Micah Parsons' DPOY Problem; Partying with the Broncos

Dallas Cowboys ER Micah Parsons
Dallas Cowboys ER Micah Parsons
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 13 - What fragrance of scented candles do you think Russell Wilson and Ciara light in the 12 bathrooms of their Denver mansion when entertaining guests?

That's the first question Walkthrough would seek to answer in the unlikely event we are ever invited to a Wilson birthday party.

Ciara threw her hubby a birthday party this week and, per Mike Klis of Denver's 9News, "about half the team showed up," despite it being the players' day off. Klis considered the attendance rate proof that Wilson is still respected in the Broncos locker room. Walkthrough knows better: a 50% attendance rate is proof that Wilson is so toxic that he discourages lookie-loos.

Imagine you are some random Broncos backup, possibly living in a luxury condo or a McMansion you have only half furnished, hunkering down for an icy Colorado late autumn. An invitation arrives at your locker from Ciara, probably delivered by a rose-crowned fruit dove wearing a sapphire choker. (Ciara absolutely invited the entire roster; two of her children are school-aged now, so she knows it's imperative to invite the whole class to every birthday party.) It's basically a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. How do you say no?

Oh sure, you might waver for a few moments. But then you would realize:

  • You will probably meet Ciara;
  • You, a strapping twentysomething athlete, might meet one of Ciara's glamorous gal pals;
  • If married, your spouse might insist on the opportunity on meeting Ciara and her gal pals;
  • The menu probably comes straight from the Amazon rainforest and the endangered species list;
  • Marshawn Lynch might be there with samples of his new 100% legal cannabis strains: Beast Mode, Stiff-Arm to Your Cerebellum, and Hahaha, You Won't Even Be Able to Recognize Your Loved Ones Until Tomorrow Afternoon.
  • Oh, and while Wilson isn't really your boss, he's pretty much your boss. Do you want to risk not being among the guests?

That last item is the stickler. We have all attended the parties of wealthy, influential acquaintances/employers/relatives out of a sense of obligation or the realities of workplace/family politics. The entire murder-mystery genre is built around that premise. Half of the Broncos who attended the Wilson party may well have been casing the joint to see if there was a Shining-like hedge maze in the backyard they could trap him in.

Also, weird stuff happens at Broncos parties. Brian Griese "fell" in Terrell Davis' driveway and needed seven stitches at the end of a party back in 2002; there were rumors at the time that Griese landed face-first on a teammate's fist.

Then, of course, there was Chad Kelly, who engaged in a little light home invasion after Von Miller's Halloween party in 2018. Kelly was extradited to Canada, where he helped the Toronto Argonauts win a Grey Cup and now has diplomatic immunity for life.

Broncos parties are wild. There was a non-zero chance that Nathaniel Hackett would be ritually sacrificed and slow-cooked into stringy brisket at the Wilson estate. Who would want to miss that?

According to DVOA, at least 80% of Wilson's teammates should have attended his party. Most would cluster in awkward little circles, wolfing down appetizers and scrolling their phones. Some might sneak off to root through a dozen medicine cabinets. But very few would stay home to play Modern Warfare II while their quarterback noodles on the piano and his pop-diva spouse sashays about singing torch songs Fabulous Baker Boys-style. (Which, again, almost certainly happened. For over an hour. With all exits sealed.)

Jalen Hurts would enjoy near 100% birthday party attendance. At least three-quarters of Kirk Cousins' teammates would risk salmonella to choke down his cooking in the name of esprit d'corps. Kyler Murray's birthday parties are on Discord, so there's no reason not to show up (unless you are Patrick Peterson). Justin Herbert's are just cake and ice cream, but Twitter assures us that each one is the event of the season. The Tom Brady joke has been redacted because we don't want to contribute to holiday depression. Oh, and you had better attend Aaron Rodgers' birthday party if invited: Jake Kumerow takes names at the door and sends the list of no-shows straight to Elon Musk.

But back to those 12 bathroom candles. They cannot just be "fresh linen" or "pumpkin spice." Ciara and Russ likely blend their own fragrances out of rare orchids, Dune spice, ambergris, and their own pheromones. It probably doesn't smell delightful, but it's certainly the type of thing that gets talked about on the drive home.

PropWatch: Micah Parsons and the Runaway DPOY Race

Micah Parsons won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2021. He's a -1200 (not a typo) favorite to win the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2022. But Parsons has already won the most coveted trophy of them all: the Most Likable Cowboy Award.

