Troy Vincent: NFL defensive backs could game the system on pass interference

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The league’s owners will vote next week on a proposal to shorten pass interference penalties to 15 yards. But the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations — who just happens to be a former NFL cornerback — sounds skeptical.

Troy Vincent said today that while limiting pass interference penalties to 15 yards works in college, in the NFL defensive backs would be able to exploit the rule to prevent open receivers from making big plays.

“The professional defensive backs were too skilled, too smart and could play the play so they could be strategic about it,” Vincent said. “You don’t want the defensive back being able to strategically grab a guy.”

The proposal put forward would limit most pass interference penalties to 15 yards, as is the case in college. It would, however, have an exception that “intentional and egregious” pass interference would remain as is, with the offense getting the ball at the spot of the foul.

That could have its own problems, as officials might have a hard time determining what constitutes “intentional and egregious.” It’s easy to see why Vincent sounds skeptical — and why most observers don’t expect the owners to adopt the proposed rule change.

58 responses to “Troy Vincent: NFL defensive backs could game the system on pass interference

  1. But coaches and QBs gaming the system to bail them out of 3rd and long scenarios is a-ok. Gotcha.

  2. They need to do something to change that spot foul rule because the defense is always at a disadvantage when they throw those desperate jump balls and the receiver is just trying to draw a flag! That’s not football to me

  3. I have always wanted a hybrid DPI call (as well as a loss of down for OPI). However, we all know which teams (NE, GB) would get the spot fouls while all other offenses get 15 yarders.

  4. Right now QBs exploit the rule. Just throw it deep slightly uncatchable, hope the DB bumps the WR, 50 yd gain. Even if INT it’s basically a punt. If the WR bumps the DB it’s 10 yd and a do-over.

  5. It’s a good debate, but Vincent is definitely correct. 15 yards vs. spot of the foul opens up the game to “strategic fouls” like the NBA, which I consider an awful aspect of any game.

  6. The proposal put forward would limit most pass interference penalties to 15 yards, as is the case in college. It would, however, have an exception that “intentional and egregious” pass interference would remain as is, with the offense getting the ball at the spot of the foul.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Vincent is right and the intentionally vague wording above is exploitable also. It is there to show there is a way to deal with it but that option could be treated the way they treat pass interference on a hail mary.

    If you are going to make a distinction then make that distinction matter. Some people think it is strategic and/or gamesmanship but I view it as cheating because it is intentionally ignoring a rule. I would set it up like this on a player by player seasonal basis: 1st case is a spot foul, second offense adds a fine and immediate ejection (even if the first offense was in a previous game) and 3rd offense adds a suspension from the next game on top of the spot foul and ejection. Treat cheating like it is actually cheating.

  7. He is absolutely wrong and I hate this argument. If a DB is in position to interfere like he says, he will just play defense. Football is way too fast, no defensive player in real time will determine that an automatic 15 yard penalty is better than just defending the play.

    Want your proof? It never happens in college. Ever.

  8. Unless the NFL is looking to eliminate all long passes and Hail Marys then they need to leave this rule alone.

  9. They game it even now, the difference is, the penalty can be much harsher then 15 yds.

    A true penalty would be to give the guy a TD or automatically at the 1 yd line.

    Sort of like a NFL version of a clear path to the basket (in this case endzone).

    I’m not suggesting we do that, I’m just saying that’s where it COULD go. That’s in the range of options that’s possible.

    If you’re going to prevent someone from being wide open and scoring a TD, the penalty MUST be harsh. Thus it should be how it is.

    They should maybe make it a little more harsh, since sometimes a guy can be past the guy and behind the whole defense, but not that far down the field, and it ends up being a short penalty.

    Thus they should change it to something like, spot foul + 10 or 15 yards. That way, unless you are in half the distance territory, the penalty is harsh.

    The college rule is just stupid easy to game.

