Al Riveron on expanded replay for pass interference: Let’s get it right

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If not for the obvious missed call in the NFC Championship Game, the NFL would not have added instant replay for pass interference. But it happened, and they have.

The NFL is holding its annual officiating clinic in Plano, Texas, this weekend, and expanded replay was all the talk in the media session with Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating.

Riveron said the only feedback he has gotten from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or the Competition Committee on expanding replay to include offensive and defensive pass interference is: “Let’s get it right.”

“We understand the play that elevated and got us to where we are today. Yes and no,” Riveron said. “When I say yes and no, this is the topic that’s been talked about now for the last five, six, seven years. The Competition Committee and ownership is constantly looking at ways to get better. We have discussed replay before as it pertains to other situations — pass interference, holding, personal fouls. But we do understand a play of this magnitude elevated us to the point where we are today. But again, it’s not new. This has been in discussions for awhile, and again, and I said, ‘Let’s get it right,’ and it’s all about getting it right. Our officials are very, very good. However, we always need to get better, want to get better, because we owe it to the game and if this is going to get us there, and it will, then that’s what it’s all about.”

Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman‘s hit on then-Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis late in the NFC Championship Game didn’t draw a flag, prompting outrage and eventually expanded replay for 2019.

Riveron said expanded replay changes nothing for on-field officials. They will call interference as they always have. It does add another layer for booth replay officials in the final two minutes of each half, and Riveron now will have to make decisions on what some see as a subjective play.

“Replay starts with the ruling on the field,” Riveron said. “Unless we have clear and obvious visual evidence to change that ruling then we stay with the ruling on the field. This will be no different. It will be no different from a receiver stepping out of bounds. It will be no different from the ball hitting the ground on an attempted catch. This is the same. Replay starts with the ruling on the field and then clear and obvious visual evidence.”

Clear and obvious might prove to be harder than it sounds, with everyone having an opinion on what pass interference is. Pass interference isn’t always as obvious as Robey-Coleman’s was (to everyone except the officials who missed the call).

9 responses to “Al Riveron on expanded replay for pass interference: Let’s get it right

  1. I’m getting REAL tired hearing about the NO/Rams non-call. I can’t believe what unmitigated whiners they are. If you are even a casual fan of ANY NFL team, then you have a dozen referee calls or non-calls you can recount that cost your team critical games over the years. It’s a game played by imperfect humans who make mistakes. Good teams are the ones who overcome them because they are as much a part of the game as the good plays. Same goes for the officials. Calls are going to be made that help you as well as hurt you. It happens. And although we may not believe it at the time, it usually evens out over the long term.

    The Saints got robbed on the non-call in the NFCCG. No question. But it is NOT why they lost the game. Sean Peyton’s whining has more to do with hiding the fact that HE mismanaged the clock horribly at the end of the game, and never got his team refocused on overcoming the bad call when they had MULTIPLE chances to win that game long after the missed call.

    The league is opening up a can of worms so big, the term “unintended consequences” will become a go to phrase for describing this new rule….and the game WON’T be better for it.

  2. PI and holding are the two biggest penalities which can ruin the outcome of the game. Both in which the Patriots benefit greatly when playing tough teams.

  3. Yep none of the officials involved in that the worst non call in history lost their job.

    What does that tell ya folks? They really got it right. Or at least the outcome the nzfl wanted!

  4. Al Riveron is what gamblers call
    the great contra indicator. whatever he says do the opposite and.
    He hasnt gotten anything right since he figured out how to finagle a
    job officiating in the NFL

  5. It’s still the same fundamental question with replay. It’s a love/hate thing for me, and I still think we’d be better off without it altogether at times. I guess the interference thing is OK within two minutes, but I’m not sure if it will add or subtract controversy.

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