When the Dallas Cowboys are playoff contenders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants fans designate one and only one Cowboys player to be genuinely praiseworthy; the rest are written off as overrated prima donnas or plague rats. Parsons follows in the esteemed footsteps of Roger Staubach, Emmitt Smith, and Jason Witten, Cowboys of the past whom New Jersey Turnpike frequent-flyers grudgingly accepted as admirable.

Parsons earned his Most Likable Cowboy award through reliability (bad games are rare for him), dominance (six two-sack games this season), a willingness to play through minor injuries, and the fact that he's not yet eligible for a humongous contract and the attendant Jerry Jones posturing and hand-wringing that will grate upon the nation's nerves. Being a Penn State alum also helps: Eagles and Giants fans like to pretend that Penn State is a local team, because the alternatives are Temple and Rutgers.

(A quick note: Commanders fans are excluded from this discussion because no one has cared what they think since the mid-1990s.)

Parsons' popularity creates a prop-betting conundrum: he's so well-respected that it's hard to imagine awards voters selecting anyone else. That -1200 moneyline suggests that the handicappers think that the DPOY vote has already occurred, and Parsons is making space on his mantle.

Matt Judon has 13 sacks to Parsons' 12 but is getting a +1700 moneyline. Nick Bosa is just a half-sack behind Parsons, but he's at +1100. Chris Jones has 10 sacks at defensive tackle for a 9-2 team but lists at +2500. Parsons is having the best season of the four, but not an "everyone else is a silly longshot" caliber season.

Judon and Bosa represent excellent values for wagerers. Judon, in particular, just played the first of three-straight prime-time games for a Patriots team with still-flickering playoff aspirations and a high school offense. From a voter-hook perspective, Judon could call Parsons' Most Likable Cowboy status and raise him as the Last Great Patriot.

The trouble is that betting on Judon for DPOY means betting against Parsons. And Parsons is just so damn cool.

You guessed it: Walkthrough is restacking the NFL awards market today in a segment we sometimes call PropWatch.

Most Valuable Player

Patrick Mahomes (-160) leads the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns. Voters can be a little conservative when choosing an MVP, and Mahomes also provides them with safe harbor. The argument against Mahomes is that we're familiar with his greatness and he's not a buzzy/sexy/clickable choice, with makes for a rather weak argument.

Jalen Hurts (+350) deserves consideration, but he lacks the passing numbers of a traditional MVP, and his candidacy is hampered both by the fact that he is unestablished and Teammates are Awesome/Schedule is Awful baggage. Josh Allen (+1400) has probably made enough late-game mistakes to sour voters for the rest of the year.

Tua Tagovailoa has crept up the MVP board to +500. Walkthrough anticipates that the 2022 NFL awards will be highly impacted by the Tua Credit Deflection phenomenon: other Dolphins will win awards as voters overcompensate for snubbing Tua because he's not the rifle-armed platonic ideal of an MVP quarterback.

From a wagering standpoint, Mahomes actually has value in the -160 range; other candidates must step up considerably to pose a threat, while Mahomes can simply keep being himself.

Offensive Player of the Year

Here are the moneylines as of Wednesday:

  • Justin Jefferson: +235
  • Jalen Hurts: +330
  • Tyreek Hill: +350
  • Patrick Mahomes: +800
  • Travis Kelce: +1600
  • Stephon Diggs: +1700

Mahomes won both Offensive Player of the Year and MVP in 2018. It was the last time a quarterback won OPOY, but quarterbacks still earn a handful of votes each year, so Hurts has a reasonable shot. Still, this award is likely to come down to Jefferson (1,232 receiving yards through Week 12) versus Hill (1,233 yards). Hill will deservedly earn deflected Tagovailoa credit. Jefferson made the catch of the year, and voters may believe (with some merit) that the Vikings would be a sub-.500 team without him.

No tight end has ever won OPOY, and Kelce has little chance of pushing past Jefferson and Hill for voter attention.

Interestingly, Josh Jacobs was not on the board at press time. It wasn't just an out-of-contention situation: Raiders teammate Davante Adams was on the board at +13000. The house has no doubt taken note of Jacobs' calf injury and figured he's not even worth posting. Jacobs could push his way into dark horse consideration if he leads the Raiders on a late run to dignity with a few more 100- to 300-yard games. He'll eventually settle for one of those sponsored Air and Ground Fantasy League Champion awards that no sane person would ever wager upon.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

F*ckin' Houston Texans.

