Troy Vincent: 15-yard pass interference rule change has “momentum”

Getty Images

As the league gets set to review potential rule changes at next week’s owners’ meetings in Orlando, Fla., NFL Executive Vice President Troy Vincent pointed to one possibility getting more support than anticipated.

According to Kevin Seifert of, Vincent said changing pass interference from a spot foul to a 15-yard maximum penalty has “momentum” despite not being officially endorsed by the competition committee.

It has some momentum,” Vincent said. “That has some momentum. We had good discussion in the room. It will be interesting when we get with the coaches. … I don’t want to get ahead of it, but I can tell you this: It had momentum in the room among the competition committee.”

College football uses the 15-yard pass interference penalty instead of the spot foul. The downside of the rule is that defenders can maul open receivers deep downfield knowing that the penalty is only 15 yards instead allowing a 40-, 50-, or 60-yard touchdown. The benefit would be that an offensive player can’t flop his way to a pass interference call that benefits a trailing offensive team disproportionally.

The NFL has looked into changes to the rule before and always held firm to its current penalties. Given that changes didn’t receive support from the competition committee, it still seems unlikely enough of the ownership would be willing to make changes to the rule at this point in time, particularly with scoring down across the NFL.

But it seems to have enough support to garner a real debate next week, which could stabilize the ground for future discussions regarding the rule.

35 responses to “Troy Vincent: 15-yard pass interference rule change has “momentum”

  1. What they should do is keep it as it is, make sure they’re correctly ruling defensive holding/illegal contact vs. pass interference, and take the automatic first down away from the former penalty. That one should be five yards and replay the down. It’s the worst when your defense gives up third-and-long because of a ticky tack holding call. Pass interference is a significant infraction, and should come with a significant penalty– otherwise, it benefits the DB too much to pull a guy down whenever one gets behind them.

  2. Why don’t they make the play more punitive for the offensive player. If the penalty on defense can be over 50 yards but never more than 15 on offense, this is too lopsided. What if they actually started calling offensive interference and the penalty was equal distant to the play, similar to how the defense is penalized.

  3. Defensive mauling is right. Get ready for lots of complaining and general resentment if this goes through.

    Which is why I say, “Bring it on!”

    Besides, shouldn’t the league do something nice for defenses once in awhile?

  4. Let me offer a hybrid solution. What about giving officials the discretion to decide if the interference penalty should be 15 yards or a spot foul down field based on the defenders intent?

  5. Given how subjective PI calls already are, I support having two types of PI calls, a spot foul for blatant PIs and a 15 yard max for ones deemed more “incidental”. This way we remove the mugging issue, while giving leeway to call deep ticky tack PI calls without it going for huge yardage.

  6. This literally eliminates the contested long pass. Everything is gonna be a defender erring on the side of PI.

  7. It will actually get called more often in the big games. When players get mauled anyway and refs are afraid of changing the outcome of the game.

    Recent Hail Mary in whatever recent NFL playoff game was maul city and was not called. I’m sure someone here is still mad about it.

    Also, players get mauled before the ball is not (or sometimes is) in the air all the time, so then the ref has to make a judgement call whether it’s holding or PI.

    Great rule change. Gives the ref a better opp to not be the bad guy but the honest guy. Guys get mauled on possible touchdowns and those clearly beaten pump fakes all the time anyway. Offense might actually BENEFIT. That’s why it has some traction plus taking the onus off the refs. Win-win

  8. College needs the 15 yard rule because so many games are complete mismatches. When a guy like Calvin Johnson is being guarded by a 5 ft 9 guy from Duke who runs a 4.8 40 then you see how things could get out of hand without such a rule.

    The NFL pass interference rule used to be fine until refs started handing them ut like candy. Used to be that the DB had to actually impede the WR from making a play on the ball. Now refs give out 50 yards just for a slight jersey tug or even just being in a better position than the WR.

    If the NFL does change, they need to have 2 penalties. The 15 yarder but then the spot foul for the egregious “breakaway” tackle by a DB who is beaten badly.

  9. Why defensive pass interference is not the same penalty as offensive pass interference really doesn’t make any sense… Would love to hear any form of a decent argument against that. Defensive back has to be the hardest position on the defense to play and way too often is a game decided on the spot foul of a blown judgement call. Keep it the same on both sides of the ball

  10. That would be horrible. Coaches would teach their players to intentionally interfere on deep balls than give up the big play. Hate this idea.

  11. It should not even be considered one bit, ball should go where the foul was, end of story, the foul was committed there the ball should go there.

  12. Please,make the change, no penalty changes the game more. No
    penalty has such a wide range of interpretation by officials.
    College football has not suffered by using the 15 yard penalty.

  13. I get your point, but when was the last time a receiver was “mauled” down the field by a defender in college?

  14. If they want less offense and a less exciting game, this is the way to go. I don’t want to watch a game where a DB will just tackle a guy if he’s beat

  15. The solution for the NFL is staring them right in the face. The CFL has kept the penalty as a spot foul which is appropriate to keep DBs from knocking down receivers the whole game but they have made the penalty reviewable. Given the size of the penalty the call should be challenged and sent upstairs where they can look at it closer.

  16. darkgoody says:
    March 22, 2018 at 1:29 am
    This is crazy talk. How would the Patriots win games?

    Oh well. Fire up to camcorder!
    -Bill Belicheck

  17. Let me offer a hybrid solution. What about giving officials the discretion to decide if the interference penalty should be 15 yards or a spot foul down field based on the defenders intent?
    I like this idea. Spot foul if the DB tackles the receiver but 15 yards if it is incidental contact. Also, why is pass interference treated so differently? If you get a defensive holding penalty at the 6 yard line, you get the ball at the 3 no matter where the holding was. PI even from the 50 yard line into the end zone is at the 1 yard line. Plus, PI isn’t worse than some of the personal foul flags that only get you 15 yards. Punching a guy or cheap shots like Suh and Burfict do are less severe then a DB touching a receiver?

  18. How would the Packers stay in contention? Without the ability for A-rod to look at the ref and throw his hands up any time a slight breeze blows on his receiver and magically get a PI call how could they win those close games?

  19. The pass interference penalty should be 10 yards PLUS half the distance to the spot of the foul. That is enough of a deterrent for the defense, but not a “gimme” the Offense. Fouls at spot less than 10 yards would be a 10 yard penalty and that’s it. (Todd T. in SC)

  20. There goes one third of Green Bay’s offence. Now they will have to do even more quick snaps while the defence is changing ( one of the other thirds of their “offence”).

  21. That is such a bad idea. Encourages DB’s to intentionally commit penalties when they’re beat downfield. “I got beat, now i can risk giving up a 50 yard TD or i can just blatantly interfere and wipe out this big play”

    SIMPLIFY THE PI RULES and make them easier to interpret so there are fewer of them, so there aren’t a bunch of useless ticky tack judgment calls that flip games. Encouraging them to be intentionally committed in big play situations IS NOT THE ANSWER!

    How do they honestly not grasp this concept?

    Simple things made unnecessarily difficult. The NFL way.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.