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View Full Version : Is this Offensive Pass Interference?


Dam8610
06-20-2009, 01:18 AM
I'm trying to settle a dispute. First, here is the play:

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I believe this is Offensive Pass Interference, a Pats fan does not. Since he claimed I am being biased, I leave it to an NFL board, since I figure that's about as unbiased as it gets. In case anyone is unclear on the rules for pass interference, here is the rule per NFL.com:

http://www.nfl.com/rulebook/passinterference

Pass Interference

1. There shall be no interference with a forward pass thrown from behind the line. The restriction for the passing team starts with the snap. The restriction on the defensive team starts when the ball leaves the passer’s hand. Both restrictions end when the ball is touched by anyone.
2. The penalty for defensive pass interference is an automatic first down at the spot of the foul. If interference is in the end zone, it is first down for the offense on the defense’s 1-yard line. If previous spot was inside the defense’s 1-yard line, penalty is half the distance to the goal line.
3. The penalty for offensive pass interference is 10 yards from the previous spot.
4. It is pass interference by either team when any player movement beyond the line of scrimmage significantly hinders the progress of an eligible player of such player’s opportunity to catch the ball. Offensive pass interference rules apply from the time the ball is snapped until the ball is touched. Defensive pass interference rules apply from the time the ball is thrown until the ball is touched.

Actions that constitute defensive pass interference include but are not limited to:

(a) Contact by a defender who is not playing the ball and such contact restricts the receiver’s opportunity to make the catch.

(b) Playing through the back of a receiver in an attempt to make a play on the ball.

(c) Grabbing a receiver’s arm(s) in such a manner that restricts his opportunity to catch a pass.

(d) Extending an arm across the body of a receiver thus restricting his ability to catch a pass, regardless of whether the defender is playing the ball.

(e) Cutting off the path of a receiver by making contact with him without playing the ball.

(f) Hooking a receiver in an attempt to get to the ball in such a manner that it causes the receiver’s body to turn prior to the ball arriving.

Actions that do not constitute pass interference include but are not limited to:

(a) Incidental contact by a defender’s hands, arms, or body when both players are competing for the ball, or neither player is looking for the ball. If there is any question whether contact is incidental, the ruling shall be no interference.

(b) Inadvertent tangling of feet when both players are playing the ball or neither player is playing the ball.

(c) Contact that would normally be considered pass interference, but the pass is clearly uncatchable by the involved players.

(d) Laying a hand on a receiver that does not restrict the receiver in an attempt to make a play on the ball.

(e) Contact by a defender who has gained position on a receiver in an attempt to catch the ball.

Actions that constitute offensive pass interference include but are not limited to:

(a) Blocking downfield by an offensive player prior to the ball being touched.

(b) Initiating contact with a defender by shoving or pushing off thus creating a separation in an attempt to catch a pass.

(c) Driving through a defender who has established a position on the field.

Actions that do not constitute offensive pass interference include but are not limited to:

(a) Incidental contact by a receiver’s hands, arms, or body when both players are competing for the ball or neither player is looking for the ball.

(b) Inadvertent touching of feet when both players are playing the ball or neither player is playing the ball.

(c) Contact that would normally be considered pass interference, but the ball is clearly uncatchable by involved players.

Note 1: If there is any question whether player contact is incidental, the ruling should be no interference.

Note 2: Defensive players have as much right to the path of the ball as eligible offensive players.

Note 3: Pass interference for both teams ends when the pass is touched.

Note 4: There can be no pass interference at or behind the line of scrimmage, but defensive actions such as tackling a receiver can still result in a 5-yard penalty for defensive holding, if accepted.

Note 5: Whenever a team presents an apparent punting formation, defensive pass interference is not to be called for action on the end man on the line of scrimmage, or an eligible receiver behind the line of scrimmage who is aligned or in motion more than one yard outside the end man on the line. Defensive holding, such as tackling a receiver, still can be called and result in a 5-yard penalty and automatic first down from the previous spot, if accepted. Offensive pass interference rules still apply.

So, you make the call, did the refs make the right call?

GB12
06-20-2009, 01:44 AM
I have to go with no.