Dameon Pierce was on his way to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors with 357 rushing yards, 4.8 yards per carry, and lots of Beast Mode highlights in October. All the Texans had to do was stink a little less in every conceivable way. But the Texans insist on stinking as noxiously as possible, and they have left Pierce with nowhere to run and few rushing opportunities in lopsided losses. Pierce has averaged just 36.7 rushing yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry over his last four games. He's now +1100 for OROY, and there's no meat on that bone for Pierce's trio of pitbull fur babies to gnaw upon.

Kenneth Walker is at -150 despite 43 rushing yards on 24 carries over his last two games. He's a bad value with that recent production at that moneyline, despite nine touchdowns and some receiving highlights. Chris Olave (+600) may be the most deserving candidate right now, but it will be hard for him to get voter attention when the Saints are getting shut out.

With six touchdowns in his last two games, one of them from Jordan Love, Christian Watson (+700) is the best value on the board. Garrett Wilson (+600), by contrast, is tied to the Jets quarterback merry-go-round; Mike White is better than Zach Wilson, but that doesn't mean he's good enough to keep a receiver in the OROY race.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

It's going to be Sauce Gardner (-330).

In addition to having an excellent rookie season, Sauce is in an unfalsifiable situation. An edge rusher could lose Defensive Rookie of the Year with a sack drought. A cornerback can seal up the award with zero stats so long as he doesn't give up many high-profile touchdowns. And Sauce will probably be forgiven if Jefferson or Diggs tag him once or twice over the next two weeks.

Comeback Player of the Year

Walkthrough grabbed Geno Smith at +2000 on October 12 (we placed the bet LIVE on our Monday livestream) and couldn't be happier right now. Geno's moneyline is now a pointless-to-wager -300. Saquon Barkley (+190) has lost momentum with just 61 rushing yards in his last two games. Derrick Henry (+2000) and Christian McCaffrey (+2800) lack the right combination of legs for the stretch run and narrative satisfaction to win a narrative-based award.

Smith's comeback tale is essentially slump-proof. The Seahawks could go on a losing streak down the stretch and miss the playoffs, yet Smith still pulled himself off the scrap heap, proved himself a viable starter, made the Seahawks relevant, and also helped make Russell Wilson look a little more silly to boot. And while Geno no longer looks like a mobile version of Drew Brees like he did in early October, he's settling in to a high-enough level of play to win CPOY on cruise control.

Coach of the Year

Nick Sirianni is getting a -135 moneyline. The last head coach to win COY in his second year with a team was Bruce Arians for the 2014 Arizona Cardinals. Arians also won COY for his interim stint with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, making him something of an outlier. The last person to win in his second NFL head coaching season was Lovie Smith for the 2005 Chicago Bears. So there's a lot of history working against Sirianni.

Brian Daboll appeared to be a money-printing machine back in October. He's now at +2200. The Giants face the Commanders and Eagles twice down the stretch, plus the Colts and Vikings. Daboll could remain in COY contention if he can find three wins on that slate, but he does not control his own fate.

Mike McDaniel is getting a +500 moneyline, his team is 8-3 and surging, and he's likely to benefit from the Tua Credit Deflection phenomenon. Voters may shun McDaniel for his handling of Tagovailoa's concussion, but voters shrugged at Aaron Rodgers' anti-vax crusade last season. If the Dolphins are 10-4 at the end of their upcoming three-game road trip, McDaniel's moneyline will probably drop toward even odds.

Incidentally, Walkthrough grabbed Mike McDaniel for Coach of the Year on July 11 at +1600, anticipating a reasonable probability that the Dolphins season would turn out more or less the way it has. Doubt our PropWatch instincts at your own peril!

Robert Saleh is getting +500 odds. Let's see how things go once opponents get a little more film on Mike White.

Final Walkthrough Prop Bet Tally

We're grabbing Judon at +1700: the juice is worth a little squeeze. We also grabbed Christian Watson +700 because the Pierce Rookie of the Year campaign is over. If you are seeking a diversified portfolio, consider Mahomes as a low-risk option. Season with Tyreek or Jefferson to taste. Walkthrough promises to check back after the awards are announced to gloat see how everyone did!

Ineligible Man Downfield Penalties

If you think you are seeing far more ineligible man downfield penalties than ever in 2022, it's not your imagination. And you are probably an Eagles, Steelers, or Dolphins fan.

