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.