On The Issue Of Personal Foul Penalties

In the Patriots’ playoff game against the Chiefs early this year, we saw Danny Amendola as a punt returner deliver a brutal blindside hit on a gunner to prevent him from downing the ball deep in Patriots territory.  He was flagged for a personal foul, but because it took place on the Patriots’ 5 yard line, it only cost the team 2.5 yards, a penalty markoff that hardly felt like it matched the foul.

Perhaps in response to this, Roger Goodell just delivered this from his press conference:

I think this is too harsh, and I hope the Competition Committee doesn’t pass it.  Players can play honest, good faith football and still accidentally commit personal fouls.  Fear of an ejection after just one could make the offender play too tenuously.

What I have long argued for instead is for the NFL to create a “penalty box” for personal fouls.  A player that commits one has to sit out X number of plays on his side (offense or defense).  The number of plays could increase if multiple personal fouls occur in one game.  You’d likely have to employ an new official completely in charge of the penalty box to enforce it and give the incumbent officials less to think about it, but the NFL can certainly afford it.  Finally, unlike hockey obviously the team needs to be allowed to make a substitution, as playing 11 on 10 would be far too harsh.