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Jeff Fisher: It’s unlikely NFL will add replay review of penalties

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Getty Images

Last NFL season, several games turned on questionable penalties — particularly pass interference and personal fouls — that looked like they would have been overturned if the referee were allowed to review penalties on replays. That raises an obvious question: Why isn’t the referee allowed to review penalties on replays?

Rams coach Jeff Fisher, a longtime member of the Competition Committee, says that question will be raised in league meetings this offseason, but fans and coaches who want to see replay used to review penalties may be disappointed in the answer.

“We discuss replay every year,” Fisher said on Mike & Mike. “I think we go back to the foundation of the replay system, it was designed to overturn an obvious error. We knew it was not going to be a perfect system, just from a time standpoint and a number of challenges standpoint. I think that will be discussed but I think it’s unlikely we move in the direction of penalties. That’s a hard thing to do. The only penalty that’s actually reviewable on the field is too many men on the field. I think once we look at penalties you’re asking for problems.”

Adding more plays that can be reviewed does have the possibility of more long delays during games. But it also increases the number of officiating mistakes that can be corrected. Perhaps a blown penalty call costing the Rams a game is what it will take for Fisher to be in favor of replay review on penalties.

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50 Responses to “Jeff Fisher: It’s unlikely NFL will add replay review of penalties”
  1. doctorrustbelt says: Feb 18, 2014 3:22 PM

    They should.

    SEE: new england getting first round bye and home field advantage due to a bogus last second pass interference call against Cleveland

  2. marvsleezy says: Feb 18, 2014 3:28 PM

    I agree, it would create more problems. For the refs. Because they would be Exposed

  3. jburk003 says: Feb 18, 2014 3:29 PM

    Tell them they should look at the Ahmad Brooks v Drew Brees BS roughing the passer SACK in the 49er v Saints game…

    The 49ers would have won that game had that horrible penalty not been called, and would have had home field advantage and the number 1 seed, thus playing Seattle at home.

    Penalties make all the difference in the world.

    By not reviewing penalties, expect more and more teams to adopt the philosophy of the Seattle defense and defensive hold/ pass interference every play because players know a Penalty will not be called every play.

  4. beavertonsteve says: Feb 18, 2014 3:33 PM

    If they leave the number of challenges the same I don’t think it will add much time to games at all. In fact, coaches might be even more hesitant to challenge the spot on a 10 yard out in the first quarter if they new they might need that red flag for a 45 yard pass interference call in the 4th.

  5. The Great Ted Thompson the Genius says: Feb 18, 2014 3:36 PM

    Pass interference is the biggest penalty you can get since it could be a 60-yard penalty if it occurs far enough down the field. It’s also one of the most difficult penalties to judge. It is obvious that pass interference should be subject to replay review.

  6. grndizzle says: Feb 18, 2014 3:36 PM

    If they aren’t going to make PI reviewable, they should at least adopt the college rule and just do 15 yards and a first down.

  7. ratsfoiledagain says: Feb 18, 2014 3:36 PM

    I don’t mind some extra reviews here and there, so long as a 2.5 to 3 hour game doesn’t last 4+ hours in regulation due to the constant challenges.

    You need the human element in games….that’s what makes them great, and frustrating, at the same time.

  8. jbaxt says: Feb 18, 2014 3:37 PM

    I’m okay with whatever plays are reviewable except for the one where you call fumble on the field, but really the guy intercepted it, all while blowing out his knee. How that play isn’t reviewable is amazingly stupid.

  9. silencethecritics says: Feb 18, 2014 3:39 PM

    I think getting it right trumps the amount of minutes it would extend the game.

  10. holla2626 says: Feb 18, 2014 3:45 PM

    Replay on all penalties 15 yards or more and the problem is solved.

  11. 80sbroncofan says: Feb 18, 2014 3:51 PM

    A bad penalty call almost cost the rams a win over the bears. Michael Brockers bogus roughing the passer penalty after it was a clean text book hit that caused a fumble. Bears got the ball back because of the penalty and scored a touchdown on the play after.