  10. 15 yard penalty, but spot of the foul after the 2 minute warnings. This takes the responsibility off of the refs plate… They already have enough to watch/read/react to, and think about. Less is more when it comes to refs making judgment calls.

  11. sopadegato says:
    March 23, 2018 at 10:54 am
    But coaches and QBs gaming the system to bail them out of 3rd and long scenarios is a-ok. Gotcha
    ————————–
    Well yeah, how else am I going to keep my drive alive?

    -Tom Brady

  12. I think the decade was the 60’s but i’m not 100% sure, but I do know it used to be 15 yard max, then was changed to the current format because of that very reason. In my opinion, this is one rule that does NOT need changing. Keep it the way it is.

  13. “The professional defensive backs were too skilled, too smart and could play the play so they could be strategic about it,” Vincent said. “You don’t want the defensive back being able to strategically grab a guy.”

    I don’t buy that argument. The better play is to actually cover the guy and create an incompletion. Sure, a 15 yard gain is better defensively than a 40 yard gain, but if a DB keep interfering, the offense keeps getting 15 yards and a first down, and that DB will be out of a job. If the DB really were too skilled and too smart, he won’t need to resort to interference.

  14. have an exception that “intentional and egregious” pass interference would remain as is,

    Great idea, let the refs speculate on what is intentional or egregious. You know, the same ones that are not sure what pass interference is to start with. And the same ones that don’t know what a catch is or isn’t.
    If we are moving the the game towards speculation and opinion, rather than facts and standards, lets change the way TD’s are awarded points. A set of impartial judges, awarding 1-10 points for style, length, and most important, originality of celebration dance. You know, like figure skating. Just keep the Russians out of it. Their niche is elections.

  15. Hypocritical or not, the NFL wants offense and the current rule creates offense. The 15yd deal isn’t going to fly. They could fix the PI issue by adding a booth official to review the plays and make the right call. Fans get those reviews immediately after the play. No reason the refs should not either.

  16. They just need to do a better job of determining whether or not a play is actually pass interference. Is it currently reviewable? It should be.

  17. Long PI penalties decide more games than any other penalty. The simple fix would be to make PI a challengeable call by coaches

  18. Another thing: personal foul penalties, which guys can get ejected for, are 15 yards and a first down. But a pass interference can be potentially 40 yards.

    This would not ruin the game. What ruins the game is QBs chucking it deep and the receiver flopping for a flag.

  19. chickensalad43 says:
    March 23, 2018 at 11:34 am
    Another thing: personal foul penalties, which guys can get ejected for, are 15 yards and a first down. But a pass interference can be potentially 40 yards.

    This would not ruin the game. What ruins the game is QBs chucking it deep and the receiver flopping for a flag.

    —-

    Great comment. Your most egregious infractions get you 15, a flop can get you 40. And lets face it receivers do it all the time. With some teams I it seems like refs wait to see whether receivers complain before the flag ever comes out.

  20. Three solutions:

    1. Change it to a 15 yard penalty

    2. Divide PI into two categories. 1. Incidental PI (CB accidentally runs into the WR because they stop mid route for example) = 15 yards. 2. Flagrant PI (DB’s maul WR’s and they have no chance) = Spot of the foul.

    3. Keep the rule the same but allow it to be reviewable or challenged by coaches.

  21. So dumb, most of the time, its a judgement call, why make it even more of a judgement call. Just make all Pass Interference Calls reviewable. SMH.

  22. The NFL’s pass interference rule is the worst rule in football….next to what is a catch. Right now the offense is gaming the system. The 15 yard rule neutralizes that. The NCAA gets it. Why cant the geniuses in the NFL?

  23. “The simple fix would be to make PI a challengeable call by coaches”
    _________________

    I love your optimism but they can’t reliably decide if guys did simple things like catch the ball. You really think they could go frame by frame on replay and decide if all the hand fighting and jostling was incidental or truly PI? Replay review of judgment calls would be disastrous with the review decisions being equally questionable as the original calls.

