Defensive Pass Interference

You don’t need to watch football regularly to know that there are a lot of rules.  There are tons of things you can get a penalty for on all sides of the ball.  Learning and understanding all of the rules can get confusing, especially to a new football fan.  If you are on defense, getting called for pass interference is one of the worst penalties you can get.  However, if you are the offensive player and the person covering you gets called for pass interference, you love this call.

Defensive pass interference is fairly simple to understand.  It means that the player on defense cannot touch the player he is covering that is on offense.  A defensive player will get called for pass interference if he has bodily contact that restricts the other player’s ability to catch the ball, if he grabs onto the receiver’s arms and disables him from being able to catch the ball, or if he hits and basically tackles the receiver before the ball arrives so that he cannot catch the pass.

There are also instances when it may look like pass interference, but the refs won’t throw a flag.  It will not be a penalty if accidental contact occurs when neither player is looking for the ball, if both players’ feet get tangled by accident, or if the pass that gets thrown is completely uncatchable.  An example of an uncatchable ball would be a ball thrown in the direction of a receiver but went far out of bounds.

If a defensive player gets called for pass interference, the ref will instantly throw a flag.  The result of the play will be a first down for the offense at the spot of the foul.  This means that if the quarterback threw the ball from the 50 yard line, and the penalty happened at the 20 yard line, the offense gets the ball at the 20.  This is the reason why the team on offense loves when the defense gets this penalty.

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

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