With the lockout not looking at ending anytime soon, I thought I might bring up some other more general ideas to debate on MHR. With that in mind I come to rules in the NFL that you would like changed and why. My first suggestion is to change the pass interference rule to something resembling college. Follow me after the jump for the framework of why this needs to be changed:
Frankly I think the way the pass interference rule is written gives far to great an advantage to the offense and has lead to offenses becoming sloppy and QB’s getting a free pass to throw up junk balls figuring that they will get a call most of the time.
As written now, this is a spot foul and automatic first down. I think this rule makes too many assumptions that penalize the defender. The first assumption is that the receiver would actually catch the ball had they not been interfered with. Now on a short pass this may likely well be the case, however, for longer fly patterns or patterns over the middle where the WR is in danger of getting hit after he catches the ball, there is a higher chance that the WR would likely miss or drop the ball anyways. Based on the assumption that the WR would catch the ball, QB’s routinely underthrow WR with the idea that the WR will be able to try to double back, get run into by the DB and get the penalty, regardless of whether or not they could of actually stopped running full speed and reversed their direction and caught the ball without the DB there. It is honestly one if not the cheapest ways for an offense to move the ball and it really adds nothing to the game.
The second issue I have with the rule is that it penalizes good defensive back play. A defensive back is supposed to be right next to the WR, those DB who can’t cover get penalized by having balls tossed over their head and WR scoring touchdowns on them. A DB who is actually good enough to stay with a WR and have a chance to make a play on the ball shouldn’t be unduly penalized for doing a good job but making a slight mistake. What annoys me is that defensive holding by a DB on a WR is a 5 yard penalty and 1st down, which is basically the DB admitting he can’t keep up with a WR so he holds them, yet a DB who runs the entire length of the field step for step with a WR but maybe makes contact in the end can get a 50 yd game changing penalty. If I was a DB coach and I had a suspect CB I would tell them to hold any WR running a fly or go route since even if you get the penalty it won’t hurt you that much.
So I propose that the NFL make the pass interference penalty a spot foul up to 15 yards and automatic first down and then after 15 yards it is just a 15 yard penalty with an automatic first down. I would also tell the refs that underthrown balls would be considered tipped passes and allow the DB and WR to have contact with no penalty. I think this would hopefully encourage the DB to play aggressive and take away the stupid underthrown ball routine by QBs.
What rules would you like to seen changed in the NFL and why.