Rivera wants more consistency regarding pass interference

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As the NFL inches closer toward the annual consideration of potential rule changes, one member of the Competition Committee’s coaching subcommittee would focus on one specific area of the game, if he were the Commissioner for a day.

Pass interference.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera, the 2013 NFL coach of the year, explained his views on the situation during a Wednesday visit to The Dan Patrick Show.

“I think if there was one that a lot of coaches talk about that has a lot of concern throughout the league is the consistency with what pass interference is,” Rivera said.  “I think on both sides on offense and defense, I think that is the hard one.  That is the one that we need to make sure we can get fixed because too many people talk about it, every week somebody has something to say about it, good or bad.  So I think that is the one that really has to be evaluated, looked at, and found out the best way to do it because right now there is a lot of gray area and a lot of people aren’t quite sure.”

Pass interference escapes replay review, given that it’s a “judgment call.”  But maybe, with the availability of multiple camera angles, that should change.

“On one side of it, it’s such a huge play, it can impact a game,” Rivera said.  “I mean, a guy can throw the ball from the 50 yard line into the end zone and now it’s a judgment call now that ball goes from being on the 50 to being on the one yard line that to me is a huge impact. . .   Maybe you need to look at it any time the ball is thrown into the end zone, because I mean a 49-yard swing, so I think there are some things that really have to be considered.”

Periodically, the question arises as to whether pass interference should result in only 15 yards of field position, no matter how far down the field it occurs.  If that change won’t be made, perhaps technology should be used to ensure that clear errors of judgment made by the officials in real time can be rectified after the fact.

15 responses to “Rivera wants more consistency regarding pass interference

  1. I disagree with the 15 yard penalty for interference. It would be the end of any pass play over 15 yards. Players would simply be coached to interfere anytime the play is longer than 15 yards because the damage would be less than a completed pass.

  2. Personally, I think PI should be a 15 yarder and 1st down, or half the distance to the goal inside of the 15 yard line, not a spot foul. That way, it balances out better for both sides. The offense picks up a 1st down and the defense doesn’t potentially give up huge yardage.

  3. This has been a problem for years! Make it reviewable, and, go to a central review location using all available camera replays. Rivera is right. A 50-yard swing on a judgment call.

  4. Every play or penalty should be reviewable. The refs are having way to much input out the outcome of games. Also, no more waiting 10 – 15 seconds after a play is overand then throwing a flag.

  5. The simplest fix for PI is to make it reviewable, and add 2 different penalties. One, the ‘incidental contact’ type (hand on a shoulder, where there was interference but not necessarily something that would stop the receiver) should be a 10-15 yarder, with a first down. The other, where the defender outright mugs the receiver, is a spot of the foul and first down one. And make the review done by the person who threw the flag, so he can get the call right.

    PI calls (and non-calls) can change games. The Pats were a PI non-call from being 13-3 (and potentially hosting the AFC championship game), and another PI call from being 11-5 and at least the 3 seed (maybe the 4 seed, depending on tiebreakers.) When 1 penalty can be the margin of victory, especially in a pass-happy league, then they should endeavor to make the correct call 100% of the time.

  6. The real problem that no one is discussing are the theatrics that receivers are allowed to get away with, after they flub the catch. They don’t haul in the “unbelievable throw”, with a stellar, nearly impossible catch, and what do they do? Immediately either start yelling for the refs to throw a flag, because the CB “touched them”, enroute to the completion, or they find a way to fall down “artfully”, to make it appear that they were shoved or bumped hard. That’s what needs to be reviewed, just what interference, if any, actually occurred.

    By taping and later DVR’ing games over the years I’ve captured many such “false interference” calls, that upon slo-mo and freeze frame reviews were proven to have been solely interference in the minds of the WR’s. If I can do that, the NFL should be able to as well, and a central control point should be able to enable them to do so.

  7. That’s a fantastic start, but please don’t stop there. We want more consistency in ALL officiating calls, both in the regular and post season.

  8. PI should definitely be reviewable. It’s such a big play that every team has a “throw it up for grabs and pray for a PI” in their playbook.

    Furthermore, I think they should get rid of the tick tacky type PI calls. PI should only be called in clear situations, but the league wants high scoring games. So nothing will be done.

  9. You’re right Ron, I’ve got a starting point for you. When the defender bear hugs the receiver and railroads him eight yards through the end zone, so he doesn’t have a chance to compete for the ball, it should be PI. Every time.

  10. Absolutely agree. Any play that can either cost one team or reward another 20, 30 or 40 yards should be challengeable, or at the very least be reviewable.

    The refs can then award a spot foul and a first down assured that it is the right call. Otherwise the momentum swing very often is the difference between winning and losing.

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