Former NFL lineman Deacon Jones invented the term when at the time the NFL didn't track sack stats. If they did it would probably be revealed that Deacon is the all time sack leader. It comes from the fact that SACKING a city is just as devastating to the city as a QB being tackled is to the offense.
Sacking the quarterback is not, by definition, roughing the passer. A sack occurs when a defensive player tackles the quarterback when he is behind the line of scrimmage. Defensive players are also credited with a sack when they force a quarterback to run out of bounds while still behind the line of scrimmage. Roughing the Passer is a penalty call. Roughing the Passer occurs when the quarterback is stuck by a defensive player after releasing the ball or when a quarterback is struck in the head/neck region by a defensive player. So a defensive player can be called for roughing the passer while sacking the quarterback if he hits them after the q.b. has released the ball or if he hits the q.b. in the head/neck region during the tackle.
That was referee Ben Dreith in a game between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills in 1986. Defensive lineman Marty Lyons of the Jets had tackled Bills QB Jim Kelly and started hitting him in the head. Dreith threw the flag and announced that the penalty was a personal foul on number 99 of the defense, "after he tackled the quarterback he's giving him the business down there". Dreith was one of the best officials in the game. He was selected to referee in two Super Bowls and officiated in the playoffs for 28 consecutive seasons. Click on the 'Giving Him the Business" link below to see a video of the call.
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