In a league that seems to be more pass-oriented every season, one defensive penalty appears to be scrutinized on an increasing percentage by fans—pass interference. Last year, the Minnesota Vikings were flagged for defensive holding 14 times and pass interference 11 times.
How much is too much? What do the fans think? We checked, they answered.
Fan Forum Question: “Do officials call defensive pass interference too much?”
“That’s a tough question. Of course, when they call it against our defensive backs I think they’re being too strict. But I love it when we’re on offense. I think overall the refs do such a good job and I don’t know how they do it. You watch and you see the player’s reaction and I don’t know who is grabbing who. I’ve never felt one way or the other, but I know I do like to see offensive football and the rules that favor the offense.”
– Derek Jensen, Bloomington, Minn.
“My thinking is it’s a tough area to call. It’s one of those grey areas. The refs do the best they possibly can each and every game. I’ll leave it up to the professionals to do their job.”
– Sam Hendricks, Council Bluffs, Iowa
“I think they call it a little bit too much. It’s a pass-heavy league and if they’d call pass interference a little bit more that would shut down a team’s passing game and then things would switch a little bit more to the run, making things more balanced. As a fan, I’d find that a little more fun to watch.”
– Sam Olson, Minneapolis, Minn.
“Yes. It’s supposedly a physical sport, but you have rules on hand checking and playing for position. If both players have the right to go for the ball, it just seems to me that the defensive backs seem to be handcuffed by the rules.”
– Lance Falls, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
“I’m OK with how it’s being called right now. If the refs didn’t get on how much the defensive players hold, clutch and grab away from the line of scrimmage, you wouldn’t see much beyond 5- or 7-yard routes by the receivers.”
– Jen Woodrum, Albert Lea, Minn.
“Sometimes I don’t think they call it enough. It’s amazing when you’re home watching the games on TV and you see how much the guys in the defensive secondary are always pulling on the receivers down the field and when the ball is in the air. That said, watching at home gives us the benefit of replays and for the officials to have to make those calls during live action is nearly impossible. However, I’m not calling for more replays. The games are long enough the way it is and I think the refs do a pretty awesome job given everything they have to watch for.”
– Robert Hager, Eagan, Minn.
“I think the balance of how pass interference is called right now is pretty good. You have to let the guys get out there and play. There is going to be contact here and there and the last thing I want is to have a whistle being blown on every other passing play. It’s almost like that in some games right now.”
– Robby Lloyd, Bemidji, Minn.
“To me, it’s right about where it needs to be. Maybe they could call it a little less and let them play. It still seems at times it gets a little ticky-tacky.”
– Rick Elkington, Maple Grove, Minn.
“I don’t think they call it enough, but I’d have to admit it kind of depends on what team the Vikings are playing to tell you the truth.”
– Gary Etter, Eden Prairie, Minn.
“I think pass interference gets called too much. I understand the intent of the push-off rule but they need to let the players bump a little bit and fight for the ball. It’s football after all.”
– Bryan Schaffler, North Mankato, Minn.
“I don’t think it’s called too much, but there seems to be too much inconsistency with what some officials see as pass interference and then the next week hardly anything gets called.”
– Tim Meyer, Plymouth, Minn.
“I think the rules are pretty tough on the defense right now, and unfortunately there seems to be a lot of politics involved. There are more high-profile athletes on the offensive side today and they are going to get the calls. There is also a lot of acting involved. I’d like to see it reviewable at some point.”
– Chris Fritzke, St. Paul, Minn.
“I’m fine with the blend of officiating on those calls. There seems to be a decent amount of balance to those plays and both sides of the ball seem to get calls from the officials. When that ball is in the air, both the offensive and defensive players should be able to make a play on it and I think we have that right now.”
– Paul Thompson, Minneapolis, Minn.
“The officials should be a little bit softer on those calls and let the players play a little bit more. It would make the game more exciting to me if I saw the ball up in the air and knew that each of the players could legitimately fight for possession without the fear of a flag coming out.”
– Jamie Mussell, Plainview, Minn.
“I think they call pass interference too much. All those penalties take too much time. Those flags really slow the game up.”
– Tony Garcia, Worthington, Minn.
“I think the defensive players are handcuffed a little too much and it should be called a little less. The game would flow much better if they’d give the players more of a chance to play their position and keep the flags in their pockets.”
– James Fischer, Rock Island, Ill.
“I think they call pass interference a little too much. Those flags can change the game really quickly. Honestly, there are games where you can have a nice lead and then all of a sudden the opposition throws a deep ball and you get a junk interference call and the game turns around pretty fast.”
– Jordan Marquardt, Silver Bay, Minn.
“I don’t think they call it enough most of the time. As a Viking fan, I think we get the raw end of the deal most of the time. It just seems to be a little too consistent.”
– Lisa Gardner, Minneapolis, Minn.
“I think they call it too much. The game isn’t played in the manner that it used to be played. Everything seems to be too regulated in terms of types of plays and what you can or can’t do. I know a lot of the rules are for safety reasons. But it’s really taken a lot of the true talent out of the game with all the rules the players have to deal with.”
– Dan Marxer, Burnsville, Minn.
“It should be called more. I think a lot of the defensive backs get away with way too much in terms of how they get involved with the play of the receivers.”
– Matt Barnett, Lincoln, Neb.
“You get that 5-yard cushion, but even with that I think they call it a little too much. There seems to be times they call it even if there is incidental contact going down the field. If they’d loosen that up a little bit it would be better for the game of football. You’re going to have contact at times. Obviously, there are times when the contact is so great that it disrupts the receiver from getting to the ball even though they both have a priority to it. But the officials need to let more of the incidental stuff go.”
– Jake Brown, Woodbury, Minn.
“It’s way too inconsistent. I’d like to see the game called a little freer and let the players play. The thing that drives me nuts is the phantom calls and then the blatant ones never get called.”
– Tina Otto, Rochester, Minn.
“The refs call way too much hand checking right now. It slows the game down and the defensive backs need to be given the ability to break up a pass.”
– Alan Moore, Winnipeg, MB