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Should offensive pass interference be a spot foul, too?

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The PFT Planet segment from PFT Live (which is on hiatus until July 28) includes plenty of interesting questions on a variety of timely topics.  Some broader philosophical points trickle through from time to time.

Last week, semi-regular caller John in Portland asked whether the penalty for offensive pass interference should match the yardage of the spot where the foul occurred.  For example, if offensive interference happens 25 yards down the field, should the offense be pushed back 25 yards?

That gave me an idea that would seem to be even more fair, in light of the penalty for defensive pass interference.  If it’s assumed when a defender interferes with an offensive player that the offensive player would have caught the ball (even if the offensive player has a reputation for, you know, dropping the ball), why not presume that the defensive player would have made the interception, but for the interference from an offensive player?

The response would be that not every instance of offensive pass interference entails keeping a defender from intercepting the ball.  The foul commonly consists of a player pushing off to get separation when the ball is in the air.  Still, if a defensive player pushes or grabs or shoves to erase separation and the end result is a presumed catch by the offensive player, why shouldn’t efforts to push or grab or shove defensive backs away from the path of the ball result in a presumed catch by the defensive player?

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45 Responses to “Should offensive pass interference be a spot foul, too?”
  1. acousticphan says: Jul 6, 2014 10:38 AM

    No.

  2. lightcleric says: Jul 6, 2014 10:42 AM

    Those two poll options aren’t mutually exclusive…

  3. idoubtiwillbother says: Jul 6, 2014 10:44 AM

    All pass interference should be a 15 yard penalty.

  4. slickzmoney says: Jul 6, 2014 10:44 AM

    Like the idea of “spot-foul” but not change of possession.

  5. ravens0587 says: Jul 6, 2014 10:45 AM

    I don’t think loss of possession should occur but a yardage penalty and loss of down should occur such as pass past the line of scrimmage or Intentional grounding.

  6. baltimoremikeg says: Jul 6, 2014 10:46 AM

    Nope.

  7. floriofan says: Jul 6, 2014 10:46 AM

    The ultimate punishment to an offense is loss of down.

    10 yards and a loss of down seems fair.

  8. ajg314 says: Jul 6, 2014 10:48 AM

    Unless, you know, you want to rethink the, you know, whole premise of pass interference, unless you don’t.

  9. toad8572 says: Jul 6, 2014 10:50 AM

    Assuming the defender would catch the ball is quite a stretch; they’re not receivers.

  10. gallaghedj311 says: Jul 6, 2014 10:50 AM

    awesome poll

  11. tremoluxman says: Jul 6, 2014 10:55 AM

    If it’s a presumed reception on defensive PI, it should be a presumed INT on offensive PI. Fair’s fair.

  12. doctorrustbelt says: Jul 6, 2014 10:57 AM

    I have a better idea… don’t call bogus pass interferences that unfairly usher tom brady into the playoffs with a first round bye.

  13. cjnbsc says: Jul 6, 2014 10:58 AM

    No. But defensive pass interference should only be 15 yards, unless it’s in the end zone. In which case it goes to the one as it is.

    It’s reduce lots how easy it has gotten for the offence. Protecting players is one thing, making it a turkey shoot for the offence takes away from the game.

  14. qdog112 says: Jul 6, 2014 11:08 AM

    The stupid and stubborn NFL, should adopt college football’s 15 yard penalty for interference. 40-50 yards penalties is dumb.

    If they want more offense, they should also adopt the “one foot in rule” for receptions. It would eliminate about 5 replay reviews per game.

  15. mdd913 says: Jul 6, 2014 11:18 AM

    If a rule like this ever passed Roddy White’s career is virtually over.

  16. 2sloweggroll says: Jul 6, 2014 11:28 AM

    Loss of down

  17. judsonjr says: Jul 6, 2014 11:39 AM

    Agree with the guy who said 10 yards and a loss of down. The lack of loss of down really makes it worthwhile for WR to push off on 3rd down.

  18. vickspuppy says: Jul 6, 2014 11:46 AM

    The Bears would never complete a pass to a WR again.

