The offensive pass interference rule

Section 5 of Rule 8 of the official 2019 NFL Rulebook (available here) defines what conduct constitutes “pass interference.” Although Section 5 contains four separate articles and over 800 words, Article 4 specifically states that “blocking more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage by an offensive player prior to a pass being thrown is offensive pass interference.” (Canadian Football, by contrast, does not have an analogous rule; see here.) My favorite sports commentator Jim Rome discusses the finer points of the NFL’s offensive pass interference (OPI) rule with CBS Sports Rules Analyst Gene Steratore, but they miss the larger question: does football really need this rule?

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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4 Responses to The offensive pass interference rule

  1. Craig says:

    I know it’s football, but I’m on the side of “nothing but incidental contact” downfield, on both parties, else it’s interference. No touching the back, no pushing off. The only exception would be that both parties can attempt to be in the same space if they are both in the process of trying to catch the ball (e.g. hail mary passes or woefully underthrown ones). I would not “favor” the receiver over the defender as is done now, except it would be the defender’s responsibility to allow the receiver to run the route he wants.

    And don’t get me started about the amount of contact in “non-contact” basketball and hockey!

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