There have been 64 ineligible man downfield (IMD) penalties through 12 weeks, by far the highest total on record for even a full season. Check out the recent figures, per NFLPenalties.com. Remember, the 2022 totals are not projected or prorated in any way: it's raw 11-/12-game data being compared to raw 16-/17-game data from past years.

2022: 64 penalties, 2.00 per team so far.
2021: 46 penalties, 1.44 per team.
2020: 25 penalties, 0.78 per team
2019: 39 penalties, 1.19 per team
2018: 16 penalties, 0.50 per team
2017: 14 penalties, 0.44 per team
2016: 20 penalties, 0.63 per team

If you guessed that the rise in IMD penalties is directly tied the rise of the run/pass option, then you are correct. Offensive linemen block as if it's a running play for most RPO concepts. That means they can venture as far downfield as they please. Most RPO passes are quick and short, so it's unlikely that a lineman will end up more than 1 yard downfield. But if the quarterback double-clutches or scrambles before throwing, a blocker may be out at the second level or pile-driving his defender a few yards downfield, resulting in a flag.

Here are the most penalized teams for having ineligible linemen downfield in 2022:

Pittsburgh Steelers: 6 IMD penalties;
Miami Dolphins: 5
Philadelphia Eagles: 5
Indianapolis Colts: 5
Carolina Panthers: 4
New York Giants: 4
Kansas City Chiefs: 4

The Eagles, Dolphins, Panthers, and Chiefs are among the most RPO-heavy offenses in the NFL. The Steelers are the only team on the list above that doesn't use the RPO all that frequently, but they do use lots of screen concepts which require offensive linemen to slip downfield, and also their offense just stinks.

Keep in mind as you look at those penalty totals just how rare the IMD penalty used to be. In 2017, the Chiefs led the NFL with just three total fouls.

The ineligible man downfield penalty dates back to the early days of organized American football at the start of the 20th century, when the forward pass was just being legalized in an effort to prevent literal deaths on the field. The founding fathers of modern football, including folks such as John Heisman, didn't want 10 players racing around the field trying to catch passes, so they placed tight strictures on everyone along the line of scrimmage but the two ends. Not only could interior linemen not catch a pass, but they weren't even allowed to roam downfield on passing plays!

Other rules to limit forward passing—the quarterback could only throw from 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage; an incomplete pass was a turnover—were scrapped long ago. But the rules about eligible receivers became part of the DNA of American football.

Watch any college game, and you may notice that officials are rather lenient when calling IMD. College linemen often charge several yards downfield toward the boundaries to block for slip-screens while the quarterback is still winding up. NFL officials, by contrast, have become sticklers. On many IMD fouls, the lineman has just strayed a step or two downfield while blocking and is nowhere near the flow of the play. Sometimes, the blocker gets flagged just for "finishing:" driving his defender back so conclusively that his own momentum forces him to take an extra stride forward.

No one wants to see offensive linemen racing 10 yards downfield before the throw to create a wall for Tyreek Hill. (Or do we?) But the current enforcement of the IMD penalties is essentially a "gotcha." The NFL should advise officials to handle linemen who get a little lost during RPOs the way they treat quarterbacks who call for the snap just as the play clock reaches zero. No one wants extra delay of game penalties for their own sake. And no one really wants what are usually routine short gains turned into 5-yard penalties and clock stoppages because of strict interpretations of a rule designed to prevent guards from catching passes in 1906.

Quick Note No. 1: Steelers guard James Daniels appears to lead the NFL in ineligible man downfield penalties with three. The data is hand-sifted, so we may have missed someone.

Quick Note No. 2: The Minnesota Vikings have benefited from an NFL-high six ineligible man downfield penalties. If there's some random, tiny, not-really-earned advantage anywhere in a 2022 NFL data set, chances are the Vikings are benefitting from it.


60 comments, Last at 06 Dec 2022, 8:25am

#1 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 02, 2022 - 9:01am

There was a non-zero chance that Nathaniel Hackett would be ritually sacrificed and slow-cooked into stringy brisket at the Wilson estate.

Brisket is made from beef. People are more similar to pork. You'd slow cook him into pulled pork.

\it's like saying you'd go to John's and get a cheesesteak...

Points: 4

#24 by NoraDaddy // Dec 02, 2022 - 11:42am

Brisket is made from beef. People are more similar to pork

Not sure I want to know how you know this...  Do you enjoy a nice Cianti?

