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Pass Interference Rule

Discussion in 'NFL Football Forum' started by PatsFaninAZ, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ Rookie

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    Hopefully this won't come off as sour grapes since the Patriots won. For the record, I would guess that over my time watching the Patriots, they have benefited as much as been on the down side of subjective pass interference calls. My point here has nothing to do with how it will affect the team I root for.

    I think the rule is broken. It's really ruining the game for me. When I watch NFL games now that are close -- even ones that don't involve the Patriots -- it seems like I spend more time hoping a pass interference call or non-call won't ruin a good game. It is time to tear up the rule and start over from scratch.

    Most sports are trying to move away from subjective officiating as much as possible. Some examples that seem to be working really well are the NHL's rule for delay of game -- they don't force the refs on the ice to try to determine intent any more. The NFL was moving nicely in the same direction with getting rid of the 5 yard facemask and trying to impose objective grab and twist rules, making the horsecollar objective, and getting rid of the intent component of intentional grounding, just as as a few examples. Pass interference, though, remains the NLF's equivalent of the NBA's blocking/charging call.

    I think what's happened, especially in the last few years, is that more and more contact is allowed in general -- including not just incidental contact or subtle contact initiated by the offensive player, but contact initiated by the defender. Some effort was made to try to catalogue what contact is permitted and what isn't, so now you have ambiguous terms like "hook" and "faceguard" and wannabe officials screaming about "he didn't turn around." The end result, though, is that what officials have found themselves doing -- understandably I would argue -- is trying to make a judgment about the effect that the contact had on the ability of the player to make the play. I really think that's what the rule has become. There is almost always non-incidental contact these days and so officials just ask themselves on every play, "do I think the receiver probably was going to make a play on the ball?" Not surprisingly, this kind of analysis turns the NFL official into an NBA official -- there is contact on every play, and so they sit there all game and decide "was there an advantage gained"? When two or three points is the most you can get on any possession, and there are 400 such incidents a game like in the NBA, maybe it makes sense. In the NFL where the penalty for PI is severe and it's less frequent, it's a toxic situation. Also, refs are human and when you give them this much judgment, you can't help but have home/away field creep in, and also situation in the game (how much time left for example), and the effect of the penalty (it's easier to call PI on a 7 yard pass in the beginning of the drive than on a 40 yard pass to a double covered receiver).

    It's time to go back to the drawing board and make the call much simpler. Contact initiated by the defender to the targeted receiver while the ball is in the air is PI, unless the contact was initiated immediately in the process of the defender trying to make a play on the ball to which he was entitled without displacing ("going through") the receiver. The end. No more "clearly uncatchable" stuff. If he's the targeted receiver, that's it. If there's contact, that's it. No more trying to decide what is and what is not acceptable contact -- the only judgment call is whether the defender was legitimately playing the ball or the receiver. This will result in more PI being called, at least in the short term. It will also lead to more receiver separation. This is good or bad depending on whether or not you like passing offense, but it would be far better than the pass interference roulette we have now. Maybe college has it right -- take away the drastic effect of the PI call and perhaps you get more even enforcement. Make it a 15-yard foul or spot foul, whichever is shorter, with an automatic first down.
  2. meatface

    meatface Rookie

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    #85 Jersey

    yeah. I keep feeling that if they are going to get it wrong all the time they should just make it 15 yards
  3. neuronet

    neuronet Rookie

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    #87 Jersey

    Great topic for discussion! Note sure I agree with the extreme of 'zero contact', but I do agree that would be one non-arbitrary, non-subjective way to fix it. If literally zero contact is allowed, that seems too extreme to me...

    thinking about it, even 'no' contact is subjective. Was his hand 1 mm away from his jersey, or did his hand touch his jersey but not put any force down so his hand exerted force on his body? I think there has to be some criterion that involves the application of force, and that is typically only perceptible when the receivers' movement is changed (because, you know, F=ma and all that). Otherwise they will get in the silly game of figuring out how many microns the defender is from their body.

    Hence, i believe the criterion they use now *for contact* is good.

    But I think you are right on with questions of catchability which are way too subjective, and something we could remove. Make it more like defensive holding, where such considerations of catchability don't come into play.
  4. Silver Blue&Red

    Silver Blue&Red Rookie

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    #11 Jersey

    The rules are ridiculous, but to me, the biggest problem is the free range given to the officials to decide how to decipher the rules. And the ability for one judge to throw a flag and then have a pow wow with his cronies and make the call whichever they see fit. It's really out of control. Every fan of every team and many, many analysts are at wits end with this BS. Way too many games, where the better team lost, because of this trend.
  5. MrNathanDrake

    MrNathanDrake Rookie

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    #95 Jersey

    The refs kept Denvers last TD drive alive with yellow flags. But Demarius Thomas pushed off on his TD and no one said anything.

