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NFL pulls the plug on useless pass interference review rule

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New Orleans Saints v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The NFL gave it a shot and decided there won’t be a second year of reviewing pass interference.

As of Friday, the league’s competition committee opted not to endorse 2019’s rule that made pass interference calls reviewable by either coach’s challenge or by the replay booth. The implementation of the rule was made after the New Orleans Saints were robbed in the NFC Championship Game, when Tommie Lee Lewis was steamrolled by Nickell Robey-Coleman and the refs decided it was a clean play.

“Clear and obvious” was the theme for these pass interference reviews, and the reversal rate was dismal. This led to many wasted challenges from head coaches, even if they looked justifiable only for the replay center to move the goalposts on what “clear and obvious” means. Even if coaches were in the right, actually admitting fault appeared to be a different matter.

Maybe this offseason, the focus for referees will be on having a much better understanding of when and when not to flag for pass interference, or else the inability to reverse egregiously bad calls (or non-calls) will inevitably lead to outcry once again.

On the plus side, Pete Carroll (who somehow won a PI challenge on his second attempt, and then not again for the rest of the year) will no longer be able to waste valuable timeouts on OPI/DPI like he was way too eager to do last season. We shall pour one out for the PI challenge rule, as this critical DPI on Tyler Lockett by a Pittsburgh Steelers defender was overturned to a penalty and an automatic first down.