Pick plays could present a potential replay review can of worms

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Generally speaking, the NFL made a wise decision to make pass interference subject to replay review. Still, some of the specifics could get interesting.

Case in point: The automatic review of any touchdown reception will likely now include scanning the field for not only a push off at the point the ball was caught but an illegal pick at the point where the receiver got open.

“Blocking more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage by an offensive player prior to a pass being thrown is offensive pass interference,” the official rulebook states. And since the expansion of replay applies generally to offensive pass interference and defensive pass interference, blocking more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage prior to a pass being thrown becomes the silver bullet to wipe out a touchdown.

It also provide the basis for erasing a huge gain (not resulting in a touchdown) with a red challenge flag, if the play happens prior to the two-minute warning in either half of action.

If it’s a foul, it should be called. And maybe the availability of replay will result in more picks being called as offensive pass interference, since more missed picks can now be called after the fact.

Regardless of how it plays out, it’s a clear consequence (intended or not) of the rule that the league adopted on Tuesday.

62 responses to “Pick plays could present a potential replay review can of worms

  1. I like the idea of getting the calls right, but this really is a huge can of worms they are opening. all the commercials and penalties and challenges make it harder and harder for me to watch football, this most likely will make that even worse

  2. Imagine the outrage about New England ‘getting all of the calls’ if that pick in the AFCCG was called under this new rule and erased a 40 yard gain.

  3. Can’t believe all the questions and concerns regarding the replay and PI. The CFL has handled this very well for the last few years. I’m sure if the small CFL can handle it, the NFL worth billions can figure it out. I love both leagues and trust me, the NFL needs to make this change. Far too many CFL games were being decided by brutal PI calls. It’s not perfect, but a huge improvement.

  4. The Patriots are notorious for running these non-penalize pick plays… After a few successfully challenged calls on these pick play, the refs will start calling them correctly.

  5. So can they go back and erase that reception down to the 5 by Sammy Watkins in the 4th quarter of the AFC Championship game made possible by an obvious illegal pick play?

    If that rule was correctly applied, NE wins in regulation and we would not be having an idiotic debate about fixing the OT rules in which the receiving team wins 52% of the time so we can adopt a new system more like college which results in the 2nd team to get the ball winning 57% of the time.

  6. The NFL is gonna be like the NBA. The 4th quarter will take over an hour just like how the last 2 minutes of an NBA game actually lasts 20 minutes in real time.

  7. Agreed, if it’s to see one called back on replay like that Chiefs egregious pick play in the AFCCG late in the 4th qtr 5 yards off the line of scrimmage where Chiefs WR leveled Pats CB (JC Jackson) resulting in a crucial long gain to a wide open Woods down to the 2 yard line – that should be used as the poster child of illegal picks… that one should be called back – but other negligible OPIs would be annoying to see overturned if they are 2 yards off LOS instead of 1 yard and not so obvious but technically could be called OPI… wouldn’t want that overturned on a big gain if it had no real impact on the play… would the refs have an option to say “while there was a minor infraction comitted on the play, it was irrelevant to the result of the play” therefore play stands…

  8. The crazy thing is there are certain teams that get away with them often while others get flagged on borderline offensive pass interference.

    Most of you who watch probably know what I am talking about. If referees cant officiate them fairly on the field make them reviewable.

  9. The league won’t enforce calling penalties on illegal pick plays unless they are very, very blatant, because the league wants high scoring, passing oriented games. This is why you see pass rushers practically being tackled by offensive players not being called, while there is a yellow flag thrown on about 60% of the running plays that gain more than 10-12 yards.

  10. 1). Coaches still only get two (2) challenges per game.

    2). If a team is well coached & disciplined they won’t be in violation of the pick rule.

    Yes the NFL has opened up the can of “unintended consequences” with all of the over-reactive rule changes, but this is a 1 season experiment. If it blows up in their faces and/of fans hate it, they’ll scrap it.

  11. Unintended consequences.

    Some proponents tried to dismiss these and a dozen more other likely scenarios that will result in a bunch of nullified TDs that would’ve stood the previous 100 years of football. This will get ugly is so many different ways.

    Half the fans screaming “pass interference!” and the other half yelling “uncatchable pass!”. Every coach throwing challenge flags for ticky tacky contact. Defenses using this rule to get a 4-minute breather to rest and kill the momentum of a long drive. Etc etc etc. Yuck.

  12. Can we just do away with this entire replay thing? I’m joking, but that’s what they’re hoping we say. They’re going to make replay so ridiculous and time consuming that we all just want it to go away.

