On Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons were attempting a fourth-quarter comeback against the Seattle Seahawks. It was fourth and 10 with time ticking down. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw a pass down the field to receiver Julio Jones, who was covered tightly by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. The pass was incomplete and the game was essentially over. The Seahawks won 26-24, but the Falcons were unhappy because Sherman was not called for pass interference.
[youtube video=”h70RqUGzFhM” /]
In the above video, you can see Sherman grabbing Jones’s right arm, preventing him from making the catch. The only people who didn’t see the infraction were the referees. In the majority of pass interference calls in the NFL, the defender doesn’t do it intentionally. In most cases, they throw their arms up in disbelief and dispute the call. But did Sherman grab Jones’s arm knowing that the refs wouldn’t make the call?
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In a 2014 video from NFL Network’s “Turning Point,” Sherman explains to Seahawk receiver Doug Baldwin how he can regularly get away with pass interference.
Sherman says that when a receiver tries to shove him off, he grabs the receiver’s arm, and that refs never call it. Grabbing the receiver’s arm makes it look like the players are hand fighting instead of pass interference. It seems the three-time Pro Bowler has learned how to perfect the sneaky skill during his five years in the league.