Bad call in Cowboys-Rams highlights more problems with PI replay review

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If you’re concerned about the manner in which replay review for pass interference calls and non-calls will affect the NFL’s 100th season, there’s a chance you’re not nearly concerned enough.

Last night’s Cowboys-Rams game included in the final four minutes of clock time a pass interference replay challenge that took nearly four minutes to resolve. And they spent all that time only to get it wrong.

The Rams had the ball on their own 27, third and 10. Receiver Alex Bachman ran what appeared to be a 10-yard button hook. He extended an arm into Cowboys defensive back Donovan Olumba in an apparent effort to create separation so that he could come back to the ball. The contact happened before the pass was thrown. Olumba engaged Bachman, and the pair didn’t separate until after the ball left the quarterback’s hand.

Olumba knocked the ball away as it arrived. Fourth down Rams.

Rams coach Sean McVay threw the challenge flag, smartly taking full advantage of the opportunity to activate the replay process for pass interference calls and non-calls during preseason games. (McVay explained that this was the goal to reporters after the game.) And then, after more than three minutes and forty seconds from the end of the play, referee John Hussey announced that the ruling on the field had been changed to defensive pass inteference.

It was an astoundingly bad outcome. Bachman, not Olumba, clearly and obviously initiated contact. (Indeed, the Cowboys broadcasters believed that Bachman, not Olumba, would be called for interference.) And even if there had been clear and obvious evidence that Olumba had done anything to significantly hinder Bachman, it’s definitely not clear and obvious that Olumba significant hindered Bachman after the pass was thrown.

If Olumba had hindered Bachman before the ball was thrown, the foul would have been illegal contact. Which is not subject to replay reivew.

Given that the ruling on the field was no foul by either team, the supposedly very high bar for calling interference via replay review should have resulted in a decision not to change the ruling on the field, especially as it relates to Olumba.

So, yes, be concerned about what may happen when the real games start in two weeks and four days. And if you’re already concerned, be more concerned. After two months of sending signals that the league would simply regard the outcome of the Rams-Saints NFC Championship as a 100-year aberration, the league has grossly overreacted, making NFL senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron by far the most powerful person in all of football, able to grant or rescind large chunks of field position in any and every game with no apparent oversight or accountability.

As previously suggested, the ultimate responsibility for this falls not on Riveron but on the Commissioner. Hopefully, the Commissioner is paying attention to this. Hopefully, he’s willing to do something about it before the games that count get started.

44 responses to “Bad call in Cowboys-Rams highlights more problems with PI replay review

  1. You demanded the NFL do something and they did. They should have left the rules alone. Don’t complain now

  2. Thus now the NFL can nix this and continue to fix games when they need to.

    The only person who will win is the NFL and Goodell. Shocking.

  3. I thought this was put in to prevent what happened in the NFCCG from happening again. So all game changing completions or defensive breakups are going to be reviewed. The spontaneity of the game will be gone. Instead of jumping up and down cheering because your team kept a drive going will be lost to replay. The game as it once was is slowly going away, and soon so are the fans.

  4. I don’t see anything that will keep fans enraged and engaged this season than the anticipation of when such challenges will be used and how ruled…exactly what the NFL wants. Those of you who say you won’t watch…are simply lying to yourselves.

  5. “If you’re concerned about the manner in which replay review for pass interference calls and non-calls will affect the NFL’s 100th season, there’s a chance you’re not nearly concerned enough.“

    I was concerned as soon as Payton started lobbying. About eight months ago. Everyone saw it coming. I respect owner(s) who voted against the rule change.

  6. I do not see what the Commissioner can really do, other than “lobby” for it to be changed. It was approved by the Competition committee and the owners. Goodell can only do what they allow him to. He is bound by the owners to enforce the rules and procedures they dictate.

  7. Here’s hoping the pukes at 354 Park Ave are listening to all the stuff you have written about this ridiculous rule change, as well as all the fans who have almost universally panned this joke of a rule.

    It was dumb when they first proposed it and it dumb now. If they keep up this charade the law of “unintended consequences” will haunt this season.

  8. I think the “make everything reviewable” crowd is quickly seeing that it’s not that simple and some things are best left unreviewable.

  9. Keep in mind McVay had an earlier PI challenge in the half (called against him) that took forever as well. So about 6 minutes of game time tied up on two questionable calls that are subjective to begin with. I’ve said this for years. We need less replay not more. I think fans can deal with an occasional blown call more than deconstructing every subjective play with 20 camera angles and extending games into 4+ hours territory.

  10. What’s troubling is that they can’t get it right when these reviews happen. This issue has been with the league since even before the rule changes this year.

  11. Well, the Cowboy DB had a solid grasp of the Ram receiver’s jersey, around the collar, while the ball was in the air. So there’s that. The contact before was mutual and incidental.

  12. This is going to be a disaster. The refs rarely miss such a blatant PI like in the NO/LA game. Hopefully, teams are simply experimenting with these challenges now because they keep challenging the ticky-tack fouls.

