View Full Version : NFL plays by its rules

12-25-2008, 09:04 PM

In a game against the Bears last month, Eric Bassey of the Rams went out for a pass on a fake punt and was tackled before the ball arrived. He sprang to his feet, confident he had drawn a penalty. A clear case of pass interference.

"He hits me well before the ball gets there," Bassey said. "I'm thinking it's got to be something, so of course when I get up, I'm throwing my hands up saying, 'Throw the flag!' "

Sorry, Eric. Apparently you weren't familiar with Note No. 5 under Article 5 under Section 2 under Rule 8 on page 54 of the NFL rule book. There it is, plain as day: "Whenever a team presents an apparent punting formation, defensive pass interference is not to be called for action on the end man on the line of scrimmage."

In plainer English, that means the two guys who line up wide on either side in punt formation -- the gunners, as they are known in the locker room -- can never be victims of pass interference. They can be levelled with impunity any time a defender sees the ball coming their way.

Didn't know that? Don't worry. A lot of players didn't, either, until Bassey found out the hard way.