Points: 3

#2 by Travis // Dec 02, 2022 - 9:15am

Watch any college game, and you may notice that officials are rather lenient when calling IMD. College linemen often charge several yards downfield toward the boundaries to block for slip-screens while the quarterback is still winding up.

Unlike the NFL's, the college rules allow linemen to go as far downfield as they want on passes as long as the pass is caught behind the line of scrimmage.

Points: 3

#3 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 02, 2022 - 9:19am

Nick Sirianni is getting a -135 moneyline. The last head coach to win COY in his second year with a team was Bruce Arians for the 2014 Arizona Cardinals. Arians also won COY for his interim stint with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, making him something of an outlier. The last person to win in his second NFL head coaching season was Lovie Smith for the 2005 Chicago Bears. So there's a lot of history working against Sirianni.

The scary part is that means if he doesn't win a title in the next two years, he's never getting close again.

Points: 0

#4 by NYChem // Dec 02, 2022 - 9:22am

Pretty sure Nick Bosa is NOT the reigning DPOY, FWIW. And its not just Eagles and Giants fans who consider Minkah to be the only Cowboy who is not annoying AF.

Points: 3

#7 by colonialbob // Dec 02, 2022 - 9:31am

Micah - Minkah is on the Steelers.

It's also funny to me that Micah is "likeable" when he's very demonstrative and outspoken. I would've guessed he's more the "love him on your team, dislike him if he's not" type.

Points: 0

#30 by theslothook // Dec 02, 2022 - 12:39pm

Was just about to post that. I was like...when exactly did that happen?

Points: 0

#5 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 02, 2022 - 9:24am

But if the quarterback double-clutches or scrambles before throwing, a blocker may be out at the second level or pile-driving his defender a few yards downfield, resulting in a flag.

It shouldn't, though. That's legal.

Section 3. Article 1. Item 1. Legally Downfield. An ineligible player is not illegally downfield if, after initiating contact with an opponent within one yard of the line of scrimmage during his initial charge:

  1. he moves more than one yard beyond the line while legally blocking or being blocked by an opponent

Points: 1

#6 by colonialbob // Dec 02, 2022 - 9:28am

The second thing is (finishing a block), not the first one (coming off the initial block to the second level).

Points: 0

#8 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 02, 2022 - 9:38am

The first thing Tanier argued is legal, though. If that's flagged, it's flagged contrary to the written rules.

The second thing is an interpretation problem, because somehow refs have gotten stupider lately. I didn't think that was possible, but they've hit rock bottom and begun to dig.

Points: 3

#13 by colonialbob // Dec 02, 2022 - 10:02am

No, it's not, that's the entire point of the penalty? I feel like one of us is misinterpreting what he's saying there - I took that to mean that an OL has come off his block and is at the second level, i.e. more than a yard downfield, before the QB throws the ball. If he's just pushing a guy back that far that's legal, but I've always interpreted "second level" as meaning the lineman is beyond the initial line and into the linebackers, a thing that necessarily involves him no longer blocking somebody that was on the line.

Points: 0

#14 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 02, 2022 - 10:11am

Tanier discusses two distinct situations -- the piledriver and the rolloff.

I was addressing the first one -- that is explicitly legal and it's incorrect to rule otherwise. The second one is an interpretation gray area where I think we all feel referees are failing.

Theoretically, you could continue to legally block a defensive lineman all the way out the back of his own end zone.

Your second question is interesting -- what about the second level? The full rule is:

Item 1. Legally Downfield. An ineligible player is not illegally downfield if, after initiating contact with an opponent within one yard of the line of scrimmage during his initial charge:

  1. he moves more than one yard beyond the line while legally blocking or being blocked by an opponent
  2. after breaking legal contact with an opponent more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage, he remains stationary until a forward pass is thrown
  3. after losing legal contact with an opponent more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage, he is forced behind the line of scrimmage by an opponent, at which time he is again subject to normal blocking restrictions for an ineligible offensive player.

I think it's important to note that part 1 states "an opponent" not "the opponent." Combined with 2 and 3, I think it's clear that so long as you don't move further downfield after pancaking the first guy, you are free to engage a second (or later) defender, and can legally push them downfield as well. So yes, you can pick up a backer as a lineman and block them downfield, but you need to have ridden a LOS defender (who can be an LB or a DB, if they are within 1 yard of LOS) in order to get there.

