The members of the Competition Committee agree that replay review for pass interference needs to go. They aren’t entirely on the same page as to why it failed, however.
Last Friday, Cowboys executive Stephen Jones (a member of the committee) attributed the problems with the rule to the subjective nature of pass interference. On Thursday, Saints coach Sean Payton (another member of the committee) blamed the execution, not the concept.
“Obviously, we weren’t prepared to enforce that and monitor that the correct way,” Payton said on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore, via Luke Johnson of the New Orleans Advocate. “I think the theory behind it, and what the league voted on — and when I say the league, all 32 teams — certainly it had a chance to be successful. But, quite honestly, we weren’t ready in New York to handle it. I know that sounds critical, but that’s just a fact.”
Payton was still somewhat diplomatic despite his candor, refraining from blaming the problems with the implementation of replay review for pass interference on NFL senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron, who seemed to apply (possibly at the behest of someone above him) a standard the moved down and up and down and up again throughout the season.
“The consistency and the ability to take in the calls and at least come up with a fairly level basis of what you’re going to interpret that call on,” Payton said. “And if we’re not ready there, then we shouldn’t have it. I think that’s the feeling that all of us have right now, including myself.”
Jones had a different view last week.
“It’s just the subjectivity that comes with what is what isn’t pass interference and being consistent with it,” Jones said on the #PFTPM podcast. “I think that’s the hard part is the consistency that every coach wants, that our owners want, that our fans want. Everyone wants consistency. These guys are great athletes. There’s a lot of hand fighting on every play. I think our fans like to see our players play. They don’t want to see a lot of flags. I just think it was very difficult on judgment calls to really get down and have that be part of replay.”
Regardless, it’s gone. And if the league doesn’t replace it with something else, the stage could be set for another Rams-Saints postseason debacle, with a missed instance of obvious interference uncalled and with no device for fixing the mistake.