If there ever was a time for the NFL to consider making pass interference calls open to review, this is it.
After the NFC championship game was essentially decided by a no-call on one of the most blatant examples of pass interference you’ll ever see, league sources reportedly said the NFL will discuss whether to make pass-interference penalties reviewable this offseason.
The Washington Post reported Monday that a rule change will be “discussed at length along with additional fouls that coaches feel should be subject to review.”
The NFL will (again) discuss whether to make pass interference calls reviewable this offseason, a source confirmed. Maybe the Saints’ misfortune will finally lead to a change. In the meantime, players remained dazed and distraught Monday: https://t.co/arkJXACiyH
— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) January 21, 2019
ESPN confirmed The Post’s report Tuesday.
Several coaches, including the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick and the New Orleans Saints’ Sean Payton, have lobbied for expanded use of replay in past seasons, but the idea never gained traction.
This year, it might be a different story.
“Look, I’m on the competition committee, so hopefully that provides a voice,” Payton said, reported ESPN. “But, man, I hope no other team has to lose a game the way we lost that one today.”
The Saints, of course, were victimized when referees failed to call pass interference with 1:45 left in regulation and the score tied at 20.
New Orleans had the ball at the Rams’ 13-yard line. Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw a short sideline pass to Tommylee Lewis, who was drilled by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman while the ball was in the air.
— ??Sir Yacht?? (@SirYacht) January 20, 2019
No penalty was called, and the Saints kicked the field goal to take a 23-20 lead. But that gave the Rams 1:41 to march down the field for a game-tying 48-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein to send it to overtime. Los Angeles ultimately won it in overtime 26-23 when Zuerlein made a 57-yard field goal after a Brees interception.
After the game, Payton said that the NFL’s head of officials, Alberto Riveron, admitted the refs made a mistake in not flagging the play.
Saints owner Gayle Benson later released a statement vowing to spearhead changes so this never happens again.
“No team should ever be denied the opportunity to reach the title game (or simply win a game) based on the actions, or inactions, of those charged with creating a fair and equitable playing field,” Benson said. “As is clear to all who watched the game, it is undeniable that our team and fans were unfairly deprived of that opportunity yesterday.
“I have been in touch with the NFL regarding yesterday’s events and will aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies to ensure no team and fan base is ever put in a similar position again. It is a disservice to our coaches, players, employees and, most importantly, the fans who make our game possible. The NFL must always commit to providing the most basic of expectations — fairness and integrity.”
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