  13. “The Patriots are notorious for running these non-penalize pick plays…”

    Actually the Pats are notorious for running legal pick plays with the pick within 1 yard of the LOS while all the people who don’t understand the rule cry about the mean ol’ Pats.

  14. You’re never going to get every call right. What needs to happen is the COACHES need to be given a few challenges per game to use as they see fit. The path the NFL is taking is self-defeating and results in EVERY play being debated with nobody ever being allowed to get too excited because there’s always the potential for the play to be erased for some reason–now by people who are a thousand miles away at the league office. The end result is fans hear all the debate and get the impression that the officiating is hideous, games are fixed, etc. The more the NFL expands replay, the worse the perception of their officiating will be. Counter-intuitive but true.

  15. Pic plays are often unflagged but when they are flagged, they are often wrong. So in the end, this may improve it all around.

  16. We all watch the games. How many times have we seen an obvious pick play not called OPI?

    I’m not saying this will be for the better but, it’s about time a rule is in place/modified to help the defense. Defenses have been screwed for a long time.

    I don’t mind high scoring games from time to time. They’re entertaining. However, I’ll take a 20-17 slobber knocker any day.

  17. if the “pick” play is executed illegally then call it, or allow the replay official to call it. When enough are called by the replay official then the field officials will start to look for it and call it. rules are rules. and admittedly, my steelers do push the boundaries of this rule to the extreme.

    I have no problem with the defense finally getting a few rules to help clamp down on the offenses.

  18. It’s ironic that the expanded rule was inspired by an uncalled DPI; I have no doubt that we’ll see far more uncalled OPIs flagged on review than we do DPIs.

  19. An interesting effect of this new rule is that it should make coaches more reluctant to throw the challenge flag than they have been in recent years. As it stood, all scoring plays were automatically reviewable, and all turnovers automatically reviewable, and al plays under two minutes automatically reviewable, so coaches didn’t have to worry too much about “wasting” a challenge on a borderline 8 yard catch or on the spot of the ball after a 3rd and 1 dive into the pile. Even if you’re wrong, it’s unlikely that running out of challenges will kill you, since the key plays are automatically reviewable.

    But now, coaches may employ a different strategy — hold onto your challenges at all costs, and “save” them for pass interference calls. Also, each team has a coach in the booth whose simple job was to watch replays to see if a pass hit the ground or a receiver stepped on a white line and then yell “challenge!” to the head coach holding the red flag. Now that coach in the booth has a far more nuanced and difficult job — deciding when to yell “challenge!” or “don’t challenge!” when the replay suggests pass interference or lack thereof.

  20. mackcarrington says:
    March 27, 2019 at 10:05 pm
    1). Coaches still only get two (2) challenges per game.

    2). If a team is well coached & disciplined they won’t be in violation of the pick rule.

    Yes the NFL has opened up the can of “unintended consequences” with all of the over-reactive rule changes, but this is a 1 season experiment. If it blows up in their faces and/of fans hate it, they’ll scrap it.

  21. mackcarrington says:
    1). Coaches still only get two (2) challenges per game.
    —–
    Coaches get 3, if the first two are correct. Plus there are also booth challenges in the last two minutes of each half. AND each scoring play is automatically reviewed.

  22. Mr Florio, I’m sorry to say more times then not I do not agree with you (But usually respect your opinion) This time you’re dead on. It’s Pandora’s Box times 10.

  23. Worst rule change since they changed the catch definition. So if this rule were in effect for the NFC Championship game, the Saints would have converted while committing a hold and hands to the face penalty. How is that fair?

  24. Yeah we get it.. the rule is going to backfire. But it was probably the only way to get the saints to shut up about the one time they were on the wrong end of a call.

  25. MileHighMystique says:
    March 27, 2019 at 10:19 pm
    Now we know why Gronk retired. He must have been tipped off.
    _____________________________________

    You must be kidding. Gronk is interfered with on practically every play and it’s almost never called. Ridiculous.

  26. If gronk were still playing you could challenge every time he goes downfield. And why can you only block within a yard but defenders routinely continue contact 2-3 yards past the 6 yard limit with no holding flag?

  27. I cant wait to see how they deal with receivers who push off on almost every play. The NFL owners may have created a mess with this new policy.

  28. I still don’t understand how the people who clamour for more replay to “solve the injustice”, think that more replay resolves the problem.
    We still don’t know what a catch is.
    PI could probably be called on almost every pass play. Either by offensive or defense.

    The more you try for perfection, the harder it becomes to obtain.