(a) Blocking downfield by an offensive player prior to the ball being touched.
Nope, he was running a route.
(b) Initiating contact with a defender by shoving or pushing off thus creating a separation in an attempt to catch a pass.
Nope. The coner initiated the contact, the receiver hit him after being touched first.
(c) Driving through a defender who has established a position on the field.Nope, the defender did not establish position.

I know it says it isn't limited to that, but those are the three important enough to be written in and this play doesn't fit any of them. Before even reading that I had determined it wasn't pass interference from my judgement and then used those to confirm my opinion.

I can see how it could look like pass interference, but I think that play is legal.

Mr. Stiller
06-20-2009, 03:15 AM
I have to go with no.


Nope, he was running a route.
Nope. The coner initiated the contact, the receiver hit him after being touched first.
Nope, the defender did not establish position.

I know it says it isn't limited to that, but those are the three important enough to be written in and this play doesn't fit any of them. Before even reading that I had determined it wasn't pass interference from my judgement and then used those to confirm my opinion.

I can see how it could look like pass interference, but I think that play is legal.

I could see the argument, but I couldn't agree with it.

This is almost the same as the Chris Hope Offensive PI in the Superbowl in 06.

What they look for:

Defenders feet planted. Which they were. Brown does have the right to run his route, but, he doesn't have the right to throw a player extending his arms all the way from his body.

This is the traditional "Pick" play, where teams have a wr "Conveniently" run a route that can pick off a defender who's trying to get underneath coverage.

Many WR's can sell it with a subtle bump, by Troy threw him 3-5 yards backwards.

Within 5 yards the defender is allowed to initiate contact. Afterwards that's Def PI.

The fact remains, that the defender had that area "established" because he was there. The fact that Brown threw him backwards as a pick makes it PI, because push come to shove, the defender's spot is established, the WR has to get around him, he's not allowed to go through him.

And if you would argue that it's not a pick... Then it's certainly pushing off.

Not to mention the timing of the pass seems to coincide with Offensive pushing off.

From my understanding, it's PI either way.

either it's a pick, and it's interfering with a defender establishing his area.

The restriction for the passing team starts with the snap. Troy is not allowed to Push or initiate contact. Sure the defender barely put an arm on him but there wasn't a real attempt to jam.

It's plays like that which probably pushed Belicheck to have him play bump'n'run on the outside.

Note 1: If there is any question whether player contact is incidental, the ruling should be no interference.

Note 2: Defensive players have as much right to the path of the ball as eligible offensive player


Note 2 is the kicker. if the ball is leaving brady's hands the defender has a right to his spot, and to go forward.

Even if Brown is running a route, if he bowls over a player, it's still a block.

Hypothetical...

If a team reports and offensive lineman as receiver eligible, his route ends up having him running over 2 LB's in zone. That's not Pass interference because he's "Running a route"?

If the player runs them over, (Which Troy Brown locked on to that corner and didn't even turn back for the pass when it was in the air, which was the tell tale sign for me) it's a block, plain and simple.

Paranoidmoonduck
06-20-2009, 03:54 AM
4. It is pass interference by either team when any player movement beyond the line of scrimmage significantly hinders the progress of an eligible player of such player’s opportunity to catch the ball. Offensive pass interference rules apply from the time the ball is snapped until the ball is touched.

I'm not even sure what this part is even trying to say. If pass interference is based on preventing potential catchers of the ball from catching the ball, how would a referee even begin to judge starting that from the snap of the ball? Would that mean any contact by the offense on the defense would be eligible? Surely, that isn't how it has been enforced, from what I've seen (nor should it).

Watching the tape, I don't think that's pass interference on Troy Brown. It was three strides off the LOS and the defensive back sat there right in the middle of Troy Browns route. As far as I'm concerned, that would more properly be considered contact by the defender on the receiver within the first 5 yards off the line. The defensive back initiated the need for the contact by not dropping back when there's a receiver running directly at him who he seems to be quite obviously supposed to cover. I'm not even clear what the defensive back thought he was doing on that play.

