On Monday, Broncos coach Vic Fangio surmised that only a “five-car pileup” will get the league office to overturn challenged pass interference calls.
A day later, his boss, John Elway, confirmed what everyone has figured out: It has to be something “really, really, really blatant” for Al Riveron to change the call on the field.
“They’re only going to overturn things that are absolutely blatant,” Elway, a member of the NFL’s competition committee, said during a weekly interview with the Broncos’ website, via Nicki Jhabvala of TheAthletic.com. “The reason the rule went in was to prevent any of play like happened in the [NFC] Championship Game last year with New Orleans and the Rams. To try to eliminate that blatant pass interference. That’s why I think we’re not challenging a lot of the pass interference, because unless it’s really, really, really blatant, they’re not going to overturn it.
“I’m sure we’ll talk about it again, when we go back and review what happened as far as the pass interference. You know, a lot of times what comes out of the committee is not what ends up taking effect during the year. So I’m sure we’ll revisit that this offseason and see what happens.”
The problem is sometimes the pass interference calls that aren’t being overturned are really, really, really blatant like the one Marlon Humphrey had against DeAndre Hopkins that didn’t get called or overturned. It prompted the Texans receiver to call for big changes in the replay process.
The bar for reviewing pass interference calls and non-calls was believed to have been pushed higher before the season started, and coaches now are leery of challenging pass interference, knowing the odds are against them winning.
Fangio was asked about that Monday.
“Well, I think from the time during the league meetings when the rule was adopted to where we are now, it’s changed,” Fangio said. “I had a head coach tell me recently, another head coach in the league, that he had a touchdown scored against him and he thought there was offensive pass interference to get that touchdown. Naturally, he didn’t challenge it because all touchdowns are reviewed. They didn’t review it at all, and he complained about it during the week and the league agreed with him, that it should have been offensive pass interference. He called the officiating department and asked, ‘Why didn’t you overturn it?’ and they said that they’ve been told not to overturn those. It’s going to have to be a five-car pileup, I guess, for them to overturn something.
“So it was offensive pass interference that the guy was telling me about, they through it was but still didn’t overturn. So I really don’t know where it’s at.”