Spagnuolo wants explanation of pass interference penalty

Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo says he can’t figure out why a crucial pass interference penalty was called against his team in their overtime loss to the 49ers, insisting that the ball was uncatchable. As a result, Spagnuolo is sending in tape of the play and asking why it was called.

Still, Spagnuolo wants to make it clear that he’s not blaming the officiating for his team’s loss.

We would always send those in,” Spagnuolo said, per 101 ESPN. “And there’s nothing wrong with that. The league allows you to do that, and then they correspond back. Again, I’m not going to go there. I have my own thoughts, but the play was called a DPI, and that’s what we’ve got to live with.”

The penalty was extremely costly, handing the 49ers 22 yards and moving them into range for their game-winning field goal. The player called for the penalty, Rams safety Oshimogho Atogwe, feels the same way — he doesn’t think the ball could have been caught, but he’s not going to go down the path of blaming the officials for a loss.

“I didn’t believe it was a catchable ball,” Atogwe said. “But his job is to make calls and mine is to play the game so–it happens.”

35 responses to “Spagnuolo wants explanation of pass interference penalty

  1. Doesn’t mean the Rams would have won the game anyways. I was watching the game on TV and when I saw the PI I said the same thing. I don’t believe it was the proper call, especially in OT on 3rd down with the offense out of field goal range prior to the penalty. Bad calls happen every week though. I’m a Lions fan, so I’ve seen my share along with some pretty bad football the last couple decades. LOL

  2. It was another horrible call that the league will quietly admit to the Rams that the officials were wrong again. Not a Rams or 49ers fan, but was watching the game and felt like the Rams got hosed. Why are the officials not held accountable for all the rediculous calls made week in and week out?? A player makes a mistake he gets fined/suspended, the officials make mistakes every F’n week and you see the same old men out there the next week blowing calls.

  3. DPI should be a 15 yard penalty, and THAT’S IT. These ridiculous 1st and Goal’s from the 1 on a questionalbe PI call is getting ridiculous. Any weak armed QB can underthrow a ball and PI gets called.

  4. I’m with Spags here. That should not have been a penalty. They really need to change/ amend the pass interference rules to make sure these types of plays are not penalized. It happens a lot, and I cringe at every one of them.

  5. It was ANOTHER terrible call by the officials. Not sure I’ve seen a season with as many terrible calls. I think the NFL needs to take a long hard look at their officiating this off-season. What was once the marquee sport for officiating has dropped off this season for some reason. Not sure if they need to replace some peopleor upgrade their training but this has been the worst officialed season I can remember and it’s having a major affect on who wins and loses these games.

  6. so if the league agrees the refs blew it, they send him a letter saying so. If he mentions the letter, he gets fined.

    Yep, looks like a winner all around for Spagnuolo.

  7. It was clear PI. OJ blocked the receiver’s path without turning to look for the ball. If not for the PI, there’s at least a chance the receiver would have caught it. Officials had no choice but to throw the flag.

  8. I don’t think officials know what pass interference is anymore. That call was bizarre. The ball was uncatchable and really, if you watch the play, the defender was really run into … kind of like the short ball on an up pattern. I recall in the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl after the Giants took the lead. I think on the second to last play, Brady threw a deep bomb to Moss. All Moss had to do in that situation is slow a little and jump, allowing the defender to run into him, and he would have picked up an easy PI. I was shocked Moss didn’t try that. (well, not really). Heck, take a look at the great AP photo of Raiders receiver Jacoby Ford making his overtime catch against Brandon Flowers to set up the TD. Flowers has a hand full of the Ford’s jersey with the ref right there watch. Ford caught the ball, but there was no PI call. Really, the NFL needs to do something about this.

  9. That was a bad call. Smith should have been tackled but instead he throws up a prayer in the middle of the field and incredibly behind, but since the receiver stopped dead in his tracks he gets a free 20 yards? Something doesn’t add up.

  10. As a 49ers fan, I am extremely upset they keep winning. Knock it off San Fran. You’ll need a good QB back and if Andrew Luck and Ryan Mallett stay in school, Jake Locker is gonna be gone early.

  11. It may have looked uncatchable but crazier catches have been made.

    In the least, the refs owed the niners a call their way after taking away 3 TDs.

  12. I know the play Spagz is referring to. It is uncatchable and not PI. Definitely Illegal Contact on Rams however.

    I believe PI ramifications (pun) are harsh but the D absolutely cannot get away with PI to save a TD on an 80yd bomb and only get a 15yd slap on the wrist.