Points: 0

#15 by colonialbob // Dec 02, 2022 - 10:26am

I disagree - those three exceptions are all "after initiating contact with an opponent within one yard of the LOS", meaning that they don't apply if you're initiating contact outside of that one yard. If you push a guy backwards and then a second defender engages you at the same time, you could probably move onto him, but if the OL is the one initiating contact I believe that would be illegal.

In practice I think that any OL who's more than a yard downfield and engaged with a backer/DB (without having pushed them from the LOS) is always going to draw a flag.

Points: 3

#18 by Pat // Dec 02, 2022 - 10:48am

Yeah, in practice, it should be "you can block forward at the line all you want, once you stop being engaged, if you're downfield, just stop and wait until the pass happens." You should never be penalized for blocks that begin at the line, but no, you're not allowed to like, "block-hop" your way downfield.

My biggest annoyance with the "let's just throw flags all the time when guys are downfield!" is when they throw them on guys that are clearly not involved in the play, and just ended up downfield due to line play, as above. If a guy's lying on the damn ground three yards from the line, he's not trying to friggin cheat, he just got shoved on a block and fell. Calling that is wacko stupid: what, was the plan "look, dive forward and we can use you as an obstacle!"? If the lineman's downfield and not doing anything, don't throw the flag, you probably didn't see how the hell he got there.

Points: 2

#22 by colonialbob // Dec 02, 2022 - 11:16am

Yeah you'd think the flag would be pretty easy, actually: if you see an OL more than a yard downfield either 1) initiate a block or 2) unengaged and moving, throw the flag. Otherwise, no.

Points: 2

#54 by Pat // Dec 02, 2022 - 4:18pm

I think that's how most of the refs are calling it. It's just those 5 or 6 crews that are like "ha, I see you! Flag!"

I get the feeling too that you should be able to get an idea of whether or not it's a "real" penalty if you look at the ratio of called to declined or offsetting. Dunno why, though - it just feels like if you've got a crew that's calling it right, often it'll happen because something else went horribly wrong. In which case you'll end up with offsetting or declined penalties.

Points: 0

#56 by ahmadrashad // Dec 02, 2022 - 7:07pm

On the other hand, some of these calls have been real obvious with the lineman just running down the field. (probably missed a signal or something.)  

Points: 0

#27 by davepyne // Dec 02, 2022 - 12:26pm

I'm not convinced that you can pick up a backer in this way. It seems that once you break contact with the opposing player downfield you would need to remain stationary until the pass is thrown to be downfield legally. I think its nearly impossible to pick up a linebacker to block if you are stationary. What do you think?

Points: 1

#29 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 02, 2022 - 12:34pm

I'm looking at rule 3, which seems to contemplate that a second defender can engage you.

Points: 0

#33 by BlueStarDude // Dec 02, 2022 - 1:12pm

which is not the same as the blocker engaging a second defender

Points: 1

#31 by Travis // Dec 02, 2022 - 12:41pm

Blocking/engaging a second defender downfield (as long as the lineman is moving laterally) wouldn't draw a flag for ineligible man downfield, but would draw a flag for offensive pass interference.

Second-and-5 on A30. Tackle A6 blocks B4 legally and drives him downfield to the A35 and then loses contact. A6 then moves laterally and: (a) blocks B2; or (b) does not block. The forward pass is then thrown incomplete to A2 at the 50.
(a) Second-and-15 on A20, or third-and-5 on A30. Offensive pass interference.
(b) Third-and-5 on A30. No foul for ineligible downfield. Because A6 is legal in blocking his man downfield, after losing contact, A6 may legally move laterally or back towards his own end line. However, it is offensive pass interference if, after losing contact with B4, A6 blocks anyone more than one yard beyond the line before the pass is touched.

Points: 3

#40 by Ben // Dec 02, 2022 - 1:45pm

That’s interesting. To me that interpretation  directly contradicts the “remain stationary” requirement in the other posted rule. 

Points: 1

#55 by Pat // Dec 02, 2022 - 4:55pm

It also blows up the spirit of the rule, too, because now you can make contact with a guy who's dropping, gain a couple of yards downfield, and move side-to-side being a giant pain in the ass so long as you don't contact anyone.

The ineligible downfield part of the NFL rulebook's just garbage, and it shows, considering the crews just call it however they feel.