    Then on our final regulation drive, Thompkins was basically tackled well before the ball got to him. Brady flipped out, and rightfully so.


    We just aren't getting any calls in crucial moments this year. Think about the Jets game in OT, last week against the Panthers, and even yesterday against Denver.
  6. ChoWZa

    ChoWZa Rookie

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    I've been making this argument for years. The rulebook is not meant to promote fair play and safety, not as a primary purpose, that is just a guise. The rulebook is designed so that referees never make wrong decisions. It is meant to protect the image of the referees and ensure their job security. This problem is worsened by the fact you have referees reviewing their own calls on the field during coaches challenges! If and when a referee can back another referee he will always do so, and he will use judgment calls to do it.

    Last weeks no call on pass interference and the absurd defense made by Blandino (head of officiating) has been the best example I've seen for this yet. If Blandino was asked to defend the call had the referees stuck with the call, he would have said "We can clearly see contact before the ball gets to the receiver, it is the correct call", does anyone really doubt that would have been his response? Until fans demand officiating changes.. such as rewriting the rulebook to remove judgment calls wherever possible, and clearly defining the remaining judgment calls with a multitude of examples. Then making most (if not all) penalties challengable, and having an officiating team separate from the NFLRA to review plays and challenge penalties to remove the job security bias.
  7. ThatllMoveTheChains!!!

    ThatllMoveTheChains!!! Rookie

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    Personally I'd like to see the following happen: 5 yard buffer, after that any use of arms/hands/legs/feet is illegal contact (5 yards replay down), and it's PI if it's while the ball's in the air (15 yards). These rules go in both directions, if both commit a penalty then it's offsetting and the down is replayed. Ditch the whole trying to figure out who initiated contact, what's uncatchable, and who's being targeted. That's just personal preference though.
  8. RelocatedPatFan

    RelocatedPatFan Rookie

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    What if they are both making a play for the ball and there's contact? Replay? that wold slow the game down and make lots of people groan. I agree we as fans and the players need some clarity and consistency on this call. the argument that it all evens out while possible true in the grand scheme of things can certainly have a large effect on a single game.
  9. SalemPats

    SalemPats Rookie

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    No Jersey Selected

    I'm the opposite, i want to see less flags and more physical play. Saying that if someone grabs an arm or back of the shoulder it's PI, like the non-call against KT
  10. ThatllMoveTheChains!!!

    ThatllMoveTheChains!!! Rookie

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    Contact is fine; grabbing, shoving, etc isn't. If your hands are on the other guy you're impeding their ability to make a play more so than making one yourself. Replay would work the same way as it currently does; in theory you could make this reviewable, but even then I don't think it'd interfere anymore than any other reviewable call.
    My goal would actually be to encourage physical play, but I could easily be missing the target. I want a way for players to fight for position without the gray area that currently exists. Right now all of those things are a penalty depending on the official's mood and if the receiver fights through it. However all the come backers where the receiver tries to go through the defender wood wouldn't be pass interference... on the defence.
  11. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    I think this is a great topic for discussion. However, you fell into the making the call subjective right off the bat. You are asking the official to decide who initiated contact. That is subjective and could easily lead to the same mistake calls because things happen so quickly.

    Also, you can't say "make it a 15 yard foul or spot foul, whichever is shorter" because then you'd have to change the holding rules as well. One of the reasons it was changed to a SPOT foul was because it was going on so often and the league wanted to cut down on it by making the penalty harsher.

    You also fail to mention what happens when there is offensive pass interference.

    The problem, currently, isn't the rule itself. The problem is that the officials are unable to make the pass interference call correctly. Not because of the catchable/uncatchable issue, but because most of these guys are 40+ years old, in mediocre shape/health, and clearly don't understand the rules as they were written. And this becomes patently clear when you have an instance like last week where the claim that the ball was "uncatchable" was total BS. The officials and the league used that to cover their arses, but 99% of people laughed at that. The reality was that it was a blown call that shouldn't have been over-ruled because the rules are pretty clear.

    Futhermore, everyone knows that there is more going on with the officials than what we see. And it comes from Goodell and the owners. Goodell showed this last year by putting that moron, Jerome Boger, in as the Head Referee for the Super Bowl despite him having had 8 major complaints against him in the regular season. Those all, mysteriously, disappeared prior to the post season and the SB. What needed to have happened is that a grievance should have been filed by one of the other Referees from last year. One who was clearly passed over. Nothing happened and we had another poorly officiated contest for the "HIGHLIGHT SPECTACULAR" of this great sport.

