Pereira: Don't look for immediate change in pass-interference rules

Talk of Fame Network

The NFL is talking about making defensive pass interference a maximum 15-yard penalty, and the idea not only has the support of Mike Pereira, the league’s former supervisor of officiating; he would’ve been made it years ago. But while Pereira, now the officiating analyst on Fox, is “encouraged” by talk of a change and thinks one is overdue, he doesn’t see one happening.

Not yet anyway.

“I just don’t think they’re (the league office) ready to give it up yet,” he said on this week’s Talk of Fame Network radio broadcast. “There was no sentiment going into this year, period, about making that a max 15-yard penalty. And, as we know, it sometimes takes a lot of time to propose something. They may say let’s experiment in the preseason with it and see what it looks like, but I just don’t see it.”

Pereira called for the rule change years ago when he headed the NFL’s officiating department, and for obvious reasons: It makes sense. As he pointed out on the broadcast, punching an opponent in the stomach warrants a 15-yard penalty while tugging on a jersey downfield could result in a 40-yard walkoff … and that doesn’t seem fair.

“When people say to me, ‘If, before you left, you could be commissioner for a day, and you could change one rule’ … that would be the one that I would change,” he said. “I’m really encouraged to hear it, but I don’t think it will happen.

“In my entire 12 years in the office in New York we never had this much of a discussion so maybe there is some movement in that direction. And maybe this is the alternative to making pass interference reviewable … which I don’t think they should do.”

Pereira was also clear on how he would clarify the Calvin Johnson-now-Dez-Bryant rule that cost the Cowboys a possible score and playoff defeat of Green Bay.

“Enforce it the way the rule states it now,” he said, “which is if you’re going to the ground in the process of making a catch then it’s up to you … as the receiver … to hold on to the ball, period. I’d throw out this notion as to whether this is a lunge forward or a second act. And that’s just a notion. It doesn’t say that in the rule.

“I say it maybe it cut-and-dried, and make it easy for the official and easy for everybody to understand, even though they may not like the logic – which is, if you’re going to the ground, you must hold on to the ball. And if you decide to lunge to try to get more yards, that’s great. But that’s on you. If the ball comes out, then it’s going to become an incomplete pass.”