Moreover, the pass was quite clearly not even out of Brady's hand at that point, so trying to ignore the ******** phrasing in the rulebook, there's nothing to suggest that the defensive back was prevented from catching the ball. Hell, the defender wasn't even making a step towards where Brady did throw the ball.

phlysac
06-20-2009, 08:25 AM
It clearly is a play that is up for interpretation, hence the differing opinions. I think it was an intentional "pick" and have no problem with it being called. I could understand if it weren't called as well.

My opinion is that, if the defender has free reign to engage the receiver (without holding) within the first 5 yards, the receiver should have the same freedom, as long as the ball is not yet in the air. I'm not certain it reads that way in the rulebook, but it should.

XxXdragonXxX
06-20-2009, 10:50 AM
The defender tried to bump him, the receiver ran through him, which is completely legal.

It wasnt a pick play, he didnt touch the defender that was covering the intended target. THe only reason he got in that defenders way at all is because the CB covering him made contact.

Not offensive PI.

phlysac
06-20-2009, 11:58 AM
The defender tried to bump him, the receiver ran through him, which is completely legal.

It wasnt a pick play, he didnt touch the defender that was covering the intended target. THe only reason he got in that defenders way at all is because the CB covering him made contact.

Not offensive PI.

There's my point. I think it was clearly a pick, you think it was clearly not. There shouldn't be that much room for interpretation in the rules.

Keep in mind, however, that the defender who is "covering the intended target" doesn't have to be the only player interfered with for it to be a penalty. If that were the case pick plays could be run against zone defenses all day long, and defensive switches couldn't be run effectively.

BeerBaron
06-20-2009, 03:55 PM
Not PI. From the looks, the defender was just trying to jam Troy imo and Troy wasn't having it.

keylime_5
06-20-2009, 04:07 PM
that was an illegal pick. Refs were right, pretty simple too, I've seen a lot more controversial/disputable calls in my day.

phlysac
06-20-2009, 05:01 PM
Not PI. From the looks, the defender was just trying to jam Troy imo and Troy wasn't having it.

I agree that it shouldn't be pass interference because the offensive player should have as much right to contact inside of 5 yards as the defender. Unfortunately based on the rule book as shown above...

Actions that constitute offensive pass interference include but are not limited to:

(c) Driving through a defender who has established a position on the field.

... seems to state that the refs made the correct call.

GB12
06-20-2009, 05:32 PM
How did he establish a position on the field? He was coming up and initiated the contact. The defender actually steps into the receivers path, and his feet were moving the whole time.

OzTitan
06-20-2009, 07:43 PM
The defender didn't have much choice. Brown was intent on running into him. The defender only brougt his arms up when it was obvious what Brown was trying to do. It was clearly a designed pick IMO.

Paranoidmoonduck
06-20-2009, 08:06 PM
The defender didn't have much choice. Brown was intent on running into him. The defender only brougt his arms up when it was obvious what Brown was trying to do. It was clearly a designed pick IMO.

Or you could say that Brown was intent on running straight off the line and the defender didn't give him much choice when he stepped directly in front of him.

Xonraider
06-20-2009, 08:11 PM
The defender didn't have much choice. Brown was intent on running into him. The defender only brougt his arms up when it was obvious what Brown was trying to do. It was clearly a designed pick IMO.

yeah i agree with you

GB12
06-20-2009, 09:25 PM
The defender didn't have much choice. Brown was intent on running into him. The defender only brougt his arms up when it was obvious what Brown was trying to do. It was clearly a designed pick IMO.
He could have not stepped right in front of him.

Watch it again. The DB starts off to the side and even takes a couple steps right at first. Then he runs back left into the receiver's path.

It would have been impossible for Brown to be "intent on running into him" if the defender was the one making the effort to get in his way. If Brown was trying to run into him he would have adjusted his path when the DB took steps to the sideline. Brown stayed on his route; the defender got in his way.

OzTitan
06-20-2009, 09:51 PM
It's very subtle, but it seems to me right about on the LOS, Brown's head shifts to the DB and locks on in a block like fashion. IMO, Brown looks more like a FB than a WR with his demeanor on that.

