I hate this rule. How many times does the average NFL fan have to watch his team lose a game because there was a pass interference call on a deep pass late in the game that puts the opposing team either in field goal range, or in a position to make a couple of sideline passes, or use a draw or two to get into range to win the game in the last seconds? Too many at this point. This rule needs to be changed and the change needs to go into effect for the 2011 season.
The rule changes that have been made over the past twenty years have been made to create excitement in the game but at the expense of the defensive backfield. D-Backs are not allowed to make contact past 5 yards so if an offensive player pushes off past the five yard mark and not get caught, the defender then has a limited opportunity to recover and make a play on the ball. What we see all to often is the defense just interfere with the receiver to stop the touchdown. I don’t have a problem with that if the play is fifteen yards or less, but when the play ends up being forty yards the game is changed dramatically because one guy got beat off the line? It makes no sense. Here is a scenario: Defense jumps offsides and the ball is not blown dead so offense has a free play. Most quarterbacks know at this point that an interception doesn’t hurt but a touchdown counts so they go deep with the ball. If the receiver is interfered with then the offense has the opportunity to choose which foul to take? Come on.
The change that needs to take place is the one that has been brought up in the rules committee in the past couple of off seasons. The penalty needs to be a ten or fifteen yard penalty. This does a few things to the game. One it doesn’t allow for change of field position with a penalty. Shifts of that magnitude need to take place because of a well executed offensive play not because the side judge misreads incidental contact in a game moving much faster than twenty years ago. Second, it allows for a more aggressive stance from the defense because they now know that they have some room to play with in terms of blitz packages and defensive schemes. This puts more pressure on the offense to execute even with all the advantages they have and it forces them to drive the ball and win the game because of their execution and play calling. What a novel idea.
Finally, and maybe as an offset to the potential rule change, I think that the clock should stop when moving the chains within the last two minutes. I believe that this brings incredible excitement to the college game and would make the last two minutes of the half and fourth quarter of an NFL game incredible to watch. Let’s not leave it up to a penalty to decide the game-make them win it.