Here’s One NFL Rule Bill Belichick Would Change If He Could

Belichick wishes the NFL and college football would follow the same rulebook.

by Zack Cox

Aug 24, 2020

If Bill Belichick could change one rule in the NFL rulebook, what would it be?

Rich Eisen posed that question to the New England Patriots head coach Monday during an interview on the “Rich Eisen Show.”

Belichick’s answer: pass interference. And not whether or not it should be reviewable.

“I think probably the one thing that is worth looking at is just the college pass interference rules,” Belichick said. “I know why it’s what it is, and I also know why it’s different in college, and you could argue both sides of it. But it’s a big penalty, and sometimes those are just tough calls. So I think that’s worth looking at.”

In the NFL, if a defensive player is whistled for pass interference, the offense is given a first down at the spot of the foul. So, if the contact occurs 40 yards downfield, it results in a 40-yard penalty.

Pass interference penalties in college are less costly for the defense, as offensive teams can gain no more than 15 yards from a DPI call, regardless of how far downfield that penalty is committed.

This is one of several rule variations that exist between the NFL and collegiate rulebooks. Belichick would like to see the two codes standardized.

“I would say just in general, I would be in favor of the NCAA and the NFL trying to consolidate the rulebook to where we can have as many rules be the same as possible so that the fans, as well as the players who come from college, can make a clean transition into the same set of rules instead of different ones,” Belichick told Eisen.

“So targeting’s targeting, holding’s holding, interference is interference and so forth. As much as we could do that, I would be in favor of that just for the overall quality of the game. But I think the pass interference rule is not necessarily one I would change, but I would take a look at it, and I think it would be good if it was the same as the college rule — either they change it to ours or we change it to theirs, just from the standpoint of consistency.”

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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