One of the more interesting developments in the continuing controversy about reviewing pass interference calls and non calls was a report that some NFL officials may be having buyer’s remorse about the new pass interference rule it passed in March the wake of the pass interference no call in the Saints-Rams game.
Let’s hope the report is true and they make changes.
Judy Battista of NFL media reported the owners will consider a proposal at its upcoming owners meeting to allow the Competition Committee to modify the rule without needing a vote of all the owners.
They would consider allowing coaches to challenge offense or defensive interference throughout the game, including the final two minutes of each half, instead of having the replay official control the review in the last two minutes.
Forcing the coaches to use a challenge to review pass interference in the last two minutes would probably cut down on the number of delays and challenges.
Battista’s story also said that one high ranking official speculated several weeks ago that the new experimental rule might last only one season because nobody would be happy with the work stoppages at the end of games.
Finally, somebody has some common sense in the league office.
What they should do is throw out the new rule challenging pass interference calls and non calls in the first place.
What they forget is that the idea is not to have the perfectly called game. It is to have an entertaining game. Which is why they don’t allow commercials in the middle of drives. Too many stoppages of play bore the fans and drive them to check their phones.
This new rule is an overreaction to the non call in the Saints-Rams game that rarely happens.
How often does a defender deliberately hit the receiver illegally to stop a game winning reception? And how often do the officials missed that call because it was so obvious?
Most pass interference calls are close judgment calls that can go either way. Whatever decision is made on whether to make a call or change a call would probably cause more controversy.
Battista wrote they haven’t made a decision on whether to tweak the rule, but would have the power to do after meetings with the teams.
All these second thoughts are the result of the way the new rule was passed without enough thought about all the ramifications at the March owners meeting.
The Competition Committee didn’t want a new rule in the first place, but got so many complaints from the coaches about doing nothing that they were forced to try something.
They now seem to be figuring out the something isn’t a great idea. What happens next is anybody’s guess.
They need to learn the best replay is less replay.