I am happy there was no flag last night on the final play of the Patriots-Panthers game. It had nothing to do with a bet or fantasy football. And even though as a Dolphins fan it was nice to see New England lose, it had nothing to do with that either.
It had everything to do with pass interference being called too much in my opinion. The rules below are everything you and I know about pass interference. I just think about three things before addressing these rules: does the receiver have a chance to catch the ball and is the defensive back positioned in a way that he should be allowed contact and always let common sense prevail.
There are six categories for defensive pass interference:
1. Contact while not playing the ball:
a. Defender gets beat and tries to time contact with the ball
2. Playing through the back of a receiver
3. Grabbing arms, shoulders, neck or head:
a. Here the defender is trying to pull himself back into the play
4. Arm bar across the receiver’s body:
a. Defender puts an arm up to feel where the receiver is and keeps it there
5. Cutting off the receiver’s path to the ball
a. Defender slows up to prevent receiver from getting to the ball or
b. Bumps the receiver off the pattern
6. Hook and turn of the receiver’s body prior to the ball arriving:
a. Defender is guarding the receiver with one hand in back and one in front; uses hand in back to hook and
turn the receiver and the other hand to deflect the ball
I think defensive interference is called too often. Like flopping in the NBA, receivers sometimes act their way into getting a flag thrown. The rate of pass interference calls in the NFL has gone up each of the last 5 years. To my surprise, there is a team without a flag thrown on it this year (Washington) and Atlanta only got one call against it last year. The average number of defensive pass interference penalties is about one every other game per team. It doesn’t seem like much, but with it being a spot foul in the NFL, it can be the biggest play of the game if called (correctly or incorrectly).
I couldn’t find rates of DPI in college football, but I’d swear they are even higher.
Right now, I’d say the only penalty that infuriates me more than DPI are personal foul/targeting penalties. I feel the same way about both. To bottom-line it, you should easily be able to recognize it when you see it. If you have to slow it down frame by frame to determine if it was a penalty, chances are, it wasn’t.
The game of football is better off with less of those calls and more physicality. The final call of the game last night wasn’t close to a penalty in my opinion much the same way Ahmad Brooks’ hit on Drew Brees shouldn’t have been a penalty. The ball last night was well short of the target not to mention another defender in the way, who also intercepted it. Nobody was interfered with attempting to catch a catchable ball. Let them play.