    It IS a fair penalty. The issue is whether it’s called accurately or not.

  13. Is the NFL going to address their pass interference rule at any point?? Why is no one talking about how many games are decided by these PI calls?? Spot of the foul DPI is killing the game. These refs are too inconsistent to have 70 yard penalties deciding outcomes. It should be 15 yards max like college. Maybe 20 on really long plays. It is a crying shame to see hard fought games come down to touchy 50/50 calls by notably inconsistent officials.

  14. blackglass3, I’ve heard others say a 15-yard penalty, and I’m starting to agree with it. If most of the penalties called weren’t so “iffy” to begin with, I could see marking the ball at the spot of the foul–but some refs call it while others don’t. If Goodell doesn’t see fit to make the officiating more consistent, then at least make the penalties that way.

  15. Can you blame Spags??? That call was atrocious….only the Patriots get calls like that after Brady gives Ron Winters the wink!!!!

  16. It was a marginal call, but more to the point — not even CLOSE to the worst calls we’ve seen this year. At least this one is somewhat debatable.

  17. The league should send Steve Spagnuolo back a letter saying:

    Why did Oshimogho Atogwe interfere with the receiver if the ball was uncatchable?

  18. an eagles defender touched mcnabs helmet monday night yet no flag was thrown…. why not?

    OH YEAH he is not GAYTON or BRADIA

    btw…. did you see brady yelling on the side line? it was disturbing.. the way his hair was all messed up during it… UGH

  19. I think they should change it like they did with facemasks. A facemask used to be 15 yards, regardless. Now, there’s the 15 yard facemask and the 5 yard (incidental) facemask. Do the same thing with DPI. Intentional (blatant) DPI is a spot. Iffy or questionable DPI is a 15-yarder (or 10). If you make it all 15-yarders, then why wouldn’t a DB who is in the process of getting beat just grab his guy and drag him to the ground the second he starts to go by? Or if it’s going to be a completion (ball on the way, guy is pretty open with good position), and the receiver is more than 15 yards downfield, he would just maul the receiver before the ball arrives.

  20. If you make PI a 15 yard penalty, just wait until you see the muggings that will happen on any hail mary and bombs.

  21. It was a bad call for 2 reasons.

    Yes, the ball was definitely uncatchable.

    Second, it was the receiver who initiated contact with Atogwe.

  22. As a Pats fan, and we live by the pass, I hate this rule. Incidental contact should be 15 yards. If a d back deliberately interferes, then it should be a spot foul. The problem is no one, even NFL coaches don’t know what PI is. One thing I know for sure, is Manning will get a phantom PI call just when they need it in a crucial spot in the game, as he always does against the Pats, per order of Polian, chairman of the competition committee. Can anyone tell me the last time the Pats got a PI on one of their receivers? Not even Moss could get one.

  23. the problem with pass interference calls is there is a subjective judgement call involved.

    As a Niner’s fan, I thought the ball was catchable. If I were a Ram’s fan I would think there’s no way the receiver could have caught the ball, even if he was that stretchy guy from the Fantastic Four.

    What did happen is that Ram’s Safety Otogwae was on top of Niner’s TE Walker in coverage. The QB was almost sacked but threw the ball up in the middle of the field. Walker saw this and made an effort for the ball. Otogwae didn’t and the two players bumped into each other. Because Walker was looking for the ball and Otagwe wasn’t, in the very least it should be illegal contact down field.

    The NFL rules are designed to prevent DBs from committing intentional PI on deep balls. Think about that 65 yard bomb by Vick to DeSean Jackson. If it was only a 15 yard penalty then PI would have prevented in the very least a 50 yard play (which ended up being a 60 yard TD). If I’m a DB, I’d do that all day long.

    What I propose is two types of PI called. 15 yard penalty for your standard PI call if the receiver is looking for the ball. Spot of the foul if the ball hits the receiver (hands, chest, face, etc…) if the receiver is looking for the ball. This way you know there was a high probability of a reception if not for the PI, therefore a stiffer penalty.

  24. I am a Niner fan but when I saw that play I thought that ball was uncatchable. The pass was poorly thrown to the inside and the receiver had to put the brakes on for a hard stop and then he would have had to change direction and somehow accelerate back to the ball – his abrupt stop created the contact – but there was no way he was going to make those maneuvers a to get back and make that catch.

