The Competition Committee spent two days this week taking the pulse of coaches regarding potential changes to the rule that currently makes pass interference subject to replay review under the same rules that apply generally to replay review. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, a sense emerged that coaches don’t want replay review for pass interference to be relegated to challenge flags in the final two minutes of the first half or the game.
The coaches want the league office to handle replay review for pass interference during the same circumstances where replay review is automatically available. That approach, however, could result in a spike in automatic reviews, given the receiver/defensive back contact that often happens on passing plays that result in a call or a no-call of pass interference.
The rules require clear and obvious evidence of an officiating error to overturn a ruling on the field. To avoid automatic review, the replay official must see clear and obvious evidence that the ruling on the field was correct. That leaves a wide gulf of plays that should be reviewed but that won’t be overturned; the challenge for the NFL will be to come up with a strategy for limiting the number of times the game is bogged down by a replay review that results in a decision to uphold the ruling on the field.
Regardless, for now it appears that the Competition Committee won’t be using the blank check it finagled last month from the league’s 32 teams to wipe out automatic review of offensive and defensive pass interference calls and non-calls. The coaches simply don’t seem to want it.