  12. bostroff says: Feb 18, 2014 3:52 PM

    That’s also not the only penalty that can be reviewed. There was an Eagles-Giants game a few years ago where Coughlin challenged that McNabb was across the line of scrimmage when he threw a forward pass. Penalty was not called on the field, but they assessed the penalty after reviewing the play.

  13. slugbaitspace says: Feb 18, 2014 3:53 PM

    First of all, when replay was first re-introduced in the NFL, everybody said it would be as bad as it was the first time, and would waste time in the game. Turned out that the rule changes made replay better.

    Second, adding automatic replay after scores and turnovers a few years ago caused such a commotion that it would waste time in the game. Turned out that it was exclusively utilized only in cases when it wasn’t perfectly obvious.

    Third, penalties are the most subjective of any play call by the officials. Some are very odd, and the rules needs to be interpreted. And as we all know, there needs to be “beyond reasonable doubt” on the replay. Far too often, that cannot be possible on a flagged play.

    Total BS is what I call on this idea. There are going to be bad calls, and bad calls by officials have existed long before the NFL came along. And this will go down as fact: a call YOU think is a bad one will not be reversed on review, usually because YOU don’t see or understand what is actually going on. That’s simply the way it goes. If you haven’t gotten used to it by now, you shouldn’t be watching the game.

  14. tvjules says: Feb 18, 2014 3:56 PM

    So, protecting the credibility of the refs trumps getting the call correctly.

  15. bandoy767 says: Feb 18, 2014 3:56 PM

    I dont see how it’s going to make the game longer. Coaches are still going to be limited on the amount of challenges they have.

  16. ronin36 says: Feb 18, 2014 3:57 PM

    If they’re not going to expand the review system, then they should expand the number of zebras on the field. At least then there could be more consistent calls.

    Ask most players and they’ll say they’ll take bad calls as long as they’re consistent. And right now, with the game being spread out, bigger, and faster. There simply aren’t enough zebras on the field to call a good game.

    If they’re not going to allow penalties (alone) to be challenged. Then they should at least allow plays already reviewable to include penalties that directly effect the play. The obvious OPI in the Fail Mary is a perfect example.

  17. grantsbuds says: Feb 18, 2014 3:57 PM

    There Fords’ and Lions fans wish there was an instant replay review of all Millen draft picks.

  18. seatownballers says: Feb 18, 2014 3:58 PM

    Commissioner already said no.
    In 2011. Ain’t gonna happen

  19. imbetteratlifethanyou says: Feb 18, 2014 4:00 PM

    Even if they did this, the vikings would still lose 10 plus games a year.

  20. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 18, 2014 4:01 PM

    It doesn’t have to delay the game at all if you have an efficient system to adjudicate anything in a real-time basis. All they have to do is overhaul the logistics of the system and reassign some decision making powers to other people that aren’t on the field to begin with.

  21. bennyb82 says: Feb 18, 2014 4:03 PM

    They need to allow challenges for any situation involving a fumble recovery. I get that it is probably tough to determine but some are clear like the GB-Pitt game where the blocked FG was recovered by Pittsburgh and lateraled, then dropped and knocked forward out of bounds. I still cannot believe GB got the ball on that play.

  22. fumblenuts says: Feb 18, 2014 4:06 PM

    “I think once we look at penalties you’re asking for problems.”

    Sorry Jeff, I STRONGLY disagree. Some of these refs throw the most bonehead penalty flags for virtually NOTHING. ANY 15 yard penalty SHOULD be reviewable. The 5 yard one’s no so much……

  23. dukeearl says: Feb 18, 2014 4:09 PM

    Or, they could review plays during the niners-seahawks game at the candlestick and realize that Sherman was held during the Frank Gore run.
    That gets called back, San Fran loses at home and misses the playoffs.
    Is my example ridiculous.. .sure is… but you can stop the “what if” fact is SF lost the NFC championship. Stop whining.

