Pass Interference

There is only one penalty in football without a set amount of yardage assigned to it.
It is the infamous Defensive Pass Interference Call.
Troy Aikman, on NFL.Com tangentially talks about this in his article about his dislike of Instant Replay. But I think I like his idea on Pass Interference better.
Make every Defensive Pass Interference Call 15 yards and an automatic first down. Its too unbalancing as it currently is written, with no limit on yardage.
Think, theoretically, you can have a 99 yard DPI call–if the line of scrimmage is at the one and the DPI is called at the opposing end zone. Okay, that’s nearly impossible because no one has that much arm strength, but my point is, DPI can put too much fortune and luck of the draw of referees into the game. Football isn’t perfect.
And besides, Scott pointed out to me that Hail Mary calls almost NEVER get DPI calls, even if there is clearly lots of contact and a “scrum” in the end zone on every one. Why? If it was called often, then Hail Mary plays would be far more used–unfair to the defense side of the ball.
So, make every DPI a 15 yard call, automatic first down. (Of course, Half the Distance to the Goal would apply as usual in red zone situations).

3 thoughts on “Pass Interference”

  1. Doesn’t that just give the defense an incentive to commit _more_ infractions? Given the choice between the offense completing a long pass, and giving them _only_ 15 yards on an interference penalty, defense will choose 15 yards, right?

  2. Yep, Harald thought exactly what I thought. Play clean on D or it’s as if he caught the ball. Under the 15 and 1st rule, the D has little incentive not to play dirty. It’s an optimizing strategy.
    Anyone know the history of the rule? Has it always been as it currently is?

  3. I haven’t been able to find any history of the rule, or at least any indication that it has changed.
    But you two gentlemen do have a point, that I had not considered–the Defense will play dirty in certain situations under my proposal.

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