The DB shifts but basically hasn't moved laterally much until, IMO, he realizes what is going on, which he only does because he sees impact is impending, so he shifts from being on on the back foot to the front foot to compensate. He certainly hasn't moved enough that a blocker would have to adjust his path to get to him, until very late his stance suggests he is covering, not engaging a block (which, regardless of intent, it basically was by Brown).

I think connecting the dots on the play call also doesn't help Brown's cause. If it was a random play, maybe just a 50/50 effort by both guys you can't really penalize, but Brown took out the edge zone CB on a flat pass to the edge. A little too coincidental for me.

It's iffy though. Even though I think it was obviously designed, if done right it would basically be impossible to really penalize, and I think either way you can argue the ref called it right. One of those really hard to categorize calls.

etk
06-20-2009, 10:49 PM
To me it looks like Brown was clearly setting up for a base block, and then initiated it. His actions represent blocking on a running play or screen, except it's a pass to the flat right behind him.

There's nothing wrong with making contact and engaging with a DB when they set up to jam you, but in this play Brown is looking to instigate the contact and comes full force with only one goal: knock back the defender.

Definitely PI, good call.

Hawk
06-20-2009, 11:04 PM
It's PI. Brown extended his arms and knocked him back, therefore picking/blocking him.

Smokey Joe
06-20-2009, 11:09 PM
Borderline, but it shouldn't be... I call that good, clean, hard nosed football.

Nalej
06-21-2009, 06:51 AM
My opinion is that, if the defender has free reign to engage the receiver (without holding) within the first 5 yards, the receiver should have the same freedom, as long as the ball is not yet in the air. I'm not certain it reads that way in the rulebook, but it should.

Borderline, but it shouldn't be... I call that good, clean, hard nosed football.


I agree with you two. Pretty much my take on it.

Gay Ork Wang
06-21-2009, 09:57 AM
He could have not stepped right in front of him.

Watch it again. The DB starts off to the side and even takes a couple steps right at first. Then he runs back left into the receiver's path.

It would have been impossible for Brown to be "intent on running into him" if the defender was the one making the effort to get in his way. If Brown was trying to run into him he would have adjusted his path when the DB took steps to the sideline. Brown stayed on his route; the defender got in his way.
i think you are looking at the wrong guy there. its the guy all the way to the left not the one on the inside

ShutDwn
06-21-2009, 10:31 AM
The defensive back clearly steps up to start to cover brown, perhaps touch him, but Brown drives into him and extends his arms. That is a push off, and will get called a lot of the time.

If he didn't extend his arms he would have gotten away with it.

Usually the Patriots are more discreet with their pick plays.

That isn't good hard nosed football either, if receivers were allowed to just push DBs off their spots they would be uncoverable. Hand checking is fine but Brown would have been wide open across the field.

vikes_28
06-21-2009, 12:12 PM
This is reserved for when I want to make a very long arguement as to why it IS Offensive pass interference.

GB12
06-21-2009, 04:31 PM
i think you are looking at the wrong guy there. its the guy all the way to the left not the one on the inside
No **** it's the guy on the left. Watch it again, he does exactly what I described.

Gay Ork Wang
06-21-2009, 04:44 PM
No **** it's the guy on the left. Watch it again, he does exactly what I described.
looking at it again, imo you can see how Troy brown is looking at the CB and it really looks like a block thrown by Troy Brown rather than handfight or a get away

Don Vito
06-21-2009, 06:10 PM
Troy Brown <3. I remember watching that game and being ******** about the call, I am biased but I wouldn't call it because it looked like he was fighting off a jam.

brat316
06-21-2009, 06:29 PM
Its looks like the cb is setting up to bump him, he shifts over a few steps and gets ready to shove Troy inside the 5 yards. But the cb gets shoved back as well, it was great timing by Troy waiting till the last second, to break of the bump.

If he didn't, Troy would have been bumped, and thrown off his route.

For those of you who do say its PI then how come the inside guy didn't get called?