  24. Why does the NFL feel compelled to change long-standing rules year after year? Why can’t they simply leave the game alone and play the games here in the US?

    Nobody wants constant rule changes….
    Nobody wants games in London….
    Nobody wants games in Mexico…
    Nobody wants games in China….
    Nobody wants games on Thursday night…

  25. This is a non-solvable problem. Offensive players take advantage of the current rule by throwing short and having the WR stop and intentionally get run into by the DD. DB’s will certainly give a shove or a yank when they think they’re beat and it’s worth a shorter gain. No way out of it unless you give the refs the option of calling intentional OPI and DPI; (you know, like they did it years ago before slo-mo instant replay). But then all hell will break loose.

  26. You want to stop “flagrant” PI?

    1st and goal at the opponent 1 yard line no matter where the actual spot of the foul is.

    That should take care of it. Problem solved.

  27. Vincent is an idiot. The 50-yard questionable PI call needs to be a thing of the past. Put a flagrant clause in there for obvious TD save intentional fouls. Way better than the current rule.

  28. All these rule changes being discussed have a lot of variables in them. I am not sure about any of the details being pandered about. BUT one thing I am sure of. If the DB’s game the system it will NOT be because as Vincent said they are “too smart”. When I watch NFL football the one thing that never occurs to me and I have never remarked upon is “that player, especially DB’s, is too smart”…

  29. Maybe they should stop being such sticklers about PI and let the WR and DB fight it out for the ball. Let them be at least reasonably physical with each other.

  30. Glad to see they’re finally realizing this.

    It wouldn’t take a “flagrant” move for a DB to intentionally sabotage a pass play. All you’d have to do is a little bit of alligator-arms that blocks one of the receivers arms. I’m sure every DB would get the hang of it in the first couple weeks of training camp.

    Then it would be goodbye to the long bomb, for good.

    Just keep the current rule and make it reviewable. (And make ALL plays reviewable while they’re at it, though keep the # of allowed reviews the same.)

  31. If the defense can be penalized 50 yards why can’t the offense be penalized 50 yards. Coaches choice on offensive PI…either yardage which should be back to the 1 not half the distance, or add the yardage to the first down to gain.

  32. I’ve never liked the spot foul rule on pass interference. It’s too much like a lottery. How about: shorter of foul location or 20 yards, and eliminate the “egregious” nonsense?

  33. The egregious thing is nice in theory but anytime you give a ref grey area he’s likely to screw it up. I do know that on any pass play longer than 15 yards I’d be telling my guys to interfere if they can’t intercept

  34. I wish they would eliminate the automatic 1st downs from many of the penalties. (Except personal fouls of course). How many times have we seen a 3rd-and-20(plus) wiped out by a defensive holding, “5 yard penalty, and automatic 1st down.” That’s not right. If a penalty, be it Pass Interference, or Defensive Holding, or whatever results in a 1st down, so be it, all for it. But an automatic?.. No. Does the offense get a loss of down on an offensive hold? Nope. The defense shouldn’t either.

  35. Just have the same standard for both offensive and defensive players. Often times the WR can create contact without any call but the littlest contact by DB there is a flag. I understand the league likes offense but WR and DB should have the same standard at what constituted PI

  36. “With some teams I it seems like refs wait to see whether receivers complain before the flag ever comes out”

    Don’t buy that since almost every receiver on every team cries for a flag after every play these days, whether there was any reason for one or not.

  37. For myself, it general, I think it should remain a spot foul. The part I don’t like is when the ball is thrown in an intentional way so that the receiver has to run through the DB to get it, generating a foul.

    How about something like this? … If the pass interference happens as a result of the receiver changing speed or direction it is a 15 yard penalty on the DB, otherwise it is a spot foul on the DB.

  38. Nobody wants constant rule changes…
    Nobody wants games in London…
    Nobody wants games in Mexico…
    Nobody wants games in China…
    ======

    I do!

    Send the Patriots there!

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