Points: 1

#41 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 02, 2022 - 1:50pm

And for a further wrinkle:


After the ball leaves the passer’s hand, ineligible pass receivers can advance more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage, or beyond the position reached by their initial charge, provided that they do not block or contact a defensive player, who is more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage, until the ball is touched by a player of either team. Such prior blocking and/or contact is pass interference if it occurs in the vicinity of where the ball is thrown. See 8-3-1-Note above for exception when blocker maintains continuous contact.

It's not OPI if you're not in the vicinity of where the pass goes. I'm with Ben. These rules do not seem to be internally consistent.

Points: 1

#9 by DGL // Dec 02, 2022 - 9:42am

What if the distance from the LOS where a lineman was permitted to legally block was extended to five yards?  That would still prevent the "send a bunch of linemen down to form a convoy" plays, while giving more latitude for run-blocking on RPOs and the like.  I also like the symmetry with the illegal contact rule - within 5 yards of the LOS, anything goes; beyond that, lineman can't roam and defenders can't contact.

Points: 0

#12 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 02, 2022 - 9:54am

The one yard limit derives from the 'line of scrimmage' definition, which is within one yard of the neutral zone (forward and rearmost points of the ball).

Points: 0

#17 by Pat // Dec 02, 2022 - 10:40am

The current rules are fine, they just need to tell a few officials to effin' quit it with ticky-tack crap. Linemen are allowed to be downfield before a pass if they get there by blocking initiated at the line.

Seriously, of the 17 crews, only 4 have called more than 3 all season. Brad Rodgers has called 13. Scott Novak's not much better at 8, but his crews are ticky-tack kings anyway. Literally more than half of Philly's "tied for second in the league" ineligible man downfield come from Novak. 

It's actually the biggest crew gap penalty of all of them. 3 refs have only called 2 ineligible downfield penalties all year. That's a 7x difference between min/max. Holding/DPI only have about a 3x difference, and roughness only has about a 6x difference.

This isn't a "team" thing - it's a ref thing, obviously. The rate of ineligible downfield penalties has gone up by a factor of 3 in two years.

Points: 3

#19 by Raiderfan // Dec 02, 2022 - 10:51am

Personally, I am not favor of any rule that makes offense even easier than it is now.

Points: 6

#34 by BigRichie // Dec 02, 2022 - 1:16pm

Personally, I am not in favor of any rule that makes dink passing more desirable than it is now. I want many more IMD penalties so as to stop this ugly nonsense.

Points: 0

#36 by KnotMe // Dec 02, 2022 - 1:21pm

I would be ok with maybe letting lineman move more downfield(increases O) and reducing the PI rules(Increases D). Basicly, make it easier to call and let them fight it out

Points: 0

#44 by JoelBarlow // Dec 02, 2022 - 2:14pm


RPO is already more or less a cheat code - also not super fun to watch in large amounts

Points: 0

#23 by OmahaChiefs13 // Dec 02, 2022 - 11:36am

An unintended consequence of that change would be to essentially eliminate pass-blocking and the pocket as we know it.

If there are no restrictions on line play within 5 yards, there would never be a reason to drop into a traditional pass-block stance with the intent of forming a pocket...linemen would be free to fire off the line as if they were run-blocking on every play, whether it be a run, RPO, or traditional drop-back pass.

Along with that would come a fundamental change in how pass rush works, what QB scrambles look like, and a number of other foundational changes in the way the game plays.

Whether we collectively like that change or not, it'd be a pretty immediate consequence of that rule change, and it would extend far beyond just giving a little more space on RPOs. It's somewhat of a scorched-earth approach to adjusting the application of one penalty.

Points: 1

#10 by RickD // Dec 02, 2022 - 9:43am

How can Geno Smith be the comeback player of the year? To achieve that, he'd have to stink the rest of the season.

He's a late-career breakthrough player. If there were an award for that, he'd win it hands down.  Since there isn't, I'd vote for Saquon. 

Points: 2

#11 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 02, 2022 - 9:45am

Relative to expected career length, they are probably in about the same point in their career. Smith, somehow, has only played in one more game in his career than Barkley has.

Points: 0

#42 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 02, 2022 - 2:11pm

Yeah I usually think of a "comeback" player as either someone who returned from a devastating injury or returned to form after having been good at one point. Geno is neither, he just took a long time to find his footing, ala Rich Gannon.

Points: 1

#20 by DGL // Dec 02, 2022 - 11:04am

Are those upvote/downvote buttons I see!?!