  19. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Jul 6, 2014 11:46 AM

    I don’t think EITHER of them should be a spot foul — it’s a call that’s often blown, and thus, results in an enormous shift in strategic advantage based frequently upon fallible and flawed judgment.

    There are a small number of things college football does better — and I think their approach to P.I. is superior.

  20. guppies66 says: Jul 6, 2014 11:58 AM

    Mike, it’s a great idea to explore.

    Of course, these NBA-style yahoos on here want to see scoring in the 50′s, so they’ll be against anything that gets back to real football.

  21. notthetroll says: Jul 6, 2014 12:16 PM

    nope. and the spot foul on the defensive player is right in most cases. It was made for when a back gets juked out of his shoes and grabs to prevent an easy TD. There are highlights almost every week illustrating the same. When it gets bad is a lame call that goes for 35 yards. Most offensive PI is a simple push for separation which is on almost every pass play. Sometimes little push gets a call sometimes a huge push off doesn’t. How about that gets fixed?

  22. lukedunphysscienceproject says: Jul 6, 2014 12:43 PM

    The NFL will never again make a rule change that benefits the defense.

  23. sportsbastard says: Jul 6, 2014 1:04 PM

    Agree with everyone above, PI should be 15yds (like NCAA), and OPI should be 5-10yds and loss of down. The stubborn NFL needs to look at the items NCAA does better with (PI, overtime, booth reviews) and adopt.

  24. jagsandliquor says: Jul 6, 2014 1:09 PM

    Best poll ever

  25. southpaw79 says: Jul 6, 2014 1:37 PM

    How about you work on the Refs making the right calls game in and game out? Until the calls are actually correct on the field, there should be NO WAY that a ref can just hand the ball over to the defense because he feels like it. Reviews for all penalties real time from a NFL rep at each stadium. To fill in any dead spots due to the review, all cheerleaders will have water balloon fights while any review is underway.

  26. granadafan says: Jul 6, 2014 2:02 PM

    I vote C. All of the above

  27. revelation123 says: Jul 6, 2014 2:03 PM

    What would a defender rather give up, a 70 yard bomb for a TD, or 15 yards for a pass interference penalty?

    If all pass interference was a 15 yard penalty, there would be many more passes interfered with which are beyond 15 yards.

    The solution isn’t to make it a 15 yard penalty; that just creates more problems. The solution is to make sure the refs get the PI call accurate in the first place.

    If the refs can be relied upon to make accurate decisions, then we can talk about it being a spot foul for both the offense and defense.

  28. fbcjim says: Jul 6, 2014 2:08 PM

    Why is a roofing the passer a loss of down but an offensive pass interference not a loss of down? Wouldn’t a 15 yard pregnant and a loss of down be a more appropriate penalty?

  29. lalder95 says: Jul 6, 2014 2:13 PM

    How about this- make 2 separate penalties for defensive P.I.

    Make a standard Pass Interference that is a 15 yard penalty against the defense

    Have an “Open Field Pass Interference”, which would be when the intended receiver is the farthest player down field at the time of interference, sort of like the NBA’s “Open Court Foul”, or whatever they call it. This would be a spot-of-the-foul penalty.

    Doing it that way would make it so it’s not such a massive penalty every time, but it would also prevent a defensive player from tackling a wide-open receiver to prevent an easy touchdown.

  30. indianarams says: Jul 6, 2014 2:17 PM

    I would just be happy if they would review the dang call and get it right. The most critical penalty in football and there is no review?

  31. trubblman says: Jul 6, 2014 2:21 PM

    No and I dont think defensive PI should be a spot foul either. Defensive PI rewards the offense too much. Defensive PI should be a 15 yard penalty.

  32. einherjer00 says: Jul 6, 2014 2:23 PM

    “This dumb idea gave me an even worse idea!”

  33. timtheenchanter1 says: Jul 6, 2014 2:25 PM

    Absolutely. The appropriate reaction to one penalty being far too onerous is to take a different penalty and make it even more onerous than the first.

