Shedding light on Chancellor’s pass interference penalty

One of the plays that could have been a difference maker in Seattle 10-9 victory over Minnesota last Sunday was a pass-interference penalty on Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor in the game’s final drive. The Vikings had second-and-10 from their own 39-yard line with 1:38 remaining when quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s threw incomplete to tight end Kyle Rudolph. However, a flag was thrown on Chancellor, which moved the ball to the Seattle 42 and helped put Minnesota in field-goal position.

The call was made because it was judged Chancellor impeded Rudolph’s progress. The Seahawks were incensed with the call, claiming it was Rudolph who ran into Chancellor, who was stationary.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called the league to get clarification on the call. Here’s what he found out:

“I called the league office to find out what their interpretation of that was,” Carroll said. “It’s so close, because the defender has his right to his area, and the receiver is supposed to have to avoid to get by. As Rudolph was avoiding him Kam’s right hand came up, so his hand was outside [the frame of his body]. They hit head-to-head, he made a move and came right into him, and Kam’s hand came up. That’s what they saw, so that’s what they called. Had his hand been inside, then that didn’t need to be a call because Kam was in his own space, and the receiver needs to be trying to avoid. They would have just overlooked that, they wouldn’t have called it usually. They wouldn’t have called it offensive interference, they wouldn’t call it defensive, they would just call it incidental. Because his hand was out there, it gave there guy a reason to make the call.”

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