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Question about pass interference rule

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Live Pats or Die, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. Live Pats or Die

    Live Pats or Die Rookie

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    Guess I'm naive on this one, but let me ask anyway.

    If I'm a corner and I grab a receiver's jersey, is that holding or pass interference?

    Larger question I guess would be this: If I know I'm beat by a step and the receiver looks like he is going to make the catch, couldn't I just hold him instead of interfering and give up the 5 yards and auto-first down rather than the 50-yards for p.i.?
     
  2. Isaac

    Isaac Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Holding is only "holding" if it occurs before the ball is thrown, otherwise it is pass interference (as is all other illegal contact once the ball is in the air).
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2006
  3. Murphys95

    Murphys95 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    That's a great question. It appears that the answer is a judgement call by the official. Grabbing a receiver's jersey is typically classified as defensive holding. However, the actual call I believe depends on where that hold took place (ie. away from the pass play) and whether the ball was being thrown to said receiver. Here's an excerpt from the PI rule:

    Here's part of the defensive holding rule:

     
  4. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Your larger question also underscores why they will not change defensive PI from a spot foul to a 10 or 15 yard penalty and first down. They believe the risk reward would result in lots more defenders taking the "good" penalty as opposed to risking the alternative huge gain. And the NFL is all about scoring and offense because they believe that scoring ia exciting and attracts and retains the casual audience.
     
  5. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

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    Basically, once the ball leaves the passer's hands, a grab of the jersey will be pass interference if the ball is thrown to that receiver. If it occurs before the ball leaves the passer's hands, it will be holding.

    There's an interesting aspect to this distinction. There can be no pass interference on a play where the ball was uncatchable. There is no such exception for holding. So if you grab a player's jersey after the passer has thrown the ball, it might be no penalty at all if the ball was uncatchable. However, if you do the same thing before the passer throws the ball, it can be holding, even if the ball was uncatachable (and even if the ball was thrown to a player on the other side of the field).

    Note that most referrees don't really apply the "leaving the passer's hands" rule that closely. Most of the officials in position to call holding v. pass interference are not (and cannot possibly) be looking at the quarterback. So they use some common sense. If the illegal contact or holding occurs and the ball doesn't show up for a second or two, they will almost always call it a hold, not pass interference. So, on a 40 yard pass, the ball can be 10 yards out of the passer's hands, and it still will usually be called holding. PI is generally reserved for situations where the contact occurs while the receiver is in the process of trying to catch, or getting ready to try to catch, the ball, and everything before that is usually called holding, even though frequently the ball has indeed left that passer's hand.

    As others have noted, you also can't commit pass interference behind the line -- like a shovel or screen pass. That makes sense since PI is a spot foul anyway. Contact behind the line of scrimmage on a receiver is fine, unless it's holding or otherwise some other penalty (e.g., hands to the face, unnecessary roughness, tripping, etc.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2006
  6. arrellbee

    arrellbee Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Really good question for serious fans Live Pats.

    Very informative comments Murph, Mo, and AZ.

    A little off topic:
    I think one of the major factors in all of these questionable PI calls stems from the original "rule emphasis" (ie Colts et al rule). I think it messed up the heads of the officials big time and they are still trying as a collective set of refs to get their 'instincts' tuned to the new 'emphasis'. JMHO. But it sure is frustrating and ugly to see the issues. I am hoping that just more time will settle things down again, but that 'more time' is taking a long while to get here. I am a big supporter of the NFL refereeing emphasis, training, and feedback system. But they may need to do something out of the box on this one. I'd sure like to see it get better.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2006
  7. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well there is supposed to be but unfortunately that too (like everything) is apparently subjective and on a non-reviewable call there is nothing you can do unless the zebras huddle. Some of the top led crews will huddle, while others never question each other's judgement. Sau PI called in one of the Sunday games on a ball that was clearly out of reach and out of bounds when the defenders legs tangled with the WR as he strode out of bounds.

    BB was on WEEI Monday and asked about both our PI penalties. He basically gave his it is what it is answer and said players have to make a judgement and rely on sound technique. Said he isn't in favor of review though on any of the subjective judgement calls because he just thinks it opens pandora's box. That said I think he'd like to see it called a little less subjectively and most of all consistently. He's willing to coach to the standard and take his occasional lumps as long as it's applied equally.
     
  8. lobster

    lobster On the Game Day Roster

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    Incidental contact is allowed after 5 yards but it seems to be enforced such that it won't interfere with the other players movement. Ty Law used to place a hand on the receivers back, but not push him, and they only very rarely called PI on him for that.

    Belichick says the DB's are first to make sure they or another DB is in position to make the tackle, then get in position to bat the ball down, and if you can do that go for the interception. Too often that's not what we say happen on the field against the Bears and PI fouls were the result.
     

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