  13. NFL will put in place this rule for fans…fans are prohibited from cheering a play until 30 seconds elapse to allow time for booth review, coaches challenge and subsequent delay caused by said review/challenge.

  14. Not good. How will the gambling public view this? The game is clearly geared toward them now.

  15. If they got it wrong after reviewing multiple replays from different angles, then what is the chance they got it right in the first place, in real time, without the benefit of replays or slow motion?

  16. get rid of all instant replay and make rule book more simple. if we don’t have all these game stoppages then the network will not have time to show us 20 different views of play that still does not show clear evidence one way or other on most of these plays

  17. @jpgjaxon says:
    August 18, 2019 at 3:11 pm
    get rid of all instant replay and make rule book more simple. if we don’t have all these game stoppages then the network will not have time to show us 20 different views of play that still does not show clear evidence one way or other on most of these plays
    Great point about the rule book! As I prepare for officiating upcoming Texas HS season, the rules and options regarding 10 second runoff; targeting (ejection or non-ejection) and a host of other rules require a person to know not just the base rule but all the variations to a rule. Literally have to maintain the rulebook in your mind and in a nanosecond be able to see a violation/know what it is/call it/identify the player number/identify the spot of the foul/know where to administer the penalty/ask if accepting team wants penalty to administered on the KO or Try. Then there’s the administrative aspect which entails keeping folks from maiming each other. Oh and try not to cuss back at the coach cussing at you (LOL). Sounds easy right? More people should try it!

  18. All the posters were all for this change after that saints/rams game, a few of us said how awful this would be and here we are. Two weeks away from the season with this crap looming as the biggest storyline heading into the season. Thank you so much Sean Payton…pathetic job, NFL…just pathetic.

  19. All these ridiculous rules changes and tweaks to the replay system are designed to do is make us all so sick and tired of the whole thing that we want to see an end to the entire idea of replay. They want us to let them go back to the dark ages when they could more easily manipulate the point spreads without any replay at all. I see some of us are already taking the bait.

  20. Oh you didn’t know !!!! They said they would review it but did not say they would get it right !!! It always depends if it helps get the outcome they want or not

  21. Working as designed, the goal of the NFL is not to get calls correct, their goal is to influence the outcome.

  22. I hope all the idiots overreacting to the Saints/Rams call are happy! “Gotta get them calls right….review everything!” This is a total mess, and only slows the game down more. Just waiting for us to hit the first 4 hour game to catch those 11 mins of football action. Dumb dumb dumb….

  23. And this wasn’t the only one . . . earlier in the game, the Rams Steven Parker put a mugging on the Cowboys Reggie Davis. It was obvious at full speed and even more so in slow motion replay, but the refs did not reverse the call. It was a Jason Garrett challenge . . . no wonder Florio didn’t bring it up!

  24. My take is the game was in Hawaii and started at 4pm. That means it was 10pm start in New York.
    The game had 3 minutes to go in the 4th qtr, and that means it was a little past 1am in New York. I doubt that anyone in New York was watching the game with any substance at 1am for a pre-season game. Maybe Mr. Riveron was already packed up and gone and someone else just guessed. Other than this website, did anyone else care?

  25. Honestly, the solution to this issue was to just tell the refs to call postseason games just like they call regular season games. Refs are so afraid to be blamed for a ticky-tack playoff game that they just swallow their whistles. The NFC Championship wasn’t the story of one bad no call, it was the most obvious of several terrible no calls going both ways all game.

  26. Blame the multiple officials who stated at Lewis taking a headshot well before the ball arrived and decided not to call it, not the people annoyed by that level of incompetence.

  27. When a horrendous call such as in the Saints-Rams NFC Championship happens, what is the recourse if there’s no means to reverse a call that handed the Rams the Championship? Even the Rams DB admitted it was PI. Do victims of the bad call just have to “suck it up” and see their season ended on an obvious bad call? That’s why I favor replay. It will take time but the process will be “ironed” out and work as intended. I do think the reason for a reversal or upheld decision needs to be relayed to the fans by the referee.

  28. As long as the call is a judgment call, there will always be problems. We really have to accept that fact as it will never change.

    However, the problem here is that Riveron has constantly shown that he will examine the minutia of every play and he’ll overanalyze in coming to his decision. They tried to reign him in a bit (and they had some success doing so)a couple of years ago, but old habits die hard and here we are again.

    A change on the field should be limited to errors that are egregious and beyond obvious – and someone needs to educate Riveron on what that really means. The purpose of replay on PI is to correct clear and terrible calls (or non-calls) – not borderline calls made at full speed on the field – those you let stand and let us all fight about them for a week and then forget it.

  29. Well darn, I agree with Florio on this one. The strict definition of PI needs to be adhered to when reviewing these plays, and this play did not meet that definition.

  30. Hopefully, the Commissioner is paying attention to this.
    40 million a year for an idiot who gets EVERY important decision wrong.

  31. As Much as they may want you to think they want to do this Expeditiously. Do not be fooled As we get frustrated with long replay reviews. the NFL sees more advertising $$$

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