NFL Pass Interference Rule Change Could Open Pandora’s Box

The call, or no-call, heard around the world is still being talked about. The Saints did not get the pass interference call they wanted when Los Angeles Rams defender Nickell Robey-Coleman laid into New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis. The result of the missed call resulted in a field goal made by the Saints. The Rams would come back and tie the game along with winning it in overtime and many Saints fans still hold hard feelings against the Rams, the referees, and the NFL. Many were calling for replay when it comes to referees missing calls on the field and were hoping for an apology from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Well, Saints fans never got the apology they were looking for, but they recently got the review they wanted and needed at that time in play for next season. The NFL voted at their annual meetings to allow defensive and offensive pass interference calls to be reviewed and this also includes pass interference calls that are not called by the referees as well. While fans, players, coaches, and organizations may be rejoicing about this rule change (which is only signed to be used through the 2019 season and not any further at this point), this rule seems good until you realize it could open up a door many may not be willing to go through.

The human element of the game is what some love. The emotion, the critical thinking, and all those things are what make the game what it is. Along with that, the mistakes are also what happens unfortunately in games. Players make mistakes and so do coaches with calls they do or don’t make, but when an official makes a critical mistake, it seems like it goes down in infamy. The referees in New Orleans for the NFC Championship game will never live that moment down and now they have a rule to follow up behind them along with another official added to the booth to watch over them. While many may not want to acknowledge it, if this rule ends up working the way some would like it to, that means more calls will end up being reviewed. Within the first 28 minutes of the halves, it will not matter as much about the missed calls as much because the teams only have two reviews for right now (and a third if they get the first two correct), but when it gets to two minutes, think of all the things that could happen. There will only be reviews of fumbles, incomplete passes, catches, spots on the field, defensive/offensive pass interference, but what happens when a big holding call is missed? Are we going to review that too? If there is more things to review, will the NFL end up giving teams more reviews? Those are things people have to think about in addition to the changes in the rules for reviewing offensive/defensive pass interference.

Along with tons of things ending up being reviewed, the human element of the game is dying a slow death on the field. People want a fairly-called game, but you also have to realize that not every single call is going to be made correct. If you want every single call made by the letter of the law, then you may as well let computerized calls be made on the field at all the games. Some fans may love it, as they will get to see every single call made on the field. The other side of that is there will be every single call made and that means longer games. There are fans that already complain about the length of the game, so imagine what those complaints will be if we continue in the direction. But hey, long as the calls get right all the time, will fans care? Or will they want things back the way they were previously?

The game of football is a fun game to watch, but just like any sport, it is a hard thing to watch with penalties being called all game long. With the review of penalties on it’s way in, expect the watchability to take a nosedive eventually. It will be interesting to see how all this develops and how the opinions of people change on this new rule change over time.


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