  24. afcdomination says: Feb 18, 2014 4:16 PM

    once we see success with centralized replay, we will see a different tune here.

  25. strokinmyego says: Feb 18, 2014 4:22 PM

    “They should.

    SEE: new england getting first round bye and home field advantage due to a bogus last second pass interference call against Cleveland”

    One and done again Rustbelt. The Bungles never would have beaten the Patriots anyways even if they did somehow win a playoff game for the first time in over two decades.

    How about the bogus Kuechly non call when he bear hugged Gronk in the end zone that screwed the Patriots out of getting the AFC number one seed?

  26. chinahand11 says: Feb 18, 2014 4:29 PM

    They need another ref for this, up in the booth, will instant access to all replays.

  27. melikefootball says: Feb 18, 2014 4:32 PM

    With HDTV’S the officiating has been exposed on how inconsistent it has become . The game deserves better, God-el wants to tinker with everything that was good in football, yet he does not see fit to address the officiating and the problems because of to many rules in place.

  28. ariani1985 says: Feb 18, 2014 4:41 PM

    Even if they change rules, green bay can only lose in the first round of the nfl playoffs just once right?

  29. ijahru says: Feb 18, 2014 4:41 PM

    I think part of the problem is guys like Fisher have been on that committee for a long time and may not be open to new ideas. Perhaps it should be a rotation seat on the committee with every team being represent say every 3-4 years. Same thing with hall Of Fame voting.

  30. mydogsnameisvick says: Feb 18, 2014 4:44 PM

    Why is Jeff Fisher always involved? Mediocre, overrated coach.

  31. gmen32 says: Feb 18, 2014 4:45 PM

    some of the roughing the passer penalities have become a joke. There must be an opportunity to overturn these brutal calls.

  32. 7ftgriff says: Feb 18, 2014 4:53 PM

    this is crap!

    there should absolutely be replay review and challenge review available for 15 yard penalties. especially unnecessary roughness (ask Donte Whitner).

    There were at least half a dozen games this season directly impacted by bad calls that couldn’t be overturned, for them to continue with the status quo given the blunders of officials impacting the bottom line is absolutely ludicrous.

  33. normaneinstein7 says: Feb 18, 2014 4:58 PM

    Of course they won’t address it. Reviewing penalties strips away the league’s ability to rig games and control outcomes. No way they will give up that power.

  34. bspray says: Feb 18, 2014 5:09 PM

    They need to use a system similar to the NHL’s. Somehow Fox is able to have Mike Pereira watching every game and giving extensive analysis on every single challenge in the time it takes the on field referee to run over, listen in on the headphones and then watch three minutes worth of replays. Coincidentally, Pereira is almost always right as far as predicting what the reviewed call will be.

    Now whether or not we as fans agree with his analysis is another story. The fact is, he gets is right within a minute or so of the challenge.

    The game could be sped up immensely if they would just have a couple referees in a production room ready to rule on a call as soon as it comes in.

    Of course, that means fewer commercials so the NFL and it’s broadcasters make less money. I am sure this will happen expeditiously.

  35. wisconsinhillfolk says: Feb 18, 2014 5:15 PM

    The whole challenge system is ridiculous. Why should a HC have to throw a red flag to review an official’s error? Shouldn’t the replay official catch these errors?

    Also, Jeff Fisher is mediocre at best.

  36. skleech22 says: Feb 18, 2014 5:17 PM

    I can see it now Tommy,Billy and Bobby Kraft doing the endzone celebration like the old skins Funbunch endzone dance!

  37. bobleblah says: Feb 18, 2014 5:29 PM

    I’m sure no ref has ever thrown a phantom flag to make sure the point spread was covered or not.

    Full-time Professional Referees Now!