    This will be chaos…..until they decide to stop calling it, just like roughing the passer last year.

  29. Fixing the officiating would have been the better approach. This approach is one step short of reviewing OL/DL plays for holding. It happens every play, but does it really enhance the game if every instance is actually called???

  30. wouldn’t want that overturned on a big gain if it had no real impact on the play… would the refs have an option to say “while there was a minor infraction comitted on the play, it was irrelevant to the result of the play” therefore play stands…

    Yeah, now there’s a can of worms. Infractions that don’t affect the result of the play happen literally every down, not to mention every called penalty. Think of Dee Ford offsides or a DB slightly tugging on a jersey on the opposite side of the action on the field.

    If the refs start deciding *degrees* of penalties, that’s a major mess waiting to happen. Penalties either get called, or they don’t.

  31. If picks and holding by the OL can be reviewed the Patriots won’t score a point as long as the other team has challenges.

    Still it would be hilarious watching the refs mental gymnastics justifying giving them games they can’t win on merit like they always do.

  32. Go look at the coverage on the hail mary the Pats threw at the end of the superb owl vs the iggles.
    1) Hogan gets levelled out around the 10 with no flag
    2) Gronk has about 3 instances of DPI right on the goal line
    I can only imagine the outrage had the Pats got 1st and goal at that point…….

  33. “Imagine the outrage about New England ‘getting all of the calls’”

    ————

    The pick play has been a staple of New England’s offense for years. Welker was particularly good at it.

    And as far as “opening a can of worms” goes, I personally don’t really mind. Pick plays have been illegal for quite some time, and, like intentional grounding, are fouls that don’t seem to ever be called and that the defense is disadvantaged by.

  34. Keep it simple – pick plays should not be allowed (perhaps with 10 yards of LOS). No routes can cross each other. Make players outplay each other, not outscheme each other.

  35. There has to be some sense on reviews on non-calls. If someone challenges a specific non-call it’s one thing, but calling illegal picks by reviewing an entire snap could ruin the game. What about holding then?

  36. Lol. One team’s fans saying the other teams run picks, and vice versa. Translation: Every team runs those plays. Sometimes it’s just 1/2 yard legal, sometimes a 1/2 yard illegal. That 1/2 yard doesn’t warrant a flag, at least in my book.

    I would rather see a focus on PI/non-PI calls.

  37. ak185 says:
    March 28, 2019 at 8:31 am
    “Imagine the outrage about New England ‘getting all of the calls’”

    ————

    The pick play has been a staple of New England’s offense for years. Welker was particularly good at it.

    And as far as “opening a can of worms” goes, I personally don’t really mind. Pick plays have been illegal for quite some time, and, like intentional grounding, are fouls that don’t seem to ever be called and that the defense is disadvantaged by.

    —————-

    Again with New England? Every team does it. KC scored a TD on a blatant illegal pick in the AFC Championship. If it was called it would have been 2nd and 20 from the NE 33 instead of a TD.

  38. New England is often seen as the target of the rule changes, but they are generally the biggest beneficiaries. They coach to the rules, whatever they are and are usually the fastest team to adjust.

  39. Love Pats fans calling out the AFCCG when no team has benefited more from pick plays than them. If they call pick plays correctly, is NE even IN the AFCCG?

  40. What happens when a “pass interference” is found on replay review to have occurred BEFORE the pass, making it defensive holding/illegal contact type penalty instead?

    – does the penalty get overturned because technically it happened before the pass?
    – does the referee change the call, even though the rule only allows DPI/OPI to be challenged?
    – keep the penalty as called?

    As a spot foul, this could mean the difference between a 30-yd penalty or just a 5yd penalty. This is going to be a mess.

  41. These are good consequences — the officials overlook OPI far too often in this game. Do away with the push-offs. Do away with the picks. Now we will see an even playing field for DBs.

  42. More rules every year.. NO FUN LEAGUE

    How about stopping the game for more reviews…

    PI calls are ridiculous anyway. Why not go back to college rules. Nobody should geta 40 yard PI call…

    Also, holding calls are so subjective. Why not make it a 5 yard penalty, instead of 10?

  43. For everyone clamoring for this change, be careful what you wish for. I am happy about this because picks are rampant and rarely called. Hope it bites the whinny Saints right in the tail.

  44. Pick plays are probably the most inconsistently flagged/not-flagged plays in the game.

    And they’re also basically impossible to defend.

  45. Replay review of plays to look for penalties? Next year that rule will inevitably include roughing the passer, illegal motion, off sides, pushing off, etc. etc. The NFL is doomed.

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