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NFL Competition Committee to discuss instant replay, defensive pass interference

The NFL Competition Committee is set to convene next week in Naples, Florida.  Two major topics of discussion will be instant replay rules and usage as well as defensive pass interference penalty changes among other topics.  Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president for football operations admitted that the league is open to suggestions but does not want to open itself to a potential nightmare.

“We do understand reviewing what was called on the field,” Vincent said. “For a coach to potentially challenge something that was not called, we run the risk of creating fouls. ‘Yeah, that was a hold. Yeah, that was an illegal hands to the face’,” said Vincent.  “We saw 12 different proposals on replay, which means it’s something we have to look at…You want to get it right but you could be creating fouls. And long term, if we start here, you just continue adding year in and year out and is that what you want? You don’t want to go down the road of opening Pandora’s Box and this year it’s expanding this and next year it’s expanding that.”

With officiating constantly being questioned, including a controversial play during the 2o14 playoff game between the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, it appears that defensive pass interference enforcement will be another topic on the table.  Many offenses have begun attempting to draw pass interference calls by throwing deep balls, especially when a drive stalls, in order to potentially be rewarded the ball at the spot of the foul and an automatic first down.  One proposal is that the league remove the spot foul, instead simply making defensive interference a 15-yard penalty and automatic first down, period.
“We must keep in mind that officials and players are moving at game speed, and those of us who are making decisions on rules have the luxury of slow motion video,” Vincent said. “Sometimes game speed and rule changes aren’t always compatible.”

The Coaches Subcommittee of the NFL Competition Committee is chaired by Pro Football Hall of Fame coach John Madden and consists of the following members:  Leslie Frazier (Minnesota Vikings), Joe Philbin (Miami Dolphins), Ron Rivera (Carolina Panthers), Mike Smith (Atlanta Falcons),  Tom Coughlin (New York Giants), John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens), Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs).  This committee reports to the Competition Committee directly which studies aspects of the game, recommends rules and policy changes within the league.

Members of the Competition Committee in 2015 include: Chairman Rich McKay (Atlanta Falcons), Jeff Fisher (St. Louis Rams), Stephen Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals), John Mara (New York Giants), Mark Murphy (Green Bay Packers), Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens), Rick Smith (Houston Texans) and Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers).



  1. DrGeorge

    February 27, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    The NFL pass interference rules need to be re-examined to restore the integrity of the game.

    In any sport, the defense begins at a disadvantage; defense is by its nature reactive, meaning defenders begin one step behind. Now, under Roger Goodell, the pass interference rules have been modified to so far favor receivers that it has ruined the dynamic between offense and defense. As a consequence, passing statistics have skyrocketed; even a journeyman QB can now put up 3,000 yards. Meanwhile, CBs and Safeties rack up penalties for touch fouls, as in basketball. Goodell wanted to put more excitement in the game for fans; instead, he has materially altered football, turning it into basketball on grass. Even the great Mel Blount would struggle under these rules.

    I suggest that the Competition Committee ought to look backward for inspiration, all the way back to 1976, when the defensive secondary could still chuck receivers down field until the ball was in the air. That change would require receivers to be physical as well as fleet, real football players instead of track men.

    Next, the Committee ought to trash the “spot of the foul” interference penalty and go with the college rule of limiting interference penalties to 15-yards from the line of scrimmage. That would eliminate the bonus yards of all those desperation heaves designed to draw a penalty rather than complete a pass, especially late in the game. That would take the game out of the hands of the officials and put in back in the hands of the players. And it would place an emphasis on consistent play throughout the game, instead of relying on late game interference calls to bail out an inept offense.

    Finally, the Committee might re-examine the present rules on tackling receivers. The rules as written are inconsistently interpreted and enforced. And if tackling receivers as in days of old seems too violent in today’s NFL, perhaps we really should adopt flag football rules, negating all contact and giving defenders a more even chance. But that’s probably too much to hope.

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