Points: -1

#25 by Joey-Harringto… // Dec 02, 2022 - 12:19pm

"Klis considered the attendance rate proof that Wilson is still respected in the Broncos locker room. Walkthrough knows better: a 50% attendance rate is proof that Wilson is so toxic that he discourages lookie-loos."'

Clearly the best metric to measure quarterback leadership is birthday party attendance over expectation (BPAOE).

Points: 9

#52 by Paul R // Dec 02, 2022 - 3:59pm

"Wilson gains 13 party guests from personality adjustments..."

Points: 7

#32 by Kaepernicus // Dec 02, 2022 - 12:57pm

DPOY is always really interesting to me. What is more valuable consistent production or high peak games? I think the 2 most consistent edge defenders in the NFL are Nick Bosa and Myles Garrett. Nick Bosa has at least 1 sack and TFL in every game he has finished this year. Parsons is unique on this because he has had multiple games/snaps where he didn't play edge. Some of these guys feast on the bad tackles they play and disappear against the top end linemen. There is also the quality of QBs they play. Bosa has a sack against Mahomes and Herbert. 2 of the least sacked QBs in the NFL. If he gets one against Tua on Sunday he will add another notoriously tough to sack QB to the list. I would personally like to see more context for these types of awards. I guess PFF is the closest we can get to that.

Points: 1

#35 by BigRichie // Dec 02, 2022 - 1:19pm

If I turned down an invite to a Ciara party, my wife would be waiting for me with a meat cleaver.

(other than that I don't have a wife, but I am still 100% confident I speak for 100% of wives on that one)

Points: 0

#51 by Chuckc // Dec 02, 2022 - 3:15pm

I'm 90% confident that if I turned down an invite to a Ciara party, my wife would say "who?"

Points: 4

#60 by ImNewAroundThe… // Dec 06, 2022 - 8:25am

That says more about your wife than anything. And not in a good way. 

Points: 0

#37 by BigRichie // Dec 02, 2022 - 1:22pm

What makes a comment "Controversial"?? Having just noticed it for the first time, I clicked on it to find out, and my Ciara comment made 20 seconds earlier came to the top. So did some 'controversy algorithm' flag "meat cleaver", or what?

Points: 0

#38 by BigRichie // Dec 02, 2022 - 1:24pm

Now it just did so for this post. So either it's a recency thing, or it thinks I like being called 'controversial'. Or maybe using the word "Controversial" is controversial.

Points: 0

#43 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 02, 2022 - 2:13pm

By the Reddit use of the term, its a post that has attracted a lot of up- and down-votes so it is generating a lot of opinions on opposite sides but the score keeps hovering around 0.

Points: 0

#45 by BigRichie // Dec 02, 2022 - 2:38pm

Makes sense, but flunks testing. I downvoted someone with 2 up-thumbs to see if that would send him above my thumbless comments. Nope.

Points: 0

#46 by BigRichie // Dec 02, 2022 - 2:40pm

OK, further tested by downvoting someone who was at 1 Point (sorry), in case 0 was a critical number. Didn't make him any more controversial either.

Points: 0

#49 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 02, 2022 - 2:53pm

It doesn't look like they've set it up the Reddit way. When I picked Controversial, it just flipped the order so the highest rated comments were at the bottom.

Points: 0

#47 by Eddo // Dec 02, 2022 - 2:43pm

If the system here is like Reddit's, I believe "controversial" comments are ones with a high combination of positive and negative votes.  Whereas "top" comments are based on net positive score.

Points: 0

#57 by ChrisS // Dec 02, 2022 - 10:53pm

Making this site more like Reddit is certainly a great idea. Maybe Musk can buy it, to make it the best of all worlds

Points: 2

#58 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 03, 2022 - 9:31am

We should add hashtags and pre-orders with no expectation of the product ever being delivered.

Points: 2

#39 by KnotMe // Dec 02, 2022 - 1:28pm

But very few would stay home to play Modern Warfare II while their quarterback noodles on the piano and his pop-diva spouse sashays about singing torch songs Fabulous Baker Boys-style.

Arizona players really have the best of both worlds for the probably the first time ever. 

Points: 1

#48 by theslothook // Dec 02, 2022 - 2:43pm

Does anyone want to throw out candidates for DPOY but coming from off ball linebacker, corner, or safety?

Points: 0

#59 by jonsilver // Dec 06, 2022 - 8:20am

Hey, FO, please do a better job policing the comment section for nonsense like posts 59, 60 and 61...start banning those "commenters..."

Points: 0

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