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ESPN's Jason Witten makes strange statement about NFL's roughing the passer rule being too 'left-wing'

Alex Reimer
September 25, 2018 - 11:14 am

ESPN finds itself mired in another political controversy. On “Monday Night Football” last night, new color analyst Jason Witten was bemoaning the NFL’s new roughing the passer initiative, which resulted in four flags for QB hits during Steelers-Buccaneers. 

While Witten is far from the only person to take issue with the edict –– even quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger are complaining –– he did use an odd expression to try and prove his point. 

"They've just gone too far with that rule," Witten said, per the Dallas Morning News. "I knew they were going to make it about the health and safety and protecting these quarterbacks. It just seems like we went a little bit to the left wing on that with our approach on trying to protect it.”

When asked for comment, ESPN insisted Witten's statement wasn’t political. But that appears to be disingenuous, since the phrase “left-wing” doesn’t apply to any other context.

Amazingly, Witten’s strange remark wasn't the low-point of the broadcast. That belonged to play-by-play man –– I’m sorry, “jazz riffer” –– Joe Tessitore, who used Steelers running back James Connor’s battle with cancer to take shots at Le’Veon Bell for holding out.

“James Connor, the cancer survivor, makes less in a year than Bell makes in a week,” Tessitore said in the fourth quarter.

Thankfully, analyst Booger McFarland corrected the record, telling Joe Tess that’s the way it should be.