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Troy Vincent: 15-yard pass interference rule change has “momentum”


Steve Dykes

As the league gets set to review potential rule changes at next week’s owners’ meetings in Orlando, Fla., NFL Executive Vice President Troy Vincent pointed to one possibility getting more support than anticipated.

According to Kevin Seifert of, Vincent said changing pass interference from a spot foul to a 15-yard maximum penalty has “momentum” despite not being officially endorsed by the competition committee.

It has some momentum,” Vincent said. “That has some momentum. We had good discussion in the room. It will be interesting when we get with the coaches. ... I don’t want to get ahead of it, but I can tell you this: It had momentum in the room among the competition committee.”

College football uses the 15-yard pass interference penalty instead of the spot foul. The downside of the rule is that defenders can maul open receivers deep downfield knowing that the penalty is only 15 yards instead allowing a 40-, 50-, or 60-yard touchdown. The benefit would be that an offensive player can’t flop his way to a pass interference call that benefits a trailing offensive team disproportionally.

The NFL has looked into changes to the rule before and always held firm to its current penalties. Given that changes didn’t receive support from the competition committee, it still seems unlikely enough of the ownership would be willing to make changes to the rule at this point in time, particularly with scoring down across the NFL.

But it seems to have enough support to garner a real debate next week, which could stabilize the ground for future discussions regarding the rule.