Q – “What was the penalty for Defensive Pass Interference in 1968? I’m having a semi old brain freeze and I’m thinking it was 15 yards and automatic 1st down and not spot of infraction foul? (submitted by Donald Hall)
A – To the best of my knowledge the Defensive Pass Interference has always been a spot of foul penalty. The NFL’s rules committee met back in 2018 and briefly considered changing it to the 15 yard penalty from the line-of-scrimmage that is currently used in college, but, ultimately kept it the same. The NFL tends to create and support rules that reward passing. And, they thought changing the penalty would benefit the defense disproportionally. Consider, as well, the “Illegal Contact” rule that was put in place in 1977, significantly reducing a defender’s ability to harass a receiver, because he can now only make physical contact within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Apparently, the powers-that-be in the NFL don’t want to go back to the “three yards and a cloud of dust” mentality!