Did the expansion of replay to include pass interference work? It depends on your definition of “work.”
Of the 101 interference-related replay reviews during the regular season, only 24 resulted in the on-field call being reversed, according to Mark Maske of The Washington Post.
Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira calls the rule a colossal failure.
“Well, my opinion is it was a bad rule,” Pereira said Tuesday in a Fox Sports media session. “I anticipated that there was going to be very few reversals, and to me, you just cannot put in a rule and use replay for a rule and say, ‘OK, we want to call it one way on the field and then another way in replay.’ It makes no sense to anybody. To say it was just a catch-all for what happened in New Orleans a year ago with the Rams, that’s fine, but it doesn’t work.”
The decision to use replay for pass interference was a knee-jerk reaction to Nickell Robey-Coleman mugging Tommylee Lewis before the ball arrived late in the NFC Championship Game in the 2018 season. It appears, however, that the rule, which was voted in for a one-year trial run, didn’t solve anything.
Pereira pointed to two significant pass interference penalties that weren’t called and weren’t reversed by the current head of officiating Al Riveron.
“Fred Warner and the pass interference in Seattle [in Week 17], if called, I do believe the Beast [Marshawn Lynch] would have got that ball in from the 1-yard line,” Pereira said. “Seattle would have been a three seed; San Francisco would have been a five; New Orleans would have had the bye. Then, you do to the New Orleans-Minnesota [playoff] game, the Kyle Rudolph push off on the touchdown [in overtime]. Both of those are interference. I mean, you want both of those called on the field, but they weren’t. And then replay looked at it and said, ‘Well, it’s not enough for replay to get involved.’ It doesn’t make sense. That’s why the rule was destined to fail, and I know they’re kind of sitting back right now hoping — HOPING — that nothing like that presents itself on Sunday where they have to answer questions at the end why didn’t you stop it? Or why didn’t you reverse it? When the world knows it was actually interference.”
Of the 74 reviews of plays on which interference was not called on the field during the regular season, Riveron reversed 21, per Maske. Riveron dropped only three flags for interference among the 27 reviews on plays on which interference was called on the field.
No coach won a challenge all season on 13 tries of a play on which defensive pass interference was called by the on-field officials.