flagable.
This one is just blatant.
It's pretty obvious NFL officiating needs to be held accountable. But until things change, we will probably continue to hear/see all of the "Free Micah Parsons!" Propaganda, and deservedly so. Because until that time comes, coaches can instruct their players to continue to hold Parsons because he's not going to draw those calls, as Jeff Saturday recently alluded to on @GetUpESPN.