Replay standard will become even more important when reviewing PI

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From the time the league first adopted replay review, the standard (despite whatever technical name may apply) boils down to this: Would 50 drunks in a bar agree that an officiating mistake was made?

Whether the phrase is “indisputable visual evidence” or “clear and obvious” or something else, that’s the bottom line. The mistake must be egregious, and the remedy must be a reversal of the ruling on the field.

With offensive and defensive pass interference now added to the menu of reviewable plays, the standard for overturning the ruling on the field takes on even greater importance, as does its application by the league office, which retains final say over all replay decisions. Al Riveron or one of his lieutenants should not supply their judgment for the judgment exercised by the on-field officials; they must defer the ruling on the field unless the error is unmistakable.

Recent history proves that can be far easier said than done. In 2017, Riveron on multiple occasions used replay review as a fresh look at the question of whether a pass was caught. In 2018, that flaw was rectified. In 2019, Riveron will be the guinea pig for the one-year-for-now experiment with replay review of interference calls.

The extent to which Riveron does, or doesn’t, properly apply the replay standard could go a long way toward determining whether replay review of pass interference survives for 2020 and beyond. It also could go a long way toward determining whether Riveron survives in the job, given that an already-difficult game-day assignment has expanded, opening up a new area of debate regarding whether Riveron did, or didn’t, apply his authority over the officiating function properly.

12 responses to “Replay standard will become even more important when reviewing PI

  1. What happens if they have multiple difficult reviewable plays from different games occurring at the same time. Do they have multiple reviewers or does everyone just have to wait?

  2. All this fuss about a missed PI call in the NFCCG and not a mention of the roughing the passer call against KC in the AFCCG. The KC defender was nowhere near Brady’s head. He hit Brady on the shoulder. If not for that call, NE’s punting instead of getting a 1st down via penalty.

  3. And that is why it’s going to be a big problem. The NFL has never been able to stick to the “clear and obvious” standard with replay. And Riveron has been flat-out terrible in that regard frequently defending calls even when the video completely contradicted them. It’s a given we will see after-the-fact pass interference calls based on the d-back having a bad rep or because he might have gotten away with one earlier in the game, etc.

  4. mcwest1 says:
    March 27, 2019 at 12:09 pm
    All this fuss about a missed PI call in the NFCCG and not a mention of the roughing the passer call against KC in the AFCCG. The KC defender was nowhere near Brady’s head. He hit Brady on the shoulder. If not for that call, NE’s punting instead of getting a 1st down via penalty.
    ——————————————————————————————-
    I agree that roughing the passer should not have been called on that play but the play happened on 2 down, so you can’t say they would have been punting. Also, the Chiefs DB was clearly mugging Edelman, so NE should have gotten a first down anyway. You can watch the replay and see if you disagree.

  5. The current “the call on the field stands” needs to go away. To start, the official who is responsible for the call on the field needs to be part of the video review. He can then verify or refute what he originally saw. If he can’t do either, then we are in the gray area which brings up another point. The rules need to be more black and white with as little gray as possible and needs to have a default (can’t tell if it’s a catch or not, then incomplete, etc). If the call is in the gray area after the above, then go to the default ruling.

  6. As Peter King pointed out on Monday in FMIA, there were only 24 incorrect DPI calls/non-calls in the three year period (2016-2018) out of the total 902 total called.

    That means the error rate is only 2.66% that the call will be overturned. Do we really need to sit through dozens of 4-minute replay reviews just to confirm 97.33% were correctly called (or not enough to overturn?)

    Defense coaches will intentionally throw challenge flags just to get the 4-minute replay review to kill whatever momentum the offense had on the drive as well as give the defense a much-needed breather to rest and refresh.

  7. How exactly will they be able to determine “uncatchable” balls? Is there even a hard definition of that? NOPE.

    This new rule is going to be a mess. Half the fans will be screaming for pass interference and the other half will be shouting “uncatchable pass”…

  8. All this does is provide talking points aka as clicks for the pundits. Subjective calls will always have different levels of interpretation (any idiot lawyer knows that), which will always lead to discontent and more complaining. What happens when the reply ref(s) (assuming will need 12 to make sure the call is right) doesn’t agrees with Payton and he throws another hissy fit on the sideline or does he eventually sue the NFL because someone (god-forbid) thinks he was wrong.

    Slippery slope to the end of the NFL…

  9. mcwest1 says:
    March 27, 2019 at 12:09 pm
    All this fuss about a missed PI call in the NFCCG and not a mention of the roughing the passer call against KC in the AFCCG. The KC defender was nowhere near Brady’s head. He hit Brady on the shoulder. If not for that call, NE’s punting instead of getting a 1st down via penalty.
    ———————————
    And KC would not have been in position to tie the game because on their final drive they committed an obvious offensive PI when Kelce (and one other receiver, forgot who) were blocking 15 yards downfield before and when the ball was in the air and Watkins brought it down to the one.

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