Pass interference


Pass interference

In American and Canadian gridiron football, pass interference is a penalty that occurs when a player interferes with an eligible receiver's ability to make a fair attempt to catch a forward pass. Pass interference may include tripping, pushing, pulling, or cutting in front of the receiver or pulling on the receiver's arms. It does not include catching or batting the ball before it reaches the receiver. Once the ball touches any defensive player or eligible offensive receiver the above rules no longer apply and the defender may tackle the receiver or attempt to prevent him from gaining control of the ball.

Once a forward pass is in the air it is a loose ball and thus any eligible receiver may try to catch it (all defensive players are eligible receivers). When a defensive player catches a forward pass it is an interception and his team gains possession of the ball. Some actions that are defined as pass interference may be overlooked if the defender is attempting to catch or bat the ball rather than focusing on the receiver.

The intended receiver may find himself a defender if a defensive player has a better chance to catch a forward pass. If an offensive player commits pass interference against a defensive player attempting to intercept a forward pass it is offensive pass interference.

In college and pros the defender may make contact with receiver within the first five yards. Anything after that is penalized as illegal contact. Pass interference is called if the defensive player contacts the offensive player while he is trying to catch the pass. Inadvertent contact, though, is not penalized.

In High School the defender may make contact with the receiver as long as the ball has not left the hands of the quarterback.

In the National Football League and the Canadian Football League the penalty for defensive pass interference is an automatic first down at the spot of the foul. If the foul occurs in the end zone, the ball will be placed at the one-yard line. In college and high school football, the penalty is to the spot of the foul, up to a maximum of 15 yards from the previous spot and an automatic first down. In the NFL, the penalty for an offensive pass interference is 10 yards and a loss of down.

It is not unheard of for defensive players to deliberately commit pass interference where the intended receiver is sure to make a huge gain or a touchdown after the catch, especially in NCAA football, where the penalty is less severe than NFL rules if it occurs more than 15 yards upfield.

External links

* [http://www.cfl.ca/index.php?module=page&id=7 CFL Rule Book]
* [http://www.ncaapublications.com/Uploads/PDF/Football_Rulesadc982b5-03fb-4e27-828c-c2d26b95e6c1.pdf NCAA's football rules; PDF file]


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