Owners authorize Competition Committee to “tweak” replay review for pass interference

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The Competition Committee has gotten a blank check, of sorts.

Via Judy Battista of NFL Media, the NFL’s owners have authorized the Competition Committee to “tweak” the new rule that extends replay review to pass interference.

The Competition Committee will now have the power to revise the rule to eliminate automatic review of pass interference in the final two minutes of either half and to replace it with replay review sparked by a coach’s challenge. The Competition Committee needs that power, because the Competition Committee wasn’t adequately prepared for the onslaught of support for changing the rules to prevent another Rams-Saints outcome, resulting in a change that may have gone too far.

It’s unclear whether the Competition Committee also has the power to eliminate automatic review in all instances (overtime, touchdowns, turnovers). The obvious concern comes from the fairly low standard for initiating replay review — if the ruling on the field is not clearly and obviously correct, replay review is required to explore whether it is clearly and obviously wrong. With pass interference, the jostling and shoving and incidental contact would potentially require every play involving two or more tangled bodies to be sorted out via replay review within the window of automatic review.

Instead, it will be for coaches to throw the red flag when they believe that it’s clear and obvious interference happened (or didn’t happen). It will become even more important for coaches to save their challenges and time outs; otherwise, a late-game debacle like the one that happened in the Rams-Saints NFC title game may not be fixable.

That’s why the Sky Judge option continues to be the best option, by far. Coaches shouldn’t have to extend the guessing-game-within-a-game exercise of wondering whether an early officiating error should be rectified and whether the perceived incompetence of a given crew requires holding a challenge as insurance.

Maybe after the NFL bumbles around for a year with replay review for pass interference (the rule change is temporary, not permanent), the league will decide to make the investment of time and money needed to add an eighth member to each officiating crew, to put that eighth crew member in a booth with every available camera angle, and to authorize the eighth crew member to communicate with the referee as part of the first look at the play, bridging the gap between what the on-field officials see (while trying not to be trampled) and what the rest of us see at home.

25 responses to “Owners authorize Competition Committee to “tweak” replay review for pass interference

  1. Forget any auto review and just allow coaches to challenge. Let them use their two flags however they want but we don’t need any more stoppages.

  2. I don’t like this PI review thing one bit. NOT ONE BIT!

    Games are going to take forever and it’s already to the point where I don’t get excited after a good play by my team until I can scan the field to make sure it’s not coming back. Man.

  3. I’d be OK with a sky judge as long as their abilities to call penalties are limited. I would say real-time only, and on-field crew should be able to overrule them. The sky judge should be advisory only.

  4. Why not just review every play? After the play, add another 40 seconds to the play clock and let the officials in New York review the play. Players will get more rest, the games will last another hour or so, and the game will be completely unwatchable. But so what, as long as an Official never misses a call again 🙄

  5. It’s a complex problem. Replay review is probably not going to fix it because it is a judgement call that slow motion will ruin like it did with the catch rule. The PI rule stipulates that it is only PI when a defensive player “significantly hinders an eligible player’s opportunity to catch the ball”. DB’s and WR’s are allowed to have some contact and as we have seen in the playoffs, officials can let things go a bit more depending on how they want to call the game.

    What will likely happen with replay will be that any contact will be called PI upon review which is not right at all.

    PI replay still needs that judgement call. The officials will need to respect what was called on the field. It would need to be blatant one way or the other to over turn it. I don’t see that happening, as there will be too much pressure from fans and media once they see some contact and every replay will result in PI being called.

    This will be a disaster.

  6. tweak (verb): to re-write the rule to insure
    that the officials have the ability to corruptly influence the game
    (if/when popular and/or big market teams need help)

  7. Eliminate all automatic reviews, including touchdowns. Just allow the coach to challenge any play, but keep to the current number of challenges. We don’t need to complicate things even more. Smart coaches (such as Payton, Belichick, Carroll) will use their challenges/timeouts wisely. It’s a part of the strategy. We do not need to keep making the games longer. Yes, it’s great for TV ad revenue, but not the fan.

  8. So, the new TV schedule for 60 minute game will now be from 1:00 PM to 6:30 PM??? What will do with the 4:00 PM game??? Start at 8???

  9. mybigthirdleg says:
    May 22, 2019 at 10:24 am
    Go back to the 1970’s rules…let’s make this a man’s sport again.


    By the 70’s slow motion replay already started to impact how fans reacted to officials calls. If fans can see that the officials are getting the calls wrong they won’t enjoy the game. There is no going back to the way things were.

  10. tweak (transitive verb): to re-write the rule to ensure
    that the officials have the ability to corruptly influence the game
    (… if/when popular and/or big market teams need help)

  11. Remember when football fans couldn’t tell what a catch was anymore and we all wondered how it got this point? This is how. Rule change after rule change and after awhile you don’t remember where you started or why you started changing rules in the first place. Accept that nothing is perfect and you will further ahead than trying to make it perfect.

  12. pkrlvr says:
    May 22, 2019 at 10:27 am
    Forget any auto review and just allow coaches to challenge. Let them use their two flags however they want but we don’t need any more stoppages.


    Agree with that and I would add that officials really need to see clear evidence that the call on the field was wrong, like they would have seen in the Rams-Saints game. Otherwise they need to leave it the same. Some contact is allowed. It’s a judgement call to determine if a receiver was significantly hindered from catching the ball. If a play was not called PI on the field and the official saw the play properly, when they see the replay they should leave the call the same.

  13. Isn’t it about time someone in officialdom play the “integrity of the game” card?

  14. There were two official staring at the pass interference foul in the Rams-Saints game, but they didn’t call it. But rather than fix the real problem, i.e., corruption or incompetence, take your pick – they insist on ignoring it and instead add another layer of rules and officialdom. Officialdom, their union, and the cowardly NFL rulers are the problem. Fire incompetent or corrupt officials. Simple solution.

  15. While I agree that a Sky Judge type of system would potentially help, Florio and others who rant about officials must realize it will never be perfect.

    Case in point, as many have pointed out, the infamous Rams-Saints missed call had two officials miss it in real time. What if the Sky Judge, who is a human being and makes mistakes, also misses it?

    While the Sky Judge could and should help, it will not fix everything. Like it or not it will never be 100%. You can make it better but there will always be missed calls as long as human beings are involved. You can minimize but never eradicate completely.

  16. Still do not like using replay to call a foul on PI. What’s going to happen is coaches will save their challenges until the end game, and they’ll use those challenges to try to get PI called to help either get the lead or move that much further ahead.

  17. I guess they can review First Down yardage in OT, but not PI in the endzone. That’s the system they’ve made so far?

    Stooge parade

  18. The only winners in this thing will be NFL refs that gamble and those who know them well enough to bribe them. Odds are good that there are more than zero of them working games on Sundays.

  19. What’s all this talk about games taking forever?

    This article is specifically talking about a way to AVOID that. If there’s never automatic review on PI, and it’s only a coach’s challenge, it’s likely very little time will be added. I’d say the change would be negligible if they go the route the article states.

  20. I do think the NFL needs to clearly establish what needs to be seen for an overturn. If they set the bar relatively high by only overturning the obvious miss, teams aren’t going to waste their challenges to try for a ticky-tack call, especially if they’re trailing late and timeouts are important.

  21. Too many commenters are way too dramatic. The Skyjudge is the best solution for a quick fix. If they see something, call it/fix it. Simple. This open invitation is thr NFL’s way of appeasing the crowd after the Saints disaster & now taking it away (in a very sociopathic/narcissistic manner). A coach shouldn’t be limited in how many officiating errors they fix (get them right in real time or have someone who quickly can…the sky judge).

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