  34. timmyp716 says: Jul 6, 2014 2:52 PM

    Irrelevant. The league doesn’t call offensive pass interference.

  35. usdcoyotesfan says: Jul 6, 2014 2:52 PM

    OPI and DPI should be the same yardage.

  36. ugadogs21 says: Jul 6, 2014 2:52 PM

    Nope. What happens if the offense begins play at their own one yard line? Half the distance to goal is already stupidest consequence and it would be insane to give two points for a safety.

  37. haraldsigurdson says: Jul 6, 2014 3:39 PM

    Dick Lane’s interception record would rapidly disappear.

  38. celticsforever says: Jul 6, 2014 3:40 PM

    I’m shocked that the DB’s aren’t flagged for simply defending the receivers, legally. Hard to have 55-48 games with DB’s actually batting passes away from would-be receivers.

  39. 4512dawg4512 says: Jul 6, 2014 4:57 PM

    Absolutely! I’m sick of seeing cornerbacks get beat deep and then try to cling onto the receiver in order to save what likely would have been a touchdown, but instead they only get 15 yards. Dumb! Spot foul all the way!

  40. eezyxyz says: Jul 6, 2014 6:12 PM

    Nah, doesn’t really make sense. You identified the main issue, which is that offensive PI is very rarely an attempt to prevent an INT.

    In fact, remember that an offensive player can draw a PI penalty when away from the pass and not the intended receiver … this is never true of a defensive player (although they can be called for holding away from the play).

    So, it really, really makes no sense to assume the DB would have caught the ball and award an INT when the offensive PI is, for example, a pick by a WR away from the intended WR.

  41. crackbubba says: Jul 6, 2014 7:09 PM

    Here is how it “should” be. If the player who is interfered with still ends up touching the ball with both of his hands, it is a spot of the ball foul for defense PI, and a turnover for offensive PI. If he doesn’t touch the ball with both of his hands, it is a 15 yard personal foul both sides, and loss of down for offensive PI, automatic first for defensive PI. Make all called/missed calls replay reviewable.

  42. phinsfanjoz says: Jul 6, 2014 7:21 PM

    I don’t believe either PI should be a spot foul. Way too easy for it to get called and give a ridiculous advantage to the team that the call benefited.

    I like the idea of either penalty being simply 5 or 10 yards. Make it automatic first down for the offense if it’s DPI, and if it’s OPI, sure why not, make it loss of down? That sounds fair and interesting.

    40+ yard gains due to DPI is atrocious, and it needs to stop.

  43. VenerableAxiom says: Jul 6, 2014 7:51 PM

    Everyone pretty much agrees that the spot foul on DPI can at times be an excessive penalty. On the other hand if it were a 15 yd penalty, the DB would be stupid not to PI on every play beyond that distance, especially if the play could result in a score. The 15 yd penalty would be a much better alternative for the defense.

    Since only about 5% or less of NFL pass offensive plays are beyond 20 yards, I have a suggestion. Make all DPI calls within 20 yards of the line of scrimmage a spot, with the maximum penalty 2o yards. This makes it not excessive either way, short or long, but enough to make it overly advantageous to the defense to blatantly foul on any possible big play.

    With an OPI other than separation to complete a pass, there is also the likely possibility for a turnover. So it could be said the offensive player would be better off interfering and take a 10yard penalty. Therefor, 15 and loss of down seems to be a more appropriate penalty.

    Finally, it would be a better game if the officials only called PI on blatant interference rather that some of the ticky-tack calls they make. Let the players play and keep the officiating at bay.

  44. walkinginthewasteland says: Jul 7, 2014 8:33 AM

    fbcjim says: Jul 6, 2014 2:08 PM

    Why is a roofing the passer a loss of down but an offensive pass interference not a loss of down? Wouldn’t a 15 yard pregnant and a loss of down be a more appropriate penalty?
    ____________________

    Spellchecker >>> You

  45. grumpyoleman says: Jul 7, 2014 9:00 AM

    Not everything in life has to be “fair”. Go Redskins.

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