Nolan: Let the punishment fit the crime

This story has been corrected. Read below for details

San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan wants to see the NFL adopt a new pass interference rule that gives officials some leeway in handing out punishment.

Mike Nolan Nolan

Nolan's plan would let officials decide if a penalty should result in a 15-yard penalty or a harsher, spot of the foul penalty.

The current rules state that a defensive pass interference penalty rewards the offense with the ball at the spot of the foul or at the one yard line if the penalty happens in the end zone.

Nolan, a former defensive back, points out that with the subjectivity of pass interference calls, it pushes offensive coaches into calling plays that simply try to draw penalties.

"You'll see them drop back and throw it vertical," Nolan told the Sacramento Bee. "They'll overthrow the play; they just want the penalty."

Nolan appears to be passionate about the topic but so far doesn't expect the issue to get much traction.

According to ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli, the NFL's powerful competition committee discussed the pass interference proposal in Naples, Fla. The concept received a lukewarm reception from the committee, which means it probably doesn't have much chance of passing muster with the full league membership at the Phoenix meetings later this month.

"You can maim someone, and it's 15 yards," Nolan told the Sacramento Bee. "You can end someone's career, and it's 15 yards. Pass interference -- it's not a reflection of the severity of the crime. It's like getting the death penalty for going 75 mph in a 55 zone."

ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli contributed to this report.

In a March 19 story on ESPN.com, several quotes from San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan were attributed incorrectly. A wire story from Scripps Howard News Service listed the incorrect newspaper and a corrected version of the story, listing the Sacramento Bee as the source of the Nolan quotes, was posted after it was made available. Information from ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli, initially reported in the March 16 edition of Tip Sheet, was added to the story.