Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, a member of the Competition Committee, said two weeks ago he didn’t expect any changes to the league’s expanded replay rule.
“I think we’re going to go with the way we left it in terms of what’s reviewable and what’s not, in terms of the replay itself,” Jones said in an appearance on #PFTPM. “. . .I don’t see, at the moment, any tweaks to the replay system. I think we’re going to see how we execute the changes that we made, see how they affect the ball game and see how they impact our game, and then see in the offseason if there are things we should either do less or more of.”
Since that time, meetings between game officials and teams have led to a belief that the rule could use a slight modification.
When NFL owners meet next week, they could give the Competition Committee power to tweak the rule.
Judy Battista of NFL Media reports that owners will consider a proposal to allow the Competition Committee to modify the rule without needing a vote of all the owners. The Competition Committee then would consider allowing coaches to challenge offensive or defensive pass interference throughout the game, including the final two minutes of each half, per Battista.
Leaving the review decision for offensive and defensive pass interference in the hands of head coaches — regardless of when it occurs — would lead to “greater consistency” in what is reviewed, according to Battista.
Any change would apply only to the new pass interference challenge rule.
It also obviously would further limit the number of reviews, with head coaches getting only two challenges per game (with a third for two correct challenges) and needing a timeout to review. Booth reviews in the final two minutes of each half are unlimited.
Battista adds that the Competition Committee hasn’t made a decision about whether to tweak the pass interference challenge rule, asking only for power to do so if it determines that’s needed after concluding meetings with teams.
At the league’s annual meetings in March, coaches convinced owners to pass a one-year trial expanding reviewable plays to include offensive and defensive pass interference, called or not on the field. It came as a result of the missed pass interference penalty on Nickell Robey-Coleman late in the NFC Championship Game.