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Troy Vincent: Defensive pass interference could become a 15-yard penalty

Titans Texans Football

A penalty flag during the second quarter of an NFL Football game between the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)


In past years, teams periodically have pushed for a transformation of the defensive pass interference penalty from being a spot-foul to a 15-yard walk-off. Recently, there’s been no momentum toward making a change of that nature.

There may be now.

NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent told Judy Battista of NFL Media that the league may explore making defensive pass interference a 15-yard penalty as an alternative to making pass interference subject to replay review.

While that tends to take the sting out of a bad pass interference call, it creates a fresh incentive for defensive backs to tackle any receivers who get behind them. Why not gladly give up 15 yards in lieu of being burned deep?

It makes much more sense to make pass interference subject to replay review, as the CFL did in 2014. Getting it right should be about getting it right, not reducing dramatically the potential consequences of getting it wrong.

Far better than to make defensive pass interference a 15-yard penalty would be to create two tiers of pass interference, as there is for roughing/running into the kicker and as there used to be for face mask fouls. While far from a perfect outcome, it’s much better than removing the spot-foul outcome of defensive pass interference.

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