    The only way this will change is if a large group of Season Ticket Holders for every team writes in demanding for a change. It has to come from them and the owners need to understand that there is going to be backlash similar to what happened in the NBA.
  12. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Except we see calls over-turned every week. So that kind of puts a kink in the idea that "when a referee can back another referee he will always do so, and he will use judgment calls to do it"

    Last week's explanation of the no call was pure BS. Everyone and their brother knows it. It's why ESPN's "Science of the Game" put up their proof showing that the NFL was wrong by their own rules.

    The problem is that there was no judgement call there. It was a complete WRONG call and re-writing the rule book won't change that.

    As I have said before, the NFL needs to invest in FULL-TIME officials. They need to be held to a high cardiovascular standard, have eye tests, written tests on the rules and tests using videos. They also need to have each game reviewed by a separate group of officials and any complaints by teams reviewed. The NHL has a great system in place. It was put in place by a well respected official (Andy Van Hellemond) and it has improved the game immensely.

    Now, some people might say that the NFL doesn't need Full-time officials, but it does. They need to be able to recite the rulebook and make the calls accordingly. That takes time and practice. And that is something these guys don't have. All of them are part-timers with many being full blown lawyers during the week.

    Furthermore, someone like Dean Blandino should not be the Head of Officiating. The guy hasn't spent a day on the field as an official in the NFL. He's only been involved on the Replay side of it. And, he lost any credibility he might have had when he claimed the officials made the right call at the end of the Carolina game. And that isn't just me saying that.

    The NFL has done a lot to eliminate the "judgement calls" as we fans like to call them. The Pass Interference call in the end zone wasn't a play that should have had it. It only had it because the OFFICIALS claimed it was uncatchable to cover their screw up. Any good crew would have flagged it as either Pass Interference or, the very least, Holding, and given the Pats one more play because that is what it demanded.
  13. SB39

    SB39 On the Roster

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    That just doesn't work because the defender has the right to the ball too. That actually used to be the rule, then they changed it to say that if the defender is looking back at the ball, incidental contact is allowed - and it works much better that way.

    Simple fact of the matter is there is absolutely no system whatsoever that could make pass interference immune to controversy. It's just impossible. The best solution would be to simply allow it to be reviewed. I just don't understand why judgment calls should not be eligible to be reviewed.
  14. Silver Blue&Red

    Silver Blue&Red Rookie

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    #11 Jersey

    That's exactly what these players need to do. They are the ones who keep the fans coming back, who keep the owners, refs, commissioner etc, making millions of dollars. Everybody has had it up to here. I loved when Brady did that. The guy plays with passion, keeps his nose clean. A poster boy of the NFL. Guys like him, who put every fiber of their lives into this "Game". And some idiot who thinks he's freaking Marshall Wyatt Earp is going to call what he knows is not "the correct call" . TB got screwed twice already this season in critical situations. He's had enough too.
  15. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    Refs in the NFL are old because it takes a long time for them to work their way up the ranks. Wonder how the product would improve if there was more a combine process for finding ref talent instead of it being more of a moonlighting career path.
  16. CelticPatriot

    CelticPatriot Rookie

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    Go on any other forum or twitter etc and they are going crazy saying Brady has no class and should be fined/flagged etc, it's hilarious. Whatever happened to passion?
  17. Bobsyouruncle

    Bobsyouruncle On the Roster

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    So in a jump ball situation the receiver can bump the defender to catch the ball but the defender can't bump the receiver to catch the ball?
  18. Archeryaddict12

    Archeryaddict12 Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    They just resent how this dude has been so successful, even with everything against him b
  19. BradyFTW!

    BradyFTW! PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    Agreed. All of that experience is nice, in theory, but not if it's experience with old rules and your mobility and eyesight are deteriorated. I get that ex-players are refs wouldn't work (imagine when a game was swung on a call by a player who used to play for the benefitting team), but is there any reason why a handful of D3 college players can't be selected, trained, and gradually work their way into officiating crews over a period of a few years?
  20. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    I think it's less experience being accrued than it just takes a long time under the current system for a ref to build up enough of a body of work for the next level to go "okay, you're hired."

    It's not like you can pop in a tape of a ref and go "man this guy just doesn't belong on the field" or "I have never seen such a dominating performance by a linesman" and put the guy at the top of your referee mock draft.

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