As fans of the two leagues know, there are some pretty significant rule differences between college football and the NFL. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, one of the greatest coaches of all-time, would like to see some consolidation.
There are a number of rules that are pretty different between the two sides. College receivers need to have one foot established in bounds for a catch, while NFL receivers must have two. There are also differences in clock stoppages, with a brief pause after first downs in NCAA play. Belichick thinks that it would be good to consolidate the rules between the two levels, with one penalty causing issues in particular.
Belichick, a defensive coach by nature, would like to see defensive pass interference made the same across levels. Right now, the penalty is a 15-yarder in college, while in the NFL it is a much more severe spot foul. Given the subjectiveness of the call a lot of the time, and how touchy downfield contact can be, that makes it an extremely harsh, sometimes game changing penalty at the pro level.
“I think probably the one thing that is worth looking at is just the college pass interference rules,” Bill Belichick told The Rich Eisen Show this week, via NBC Sports Boston. “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.”
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) August 24, 2020
He says he doesn’t necessarily care if the NFL switches to college enforcement, or vice versa, but the most important thing is to get everyone on the same page so there is less of an adjustment period for players moving up in level. It does sound like if he had a preference, he’d go with the college 15-yard penalty, though.
“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.
“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.”
The sport’s rule changes over the last few decades have mostly favored the offensive side off the ball, and opened up the passing game a ton. That is probably a positive for the sport overall, people love explosive plays and points, but this small change might help balance things out for the defense a bit.
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