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Seahawks’ Richard Sherman: Pass interference should be 15 yards both ways, not reviewable

Richard Sherman thinks the NFL should make offensive and defensive pass-interference 15-yard penalties. (AP)

RENTON – Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is in favor of a change to NFL rules regarding pass interference, just not the one that has become a trending topic in the wake of a disputed no-call at the end of Seattle’s win over Atlanta on Sunday.

Sherman said Wednesday that he doesn’t think pass interference should become reviewable, disagreeing with what has been a popular sentiment among those who believe he should have been penalized for his contact with wide receiver Julio Jones on Atlanta’s final pass attempt, and that he would have been flagged had officials been able to take a second look.

Asked what changes he would make to pass-interference rules, Sherman said he’d make it a 15-yard penalty both ways. He doesn’t think it’s equitable that offenses are given an automatic first down at the spot of a defensive pass interference whereas it’s only a 10-yard penalty from where the play began when committed by an offensive player.

“I’d make it 15 yards like college. I’d make both sides 15 yards, offensive and defensive, because it’s not as much of a penalty,” Sherman said. “An offensive player can stop a turnover and it’s a 10-yard penalty and they might still get the first down. A defensive player, they say, ‘Oh, he was about to stop a touchdown,’ so they give him a spot foul. That’s the difference.”

Sherman’s reasoning for not wanting pass interference to be reviewable is that even allowable contact tends to appear worse when it’s seen in slow motion, which would lead to unwarranted penalties.

“If you watched every offensive snap of the line play in slow motion, it would look like a hold of some sort or a hands-to the face,” he said. “It’s just football. If you replay everything, then it’s going to be on every play. Every play on the line, every play in the secondary, you can call a penalty anytime, on both sides of the ball.”

Officials likely would have flagged Sherman for pass interference on Atlanta’s final attempt Sunday had they been able to review the play, but they also would have also gotten a second look at an uncalled penalty on Jones. He clubbed Sherman in the helmet at the start of the play, knocking him off balance. Curiously, a highlight video from “Inside the NFL” edited out that part of the play, instead showing footage from another play on which Jones got a clean release off the line of scrimmage.


The edit was first pointed out on Sherman mentioned it Wednesday when asked about what happened with Jones at the start of the play. He tweeted out a clip of it Monday night before deleting it.

“It’s just how people see things,” he said. “Even the NFL played a video and didn’t show the front of the play. That’s just how this league is about defensive players.”

Asked if he thinks the edit was intentional, Sherman said: “Hundred-percent intentional. That’s just how this league is. It’s an offensive league. They don’t want to help the defense in the least.”

Sherman added: “It’s difficult to recover when you almost fall at the beginning of the play. You get pushed in the face. If I pushed a receiver in the face, I guarantee it would be the highlight of every “SportsCenter,” every everything if that was the fourth quarter, the last play and I pushed him in the face. But it is what it is.”

That type of foul on the offense going uncalled is not uncommon, Sherman said. He mentioned a play from the Carolina-Denver game in Week 1, when Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. was flagged for hands-to-the face even though it appeared Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin also committed the same penalty against him. Carolina was facing fourth-and-21 on that play but got 5 yards and a first down with the penalty.

“It was a very funny play,” Sherman said. “A 6-5, 240-pound receiver and Chris Harris at 5-10, maybe 200 getting mushed in the face and trying to defend himself and he gets called. But I think that’s just a microcosm of how the league is called.”