Coaches wanted PI replay review for “egregious” mistakes only

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NFL coaches get plenty of blame for foisting replay review of pass interference onto football. They shouldn’t, at least not based on the specific manner in which replay review of pass interference seems to be unfolding.

As a league source with knowlege of the dynamics that led to replay review for pass interference told PFT, the coaches wanted replay review to fix only the most egregious mistakes made by the officials when calling, or not calling, pass interference.

Per the source, not a single head coach — including Rams coach Sean McVay — wanted the uncalled defensive pass interference by Patriots defensive back Stephon Gilmore on Rams receiver Brandin Cooks in Super Bowl LIII to be reversed via replay review. Coaches want intervention only when the interference is truly clear, truly obvious. Truly egregious. Som coaches also expressed concern about the use of slow-motion replay to search for evidence of interference, arguing that the review for pass interference should happen only with full-speed replays.

As explained last week in PFTOT, the standard for replay review of interference calls and non-calls shouldn’t be an extension of the “clear and obvious” rule that applies to objective decisions like whether the ball was out before the runner’s knee was down. It should be much higher for subjective rulings like pass interference, something so bad that the reasonable viewer would exclaim “what the hell!?!” in response to the ruling on the field.

But the NFL apparently isn’t using a “what the hell!?!” standard for pass interference. Instead, the NFL is using the same standard that has been employed for all other forms of replay, giving the Most Powerful Man in Football the authority to micromanage, one frame at a time, decisions that are made by professional officials in real time based on the inherent judgment honed by years of experience deciding what is and isn’t interference.

The subjectivity of pass interference calls and non-calls necessarily creates a band of discretion that the league is now invading and potentially bastardizing, searching and probing for evidence of contact that previously was ignored when a flag wasn’t thrown.

Of course, there were situations in which the discretion was abused, most notably when a receiver is flattened before the ball arrives. That’s the kind of egregious, know-it-when-you-see-it, “what the hell!?!” outcome that cries out for reversal via replay review — and that should never, ever take more than three minutes and 40 seconds to resolve.

There’s still time to fix it. The Competition Committee can convene a conference call with NFL senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron and explain to Riveron in no uncertain terms that the bar is much, much higher. That unless Riveron exclaims “what the hell!?!” when seeing the replay at full speed, the ruling on the field must stand.

51 responses to “Coaches wanted PI replay review for “egregious” mistakes only

  1. They demanded change. They demanded something be done. They got it. Now they demand it be gone. Too late. Live with it.

  2. Sorry, but it’s either a foul or it’s not. THIS IS WHAT YOU WANTED.

    What YOU think is “clear and obvious” is different from another guy’s interpretation.

  3. Why do I feel like the refs are super salty about this rule. Feels like they are going above and beyond with Ticky tack penalties this preseason.

  4. In 2017, Riveron decided it was his job to micromanage all reviews of whether it was a catch. Sure, have everybody sit around for five minutes while he reviewed the film frame by frame and from multiple angles. All that suddenly changed during the playoffs, and rightfully so. Whoever told Riveron back then to cut it out should step in now, before the season begins.

  5. Players play and do your job. Coaches coach and do your job. Referees referee and do your job. If these coaches think they can ref better than the referees we got now, then fill out that application, and let’s see what you got. The refs dont get to chew out coaches or players for pathetic coaching or play. This replay stuff is ridiculous. Everyone just do YOUR job, and move on.

  6. NFL Owners: “Let’s just completely gloss over the fact that Brees noodle-armed a pass that got intercepted in overtime (the actual reason the Saints lost) and totally overreact with a rule change”

  7. It is ridiculous. It’s also not what the coaches want, they want you to believe that, it’s what the NFL wants – just another way to control the outcome of a game. Ever notice how many flags get thrown around a game?

  8. Don’t throw the challenge flag over ticky tacky plays. Not complicated. Say what you want about “getting the call right” but alot of fans, coaches and owners are going to to be upset when a call has been overturned over “he was holding his pinky” and it’s not in the next game.

  9. So as legalized gambling gets bigger the NFL takes more control of the outcome of games.
    Probably a coincidence. I would hate to be Al Riveron`s bookie though.

  10. There are two possible simple solutions to this.
    1) Just call PI on every pass play and maybe sometimes on run plays as well.
    2) No defensive players allowed on the field. Offenses just take turns by themselves.
    Problem solved. You’re welcome.

  11. Replay by and large is broken and has been for a while.

    The replay standard for indisputable visual evidence should be limited for evidence that can be found within the first couple or replay angles. Similar to when the current replay system was introduced, they should the officials to 90 seconds to review the play (and for confirming scores and turnovers they should also be limited to 90 seconds of total review time). If you can’t find indisputable evidence within 90 seconds then the call on the field should stand.

    For PI calls, they should review the play in full speed and only go to slow motion if they felt that the live action replay was enough to overturn the initial call (and use slow motion to confirm that the replay should be overturned). Again if replay goes more then 90 seconds it should be because someone is looking for a replacement replay official after they throw Riveron out the door.

  12. So in a league where millions of dollars are being gambled they’re going to let ONE guy decide the outcome of games? Okay. Got it. What could go wrong?

  13. Well, I could suggest the NFL take a look at how the CFL does it and has done it for seveal years, and see how successful it is or is not. But that would not empower Al Riveron so never mind.

  14. Didn’t ANYONE think of the consequences of more game interruptions? The reason they made this rule is because of the media overreaction and overblown coverage. Now we will have the media constantly reporting about the new rule and how bad it is. How about we just ignore the media and all the noise?

