Bill Belichick wants NFL, NCAA to align rules

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Football on Sunday and football on Saturday are a little bit different, and Bill Belichick would like to change that.

Belichick, the Patriots coach who always has a keen understanding of the rulebook, said this week that he’d like the NFL to adopt the college pass interference rule, which caps penalties at 15 yards. And then Belichick proposed an interesting idea: He said college football and professional football should have the exact same rules.

“I think probably the one thing that is worth looking at is just the college pass interference rules,” Belichick told Rich Eisen. “I know why it’s what it is, and I also know why it’s different in college, and you could argue both sides of it. But it’s a big penalty, and sometimes those are just tough calls. So I think that’s worth looking at.

“I would say just in general, I would be in favor of the NCAA and the NFL trying to consolidate the rulebook to where we can have as many rules be the same as possible so that the fans, as well as the players who come from college, can make a clean transition into the same set of rules instead of different ones.

“So targeting’s targeting, holding’s holding, interference is interference, and so forth. As much as we could do that, I would be in favor of that just for the overall quality of the game. But I think the pass interference rule is not necessarily one I would change, but I would take a look at it, and I think it would be good if it was the same as the college rule — either they change it to ours or we change it to theirs, just from the standpoint of consistency.”

Among the key differences between college rules and NFL rules are that college receivers only have to get one foot inbounds, a college ball carrier is down when his knee touches the ground even if he hasn’t been touched by an opponent, wider hashmarks on the college field and a completely different approach to overtime. Many more minor rules and penalty enforcements are also different.

Belichick’s idea is worth exploring, but there’s plenty of stubbornness in both the college game and the pro game, and it seems like a long shot that either level of football would be willing to adapt its rules for the sake of consistency.

31 responses to “Bill Belichick wants NFL, NCAA to align rules

  1. My only problem with this is if there’s a play that will score and the DB intentionally interferes knowing it will only cost him 15 yards. That could transform an offensive TD into an egregious foul, which we all have seen the NFL blow and ignore these last few years.

    The only way this would work is if egregious fouls got stiffer penalties than 15 yards, like “spot of the foul.” But the NFL doesn’t like to call obvious, intentional fouls. Just ask the Saints.

  2. This makes alot of sense for officiating. College refs could call a NFL game.

    I dont like the 15 yards for pass interference in the NFL. Receivers would mugged even more and most passing plays would result in a penalty. Maybe spot of the foul is too much yardage to be penalized so cap it at 40 yards.

  3. I’d like to see Bill as commissioner of the NFL one day.
    it’s too good to be true unfortunately. he would clean out that rat nest of bloated, bumbling, biased incompetence in short order. the cabal of owners with goodell on a short leash would be scared to death of an independent commissioner, especially the Big Man.

  4. One of the biggest differences is they use a different ball in college. Using the same ball could in theory help QBs and other skill players with the transition to the NFL. That being said, I don’t remember the last player who seemed to have issues with that.. Nor can I recall anybody having ongoing issues with getting 2 feet inbounds, etc.

  5. It would come down to money. The NFL would have to throw some huge cash towards the NCAA to make it happen. Maybe this is could be a source of paying the college players?

  6. Belichick is just looking for an advantage without having to earn it through hard work. He’d instruct his DB’s to tackle the opposing WR’s if there were only a few seconds left in a close game. Let’s not turn the NFL into a circus. Everyone is anxious to see what Belichick can accomplish without Tom Brady. Let’s not change the game. Besides, the college and pro games are so different, it’s almost like two different sports. College kids are graduating right around the time they’re just beginning to pick up a sophisticated offense. That’s why a lot of the college QB’s run. There just isn’t enough time to practice all the different passing game combinations and audibles, etc. And the NFL cornerbacks are so much better than college. They can cover WR’s without having to tackle them.

  7. What he also did not say is that it would potentially allow referees to be fungible between college and pros. It is an interesting idea, but it also suggests then that college football is just a feeder for the NFL…

  8. Good get rid of the 2 minute warning and adopt the college rule of the clock stopping when the chains move. I know it will never happen because the league is not going to give up the ad revenue from the commercial breaks at the 2 min warning.

  9. The NFL and NCAA can’t even get their rules straight among their own programs, good luck creating some kind of inter-league unity. It’s every man for himself, leadership is difficult to come by.

  10. Not a bad idea to change the pass interference rule. Too large of a penalty for something that is a hard call at game speed and, reviewing those calls obviously didn’t work. 15 yards might be too low though. Maybe cap it at 30 yards or spot of foul depending on which is fewer, and the auto first down. Most end zone PA calls would still end up being first and goal.

  11. NFL should’ve adopted college PI rule long ago. Too many plays ran designed to draw penalties change outcome of games.

  12. you can score a TD with one foot in bounds as the ball crosses the goal line, makes sense to allow a catch with one foot in bounds.

  13. If a DB is getting burned for a long TD they can just tackle the WR early or go for the legs etc and it’s only a 15 yard penalty… rule should not change.

  14. Full alignment would be impossible the way the NFL constantly changes and tweaks its rules. How many different flavors of the catch rule, replay rules and kickoffs have we seen from the NFL in recent years?

  15. …….
    charliecharger says:
    August 28, 2020 at 11:18 am
    Belichick is just looking for an advantage without having to earn it through hard work. He’d instruct his DB’s to tackle the opposing WR’s if there were only a few seconds left in a close game.
    Are you aware that all teams use the same rules?

    Save you the trouble of an ignorant reply. If a team can use rules to their advantage, they are a smarter team.

  16. packers291 says: “The worst reason to do something is “because we’ve always done it that way.”

    Right. So let’s change it to 5 downs instead. Or add another player on the field. I mean really, why do we have only 4 downs or 11 players in the rules, other than “because we’ve always done it that way”?

  17. The biggest cheater in the history of sports wants rule changes? That cannot be good for the sport. (In the last 75 years only one NFL team has been disciplined for cheating. And that team was caught twice. And you think the Astros and Red Sox has asterisks? LOL!)

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