Rich McKay: Too early to know whether replay review for pass interference will be renewed

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At times during the 2019 season, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that replay review for pass interference calls and non-cals would not be renewed for a second season. Now, it’s not so clear that the biggest source of 100th season consternation will be scrapped.

Via Mark Maske of the Washington Post, Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay said Sunday that it’s too early to comment on whether he believes the procedure will be or should be renewed when owners gather in March. Because it was adopted on a one-year-only basis, it will take 24 votes to keep it in place. Once it becomes a permanent rule change, it will take 24 votes to scrap it.

“You have to decide from a cost-benefit analysis standpoint: Is this worth it?” McKay told Maske. “Are we getting enough bang for our buck as far as the game goes? And that’s one that the clubs have to answer that question. . . .

“I think we all saw the frustration that we all had during the year. And I do think it began to get better. But I want to see it all and the total picture and not deal from emotion.”

Even when it began to get better, it still wasn’t good. Nearly every application of it was unpredictable and, at times, flat-out maddening, thanks in large part to a standard that shifted and changed throughout the season, always without warning.

Of course, if the league doesn’t renew replay review of pass interference calls and non-calls, it will need another device for fixing mistakes like the one that applied an asterisk to the outcome of the 2018 NFC Championship. And the only viable alternative is the sky judge concept, which the league seems to be resisting, likely in whole or in part because of the cost.

Even though the NFL will make plenty of money from legalized gambling and even though sky judge could help avoid the kind of outcomes that would spark a gambling-fueled public outcry, the league ultimately authorizes expenditures that it deems necessary. If replay review of pass interference calls and non-calls can be improved to the point at which it can be regarded as satisfactory, it will be much cheaper than hiring 17 extra officials who would, ideally, serve as an extra set of eyes that isn’t operating among the gladiators, and thus isn’t primarily concerned with avoiding serious injury or worse.

Still, sky judge would be a better process, both as to pass interference and any other calls for which the officials on the field would benefit from the immediate perspective of another official who isn’t at risk of being trampled — and who isn’t limited to flashes and blurs that the naked eye often can’t discern.

Like so many other things, however, the NFL won’t embrace sky judge until it absolutely has to. Despite the flaws inherent to replay review of pass interference calls and non-calls, the NFL clearly doesn’t believe that it’s absolutely necessary to write the check for sky judge now.

10 responses to “Rich McKay: Too early to know whether replay review for pass interference will be renewed

  1. Yeah, let’s just change the rules every year. That’s what the paying fans want.

    Mark Cuban was spot on.

  2. And they won’t spend any money they don’t have to. Why should they? They do what they want and people whine about it, but they continue to watch. And Media criticizes them but they continue to write about them. What is their incentive.

  3. I honestly don’t think the sky judge is a cost issue as much as a control issue. Goodell thinks he’s protecting the integrity of the game by having decisions made from a central point. (He’s wrong, as he is on pretty much anything having to do with the game itself.)

  4. The CFL has instant replay for pass interference and it works just fine.
    Somehow though, the NFL just can’t get a handle on it.
    Go north with a note pad, ask a lot of questions for a weekend of games and maybe it could be figured out.
    Remarkable how difficult the NFL makes this issue.

  5. “The CFL has instant replay for pass interference and it works just fine.”

    But there is a LOT less scrutiny given to the CFL and they do not have the NFL’s well-known, ongoing problems with both rules and officiating. Nobody has any confidence in the NFL’s officiating and their replay efforts create as many controversies as they solve. The NFL’s problem is foundational and until they can work out the overall officiating problems nothing new tacked onto the current system will be successful.

  6. SWFLPC.INC says:
    February 24, 2020 at 9:00 am
    All this because Drew Brees proved himself a choker…..again….
    I dare anyone who posts here to openly state that, if their team were driving for the winning score that would send them to the Super Bowl, only to have a defensive player completely blow up their WR with a hit that CLEARLY happened significantly before the football arrived for what likely would have been a game-winning TD catch, sending their team to the Super Bowl, and which was in direct line-of-sight of two different members of the officiating team, neither of which made the call…….

    I want someone to state that, even under these conditions, all they get from it is that Drew Brees is somehow a choker, and they see no reason to have such plays, both made and unmade, to be judged by official review….after which I will immediately call them a liar, because EVERYONE knows what happened to the Saints that day was bogus, and could potentially happen to any team, including THEIR team, at which time they would be the one screaming for justice just the way we Saints fans did in 2018.

  7. Funny how TB12 managed to win the AFC championship game when his team had the football first, yet in the SAME situation the Saints managed to LOSE!!!!
    Seems like most Saint fans focus on a bad call in regulation, instead of a bad throw in Overtime!

  8. As a fan I would be bummed at the call. Then even more bummed that Brees came out after winning the toss and immediately threw a interception in overtime. Turnovers in playoff games being something he continues to do. But I would not want a rule change just because my team got hosed. It happens all the time to all teams and it is part of the game. Unfortunately. My take from it would be thank goodness we won the toss and had a chance to win in overtime and correct the mistake. But Brees turned it over. Again. Much like this year against the Vikings…Bad call but an unbiased view says Brees does have a propensity for team killing turnovers in playoff games.

  9. They should renew it, publish clear guidelines on how challenges will be evaluated, and stick to those guidelines throughout the season. Simple stuff.

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