  15. Remember, Al Riveron got promoted to this position as “payment” for his role in deflate gate. Is that the kind of guy you want in this position? He can be bought. With the right incentive, he will conclude whatever he is supposed to conclude. You know, integrity and all that

  16. As many others have opined, this rule has essentially swung the pendulum the other way.
    Of the ones I have seen called in the preseason all but ONE of them have resulted in PI being called when it shouldn’t have and in two cases on the WRONG side of the ball.
    As soon as this causes the outcome of a game to be impacted there will be calls to drop it…

  17. Instant replay is not the problem an over complicated rule book is the problem. The play that caused the rule change would have been an interference call in every season ever played. Except that now, even a basic rule like pass interference has become a book by itself. The rule used to read that once a ball is in the air, the receiver cannot be touched. What’s so complicated about that?

  18. Show it on the big screen and let the fans decide. Those seats aren’t cheap, add a little more home field advantage.

  19. In today’s NFL, there is no such thing as “truly clear, truly obvious truly egregious.” In last year’s Eagles/Cowboys game in Texas, Dallas fumbled the opening kickoff. An Eagles player came out of the pile with the ball while the refs were still searching for who has possession.

    Dallas was awarded the ball because there was not an “obvious” recovery.

  20. It was this way last year in the preseason with falling on the QB it extended to two regular season games and then poof rule gone except for the most egregious calls.

  21. WR AND CB running stride for stride. Legs get tangled, WR falls.. Incidental contact.. No penalty. Head coach is happy.

    Same two players have their arms in the air trying to get the ball. Arms get tangled.. Pass interference.Same head coach is pissed and throws the flag.

    Reporter:Why did you throw the flag?
    Coach: You saw the replay(in ultra slow motion, HD) it was obvious.

  22. There is only one way out of this mess:

    “Dear NFL Community: Earlier this year, our sport faced a perceived crisis following an egregious officiating error. In our effort to protect the integrity of the game, we explored ways to ensure that such an egregious error was not repeated. Many thoughtful leaders in our sport were engaged, and we revised our replay rules to allow for review of pass interference. Recently, that system has been tested during the preseason. It has become clear that the review of a judgment call such as pass interference creates many issues for the officiating of NFL games. Indeed, these issues would impact the integrity of the game even more than the isolated event that created the perceived crisis. With that in mind, we are rescinding the rule change. – Commissioner Goodell.”

  23. Well this was the same thing that I and many other posters said when posts were going up clamoring for pass interference to be reviewable here.

  24. I’m sure this will be a one and done rule…

    Will this be such a failure that the league actually do away with it in the middle of the season?

  25. And how exactly did they imagine a rule being written where only “egregious” mistakes could be reviewed? It’s nuts that all these guys supposedly live and breath football 100+ hours a week yet when it comes to basic rules they can’t fathom how they’d be written or enforced in a practical manner.

  26. The most Riveron Replay Review of all Riveron Replay Reviews ever came in a game last year or year before. It ended up not really making any difference, so not a lot was made of it. This was so bad, Florio and everyone else should reference this when (rightfully) going off on what constitutes a Riveron Replay Review. Here’s what happened…

    Receiver goes up and catches a ball at the back of the End Zone, landing glutes first on the end line. This guy landed so perfectly centered that one glute was in bounds and one glute was out of bounds. His intergluteal cleft was dead centered on the end line, even.

    The receiver was called “out” on the field and it went to review. Really long review. Really, really long review. Finally, they came up with a replay slow-motion enough, enlarged enough, and zeroed-in enough that Riveron decided the one glute touched the top of a single blade of grass before the other glute. And he overturned the call. Touchdown.

    Apparently, anything can be “clear and obvious”… with enough effort.

  27. We wouldn’t even be having this discussion if Drew Brees got the job done in OT like Tommy did.

  28. All this because unlike Tom Brady, Drew Brees couldn’t close the game when given the ball in OT. In fact he choked the game away instead….

    Gee thanks Drew

  29. It should never have been about a rule change. Officials very rarely screw up as badly as they did on “that” call, so training & accountability is probably enough. Expecting officials on the field to get it right 100% of the time is like expecting quarterbacks to complete every pass, but they can still drill, train, practice.

    The oft-shared idea of having an “eye in the sky” booth official to “call in” when they see something egregious would almost certainly take care of this every time, without interfering with the flow of play or coaches’ decisions.

    But certain aggrieved parties wanted their pound of flesh, so now we have a damaged game. Hope they change it back.

  30. It will be for ‘egregious mistakes only’. The new rule does not increase the amount of challenges each coach has. A reasonable coach would only challenge the PI if, by getting the call wrong, would have a significant impact on the outcome of the game…as in the NFC Championship game. No one is going to use one of their challenges for a PI review in the first quarter of a game with the score tied at zero. Get real.

  31. I have never understood why “slow motion” instant replay is used for certain types of reviews. Most replays should only be reviewed in real time replay mode. Only for things like in-or-out of bounds or did-the-knee-touch-before-the-endzone should the film be slowed down. I think one of the major problems with fans bitching about the catch rule is that almost everything looks like a catch if you go slow and stop it with ball in the receiver’s hands. It is incredibly stupid to use slow motion for a late hit, catch/no catch, or interference. Come on – not complicated.

  32. WR’s initiate contact and push off to create separation but rarely are called for it. This is just another way to punish the defense.

  33. Wrong way to fix it. You fix it by not making it a judgement call by the officials. Extend coaches challenges to include PI replay review. This will ensure that only the “what the hell” plays are reviewed. It would also eliminate many of the more trivial challenges, like a 2 yard gain for a first down in the 1st quarter. Coaches would be more reserved with their challenges; knowing there is a higher probability of a bad PI call changing the game.

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