    The bigger issue is the impact these type of plays have at critical junctures of games. The NFL should automatically review (quickly) from the booth every penalty 15 yard or greater in an OT game – as is these penalties usually swing the outcome.

    For that matter – any regular game in the last three minutes or so with a seven point of less differential should also get this sort of treatment. The booth refs are watching every play and could send a ‘yes 0r no’ to the field without the time wasted waiting for a ref or coach request for a review.

  25. allforfunnplay says:
    Nov 17, 2010 12:37 PM

    I agree with most of your post, but isn’t a defender allowed his position on the field? On a poorly thrown pass, the receiver tried to go through the defender. Why is that PI? Shouldn’t that be offensive PI? The defense is not rewarded for making the QB scramble(because if they hit too hard that is also a penalty) and throw inaccurately. The defense, on this play is penalized for: 1. forcing the Qb out of the pocket 2. forcing a bad throw 3. having great coverage. If this was ten years ago, they would’ve taken the QB’s head off, or if he had been able to escape, withe the QB out of the pocket, contact was allowed, and uncatchable ball. GODdell and Polian are ruining the game. I do agree with the two different penalties for PI.

  26. I think they should change it like they did with facemasks. A facemask used to be 15 yards, regardless. Now, there’s the 15 yard facemask and the 5 yard (incidental) facemask. Do the same thing with DPI. Intentional (blatant) DPI is a spot. Iffy or questionable DPI is a 15-yarder (or 10).


    This is exact opposite of what happened. There USED to be both types of Facemask penalties, now there are only 1 type (15-yard major). The reason for it is they wanted to take the “judgement” factor out of the officials calls. Rather than having to make a quick judgement on if it was 15-yards or 5-yards, they are all just 15-yards now. Same thing with the forcing receivers out of bounds, that was a judgement call that they eliminated from the officials options to call.

    There’s no way they would add an option to call a major or minor PI, that’s going back to adding more judgement calls, rather than enforcing rules and determining in/out of bounds, catch/no catch.

  27. Grogans heroes, I totally disagree with your assessment of Peyton getting PI calls. Yeah he gets his share but you guys have plenty too. First off, no OLINE holds more than yours!!You have to remember Randy Moss’s infamous pushoffs that never got called and all Brady has to do is look at the ref and the hankies are a flying as per Kraft/Goodell are tight!!!

  28. I understand that the rams are saying the ball was uncatchable and therefor the penalty should not have been called…the flip side is, if the ball was uncatchable (according to atogwe) then why hit the receiver at all? Why wouldn’t that be “unnecessary roughness”? I am not saying it should be, I am just saying there is another way to look at it.

    DPI needs to be fixed. It should not be a spot foul that gives the offense potentially 60-70 yards…but the consequences should not be so lenient as to invite muggings at the end of the half/game. Split the yardage difference with an automatic first down, maybe?

  29. grogansheros & finfan68 – the defender cannot impede the receiver’s right to the ball. the defender has a right to the ball too. but Atogwae’s HEAD WAS NOT TURNED TO PLAY THE BALL. The key is the defender is supposed to play the ball and on not the receiver. Walker saw the ball and tried to go to it. Atogwae’s back was to the ball, he didn’t know it was in the air so he unintentionally prevented walker from getting to the ball. The point is that Atogwae should know if the ball is in the air.

    sportsfreak – the point is not simplification it’s eliminating SUBJECTIVITY from the officiating. In the case of facemask penalties, the official had to judge if it was an “intentional” face mask. How can you tell if it’s intentional? They used to say if the player’s head twisted with the facemask grab. But that’s kind of iffy. My solution adds another layer of penalties but mostly REMOVES SUBJECTIVITY from the call while maintaining the intent of the penalties. It’s difficult to argue that a ball was catchable if the receiver’s head is turned looking for the ball and the ball its the receiver in someway. There’s little subjectivity in the officiating.

  30. catchable? give me a break? firstly the receiver down the middle of the field veered to the right and the ball was thrown to a spot 10-15 yards to the left and hit the ground at that spot. at the moment the ball hit the ground contact was made between the receiver and the d-back. nfl is becoming a farce. refs can decide games and do with no video replay for penalties. refs should not even be involved in replay. if replay is required nfl office should be sole judge. otherwise all you have is the group of officials reviewing their own decision.

  31. Here’s the problem with 15 yard penalty on PI. Every single defender once they know they got beat.. they will tackle the receiver to prevent the TD or the long play….

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