Mike Pereira: Pass interference rule was a bad rule that was destined to fail

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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.

29 responses to “Mike Pereira: Pass interference rule was a bad rule that was destined to fail

  1. Mike Pereira was terrible at his job when he worked for the NFL and somehow he has managed to be even worse as rules analyst on Fox .

  2. Twenty four out of 101 is roughly 25%. That is significant especially if you add in the ones that should have been called and were not. Keep this rule in place and reduce the ability of the NFL to fix games or reduce the impression that games can be fixed when the technology is present to make the game better for fans. That feeling that your team has been “jobbed” is horrible to deal with.

  3. DPI or OPI and holding on every play is the hallmark of Barney football. They wouldn’t win a game without it!

  4. Well, yes, it was destined to fail because they didn’t commit to actually just doing what they said they wanted to. They were too concerned about “the standard” to do the simplest thing that they could have done-just called the P.I. if it was P.I.

    If you challenge something, and the booth sees P.I., then CALL THE P.I.! It’s that simple! Sitting and waffing back and forth on “well, it was P.I., but it wasn’t egregious enough…” just torpedoes the entire effort to begin with. I realize that the NFL 1. absolutely cannot for any reason ever admit a mistake and 2. wanted this rule to fail so that they can shrug and say that they did what they could, but this was ridiculous and everyone keeps making excuses for these officials not doing their jobs. It’s always fans that say “well, boo-hoo, you should NEVER cry about calls, the better team always wins” that give these officials free passes to continue to bumble about and fail at their jobs and makes these rules necessary-even if the NFL has no interest in making them work.

    I don’t want to hear about Riveron was told to hold up an impossible high standard. If the idiot had done his job at least marginally well to begin with, we wouldn’t be in this position in all likelihood. The NFCCG call was just one of many failures that he was accountable for. And the embarrassment of the attempt at FIXING it is another. Why is it so hard? The NFL ALREADY limits coaches’ challenges to two, fines them with timeouts (which also be taken away for injured players in 2:00, reducing timeouts even further, and giving coaches less incentive to challenge) and limits the inane mistakes that coaches are allowed to challenge. Let the coaches challenge anything, and give them a FAIR chance, if you are going to limit their challenges to two.

    All this complaining and blustering about the games “taking too long” is just a joke. We HAVE THE ABILITY to get these calls right. We have the ability to FIX them. We choose not to. Why? I don’t know. If you’re worried about how long the game takes, then cut some of those repetitive, awful commercials. Or, better yet, cut down on the rule book, but provide for a way to get those rules RIGHT. The challenges aren’t what takes up time-it’s the NUMBER of silly things that are penalized, and the strictness of refs in calling so many penalties. Let the coaches have their two challenges if they want them. If the refs are going to have so much impact on the games, the actual teams should get some way of protecting themselves.

  5. Rudolph was held…in fact had his wrist grabbed. It was a great “let them play” call vs. NO.

  6. Either get rid of the rule or get some officials that have the abilities to get the call right on the field, which this current group does not.

  7. Rudolph wasn’t interference. If you want to call those hand battes, one on one positioning for a ball, nearly every play will be interference. If they go that route, football is dead.

  8. The rule worked perfect, it allowed Roger to manipulate games and get his most favored team into the Superbowl.

  9. Terrible take on the article to be honest. As a few posters point out 25% overturn rate is fine. Just because a coach or the fans feel it was DPI or OPI or that it wasn’t blatant enough doesn’t make the challenge a 100% change to overturn. With that said most coaches stopped challenging the plays due to the lack of changes.
    I’m with another poster though that there has to be be some contact heck if this goes to the NBA where a DB can’t touch a WR we lose as fans. There should be some hand fighting aloud. Further every ref has to compare slow motion to regular speed as the watch the replays. To many plays are left to the refs coaches to who coach outside of this will win more games.

  10. The 2 noncalls mentioned here didn’t rise anywhere close to the Robey-Coleman noncall…. which is what the rule was for. Besides, 25% is a pretty good chunk of overturns.

  11. The refs just sucked at implementing the rule, plain and simple. The rule was used to fix games instead of keeping them fair. Football is somewhat of a joke now.

  12. The fact is that the league does not want officiating oversight. They sabotaged this effort; it is complete BS and the fans know it.

    There is a great rant in the comments above. Like all of the previous calls for oversight that continue to echo through time, the league refuses to listen.

  13. The game would be more fun without any pass interference penalties. You should be able to do anything to delay or to prevent another player to get the ball. Talk about leveling the playing field. This would be the survival of the fittest and we would not have to ever worry about the New Orleans Cupcakes fans whining about jack. But they’d find something else to whine about.

  14. The CFL operates the PI flag/review system and it appears to work. But that is not such a fiasco as this system/process. This rule was poorly written and even more poorly reviewed. Blame the process not the fact that there is a process. The league quite obviously didnt want this to work and they gave instructions maybe by only giving half-hearted support and a refusal to fix the issues as the schedule proceeded. Remember the roughing the quarterback rule was tinkered with during the season.

  15. That is a lot of reversals, 25%. That means potentially 25% of NFL games could have been decided by a bad pass interference call. People are dissatisfied that 24 is not enough. What do they want? Throw away the reviews and let those 24 calls stand? That is simply nuts. People are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  16. I heard all season long that the refs and league were fixing games. Can anybody tell me the nfl wanted the Chiefs vs the 49ers in the SB? Is that what the ultimate goal was this season? 512 games, and this was the predetermined outcome? Such nonsense.

  17. Bad calls happen. The replay option and changes made each year are attempts to minimize the impactful, obvious mistakes. It hasn’t worked well and changes to the implementation of existing rules need to be accomplished. To establish fair replay rules, but that treat the replay reviews differently from on the field calls makes no sense.

    Bad calls happen on the field and off. The biggest is not having well known, established and consistent rules enforced between the field and replay officials.

  18. Make offensive PI penalty the same distance the other direction. Atleast have it be a fair (devastating) penalty either way. Get rid of the stupid half the distance penalty. Mark at the 1, and then loss of down for offense when trying to draw an offsides while backed up on their own goaline.

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