The NFL is back in the business of tying itself up in knots. The league will expand instant replay for pass interference in 2019.
The days of officials not being able to review judgment calls are over. Well, in the NFL anyway.
On Tuesday, in a movement led by New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, the NFL owners voted 31-1 to expand instant replay on a one-year trial basis. Before Tuesday’s ruling, pass interference was not replay-review eligible.
This will allow a coaches challenge for called and uncalled offensive and defensive pass interference. And under two minutes in the second and fourth quarter of games, offensive and defensive plays that are close enough for a review will be looked at by officials.
First off, it is essential for officials to get the calls right in any game, no matter the sport. However, the NFL is setting a dangerous precedent by reviewing judgment calls.
Is the NFL setting itself up for failure?
Now that the league will review pass interference and non-pass interference calls, what’s next? Will coaches be able to review holding calls on receivers? What about offensive linemen holding defensive linemen during the course of the game?
It is vital to get calls correct, but at what cost? What happened to the Saints during the NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams was the incorrect call, period. But this was a reactionary decision based on one rare play where the officials got a call wrong that likely determined the outcome of a game.
Instead of understanding that missed call wasn’t the norm, the coaches spearheaded a charge to get pass interference and noncalls reviewed.
The biggest concern in regards to the rule is the length of games. Major League Baseball, which games last just as long as the National Football League, is attempting to find ways to shorten games. Meanwhile, the NFL appears to be okay with extending them by adding replay on pass interference.
Another rule that’s geared towards the offense
When humans are officiating a game, there are going to be mistakes during the course of any contest. But I am for one do not believe judgment calls should not be reviewed.
Just like MLB strikes and balls aren’t reviewed, just like fouls in the NBA aren’t reviewed, pass interference also shouldn’t be reviewed.
What if a single game has five or six pass interference challenges? Although that is unlikely, it isn’t impossible now with the new ruling.
Many defensive players, including Rams safety Eric Weddle, were disappointing at the decision to review pass interference as they should be. The NFL has turned into a game full of high-powered offenses, and that puts defenders at a disadvantage.
Dumbest decision ever!!!! https://t.co/iOLzLxPMFb
— Eric Weddle (@weddlesbeard) March 27, 2019
So many pass interference calls are unclear as there isn’t a clear definition of what it is exactly. Now this will just create more confusion during games for fans and even the person doing the booth review.
I for one, hope the review of pass interference and non-calls are successful. Anything that can help the officials get the calls right should be the first obligation to everyone involved. But I believe this will lead to more confusion, which will result in longer games in the NFL in 2019.