  38. granadafan says: Feb 18, 2014 5:33 PM

    They should be able to review penalties, but some like pass interference are complete judgement calls, like it or not. The ones that ought to be reviewed are blows to the head. Guys have gone high, hit the shoulder pads, but are still called for headshots. Clearly that’s a wrong call.

  39. dalcow4 says: Feb 18, 2014 5:41 PM

    I’m guessing Fisher also would vote against a replay system penalizing dirty coaches ordering hits on opposing players’ knees.

    Oh gosh, sorry– not “dirty”. I meant “tough” or “hardnosed” or “demanding” or whatever adjective Fisher attracts.

  40. packfanaj12 says: Feb 18, 2014 5:50 PM

    If the call is not right, then why shouldn’t it be fixed? For the game to be fair, the calls need to be fair and correct. That should be the case on all plays penalty or not.

  41. upperdecker19 says: Feb 18, 2014 6:06 PM

    Getting a team in London is much more important than fair and ethical officiating, Coach Fisher.

    Regards,
    Roger Goodell

  42. titans4evr says: Feb 18, 2014 6:26 PM

    I’m sick of replay reviews.

    If they reviewed every decision/action I made from day to day I’d be fired from work, dumped by my girlfriend, and arrested by the cops.

    We always hag on the stripes when they blow a call, but in reality there’s a LOT going on on the field in REAL time, and they make a ton of really good calls that go unnoticed. The last thing we need is more delays on whether there was some ticky-tack hold or something.

    We don’t need the game any slower. I would be willing to negotiate on PI calls of greater than 20 yards, or within the opponents 20.

  43. 1phd says: Feb 18, 2014 6:41 PM

    Time for new blood on the committee. Fossils like Fisher are the problem.

  44. wwenfl1974 says: Feb 18, 2014 7:01 PM

    I wish they would sorry jeff but it would help the game alot!!!! PLZ NFL DO IT!!!!!!

  45. fordwuzanazi says: Feb 18, 2014 7:01 PM

    Not a good enough reason not to Jeff.

  46. Waffle 2.0 says: Feb 18, 2014 7:46 PM

    Here is the simple reason they won’t review penalties:

    They would have to eliminate at least 2 commercial breaks per game to account for the time it would take. That is not alot of time and but it’s a lot of lost ad revenue and isn’t that what this great game is all about?

    (2 TV spot revenue per game) X (number of NFL Games in entire NFL season) = millions of dollars lost per year

    Goodell voluntarily reducing the amount of revenue to the owners for the sake of showing how bad the refs are??? Yup, sounds reasonable.

  47. celticsforever says: Feb 18, 2014 9:03 PM

    Pass interference – the SINGLE biggest game changing play in any game. Whether it is in the end zone (1st down from the 1) or on a 60 yard hail mary… should be reviewable. Hands down.

  48. thereyougo2 says: Feb 18, 2014 9:57 PM

    Keep the mistakes get rid of replay. Totally boring . The real purpose is more commercials. Half the time they get it wrong anyway.

  49. flogginthelog says: Feb 18, 2014 10:30 PM

    Of course they won’t fix an obvious flaw in the system. Because the nfl wouldn’t be able to rig games to get the best possible matchup. They’ll lose out on a lot of money. Prime example would be the Seahawks making the superbowl this year. not a niner fan but that game was obviously tainted with blown calls in order to get the Seahawks number one holding/mugging/ped-loaded/cheating defense against Peyton mannings numbers one offense. The league will never expose themselves because when they control the outcomes, they control how much revenue is raked into their overly bloated pockets.

  50. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Feb 19, 2014 6:51 AM

    They have an opportunity with this to drastically improve the quality & experience of games!!! If they keep the number of challenges the same it will be the same amount of game delay.

    It sounds like a bureaucratic response and it will be a travesty & backwards if they aren’t progressive with this issue!!

    If his stance is going to be that including penalties to the types of reviews allowed is going to somehow extend game delays because there is more opportunities to throw the flag that does not hold water.

    The improvement to the quality of the game experience far outweighs anything here!!!

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