clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL makes pass interference reviewable for 2019 season

NFL: NFC Championship Game-Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

We may take great pleasure in mocking the Los Angeles Rams for only scoring three points in Super Bowl 53 against the New England Patriots, but they most likely wouldn’t have had the chance to score three measly points in the Super Bowl if not for a missed pass interference call in the NFC Championship Game versus the New Orleans Saints.

Nickell Robey-Coleman pretty much bulldozed Tommy Lee Lewis on a third-down pass play, but the officials decided not to throw the flag. An automatic first-down would’ve given the Saints the opportunity to run almost all of the clock out and kick a chipshot field goal. Instead, they kicked the go-ahead field goal, gave up a game-tying field goal, and then the Rams won the game in overtime.

The egregious missed call made national headlines and led to the city of New Orleans basically boycotting the Super Bowl in protest.

Now would the NFL actually make pass interference a reviewable play, as they do in the Canadian Football League? At least for 2019, the answer is yes.


The NFL owners voted on Tuesday evening to approve a rule proposal that allows for offensive and defensive pass interference, including non-calls, to be subject to review.

Coaches can challenge those calls in the first 28 minutes of each half. In the final two minutes of each half, those calls will be subject to a booth review.

This rule change is only for the 2019 season.

Owners passed the provision, 31-1, at the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix on Tuesday night. The Cincinnati Bengals were the lone team to vote against pass interference replay reviews, sources told NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

Coaches will still have only two challenge flags.

As much I can see this turn into a slippery slope of trying to make other penalties reviewable — roughing the passer, for example — pass interference statistically is the biggest game-changing call in the NFL.

Check out this blurb from ESPN:

The league’s internal analysis also examined the impact of pass interference fouls that were later graded to be incorrect by the league’s officiating department. Between 2016 and 2018, 10.5 percent of incorrect calls were for defensive pass interference. But 24 of those plays ranked among the top 50 in impact on win probability. In other words, 10.5 percent of all incorrect calls represented nearly 50 percent of the incorrect calls that most hindered (or helped) a team’s chances to win.

I can certainly think of a pass interference that was called that had an impact on the Seattle Seahawks’ win probability.

Of course, it’s only a matter of time before a really controversial DPI or OPI call is made that is widely viewed as wrong even after review, and that stirs up a new debate over how this rule is implemented.


Pass interference is now reviewable - Yay or nay?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    (401 votes)
  • 16%
    (79 votes)
480 votes total Vote Now