CJSchneider
06-21-2009, 07:19 PM
I say the right call was made. The CB, Graham, #42, has identified the outside slant by #84, Watson. Brown, #80, pushes off from the inside shade of the CB to make it appear as if it was part of his route, but Graham had already shifted his COG to make a play to the inside. It is also why he is pushed so easily, he's off balance.

vikes_28
06-22-2009, 12:01 AM
i believe it was pass interference because 80 pushed off on a guy that was covering someone else. While that happend, 84 got way ahead of the defender and was able to make the grab. 80 stymied the defender from making a play on the ball. If he wouldn't have been pushed he would have been able to stop the play, or just make it harder for 84 to catch it.

Iamcanadian
06-22-2009, 01:41 AM
that was an illegal pick. Refs were right, pretty simple too, I've seen a lot more controversial/disputable calls in my day.

I agree, that's a penalty every time and would be called every time. The receiver cannot throw a block when he goes out on a pattern and the ball hasn't been caught. It is offensive pass interference without a doubt and was an easy call by the official.

nepg
06-22-2009, 12:44 PM
It's not. Defensive player didn't establish himself at all...he actually ran in front of Brown, and obstructed his route. It wasn't an illegal pick play. It was within 5 yards before the ball was thrown. Brown quite obviously had his own route to run, the Colts' coverage just was sloppy, and the refs bailed them out.

The Pats run plenty of pick plays (as do the Colts), and that clearly was not one of them. When they run a pick play, it's a very quick pattern that's released almost as soon as the ball is snapped.

The Great Jonathan Vilma
06-22-2009, 12:57 PM
Interesting mix of responses.

I'd call it Offensive PI.

FlyingElvis
06-22-2009, 01:09 PM
This was a play that can go either way and, imo, shouldn't be argued regardless of which call (or non-call) the ref makes.

It was clearly a pick play and that was why the ref ruled interference. (again, imo)

Taking a hardline, verbatim stance based on the rules quoted this play is not interference. The corner goes for a chuck and Brown obliges by getting right into him. Brown is not running through an established DB position, as he makes contact and bends to the inside. There is also no shoving for separation. So:

(a) Blocking downfield by an offensive player prior to the ball being touched.
Not blocking.

(b) Initiating contact with a defender by shoving or pushing off thus creating a separation in an attempt to catch a pass.
Close call - CB is going for a chuck so I'd say it's a wash.
NOTE: had the CB not positioned himself and attempted a jam at the point of contact, this would be a clear case of Troy initiating contact w/the defender, but technically the rule continues with "thus creating separation in an attempt to catch a pass." Brown is clearly not attempting to catch a pass, so it's still a gray area.

(c) Driving through a defender who has established a position on the field.
Nope on this one, too.


It's basically a perfect homer play. Either side can argue which call was right, but it's way too ambiguous - especially at "game speed" - to honestly say it was absolutely the right or wrong call.

My vote is for it being the "right" call b/c it is clearly an intended pick play, not necessarily b/c it fits nicely into the rules, as defined. Really, they're "more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules" . . .

phlysac
06-22-2009, 03:01 PM
I'd like to know what "established position" means. If that were the case there would never be a "pick" called. how can a defender establish position when they are in full motion?

FlyingElvis
06-22-2009, 03:57 PM
I'd like to know what "established position" means. If that were the case there would never be a "pick" called. how can a defender establish position when they are in full motion?

Seriously - DBs should try to get a charging call more often. ;)

MetSox17
06-23-2009, 04:34 AM
Without over-analyzing the play, i went with "No", it was not pass interference. From the looks of it, it looks like the contact was made prior to the ball being in the air, and it was not initiated by Brown.

Bucs_Rule
06-24-2009, 12:31 PM
Within 5 yards your allowed to try to runover or shove your opponent. If it were outside 5 yards it would be a penalty.

CJSchneider
06-24-2009, 03:01 PM
Offensive pass interference rules apply from the time the ball is snapped until the ball is touched. The fact that the ball wasn't in the air are now pointless.

Paranoidmoonduck
06-24-2009, 04:30 PM
Offensive pass interference rules apply from the time the ball is snapped until the ball is touched. The fact that the ball wasn't in the air are now pointless.

Except for the fact that the rules also specifically apply to the prevention of a player from being able to catch the ball, which is something that can only really be judged after the ball is thrown.