Well, that didn’t take long.
When the owners voted to make pass interference reviewable because of the botched non-call in the New Orleans Saints-Los Angeles Rams playoff game, most critics predicted it would create more problems than it solved.
Sure enough, it happened in the Washington-Cincinnati game when what should have been a routine play turned into a controversy and delayed the game for no good reason.
What happened is that Washington’s Kelvin Harmon pushed off and the officials called it offensive pass interference.
Then Washington coach Jay Gruden challenged. It turns out the push-off was before the pass was thrown and the TV cameras didn’t show it, so the call stood because there was no way to judge the call.
Al Riveron, the NFL director of officiating, declined for whatever reason to explain that the cameras didn’t catch the play. He just said there was no visual evidence, making it sound like it was unclear so the call stood.
The league then clarified the matter Friday.
The push off was obvious on the All-22 coaches video, but that isn’t available during a game.
In another play in the same game, Harmon wasn’t called for pass interference so Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor challenged and Harmon was penalized. Apparently, the league didn’t think about the fact that sometimes the TV cameras don’t show a penalty the way the All-22 film does.
The bottom line is that the game was stopped on the first play and that interrupted the flow of it.
We are likely to see more of this in the regular season. With all the commercials, there are already too many delays and interruptions during games. Creating more of them makes no sense.
If it happens often enough, maybe the league will kill the idea of reviewing pass interference next year.
Even when the cameras do catch it, it is often too subjective and whether the call is overturned or not, there will be no controversy.
Reviewing replay was a terrible idea to begin with. Let’s hope the league finally figures that out.