NFL Pass Interference Reviews Are Officially Dead

The one-year trial of making pass interference reviewable will not be renewed

NFL Pass Interference Reviews Are Officially Dead
Trayvon Mullen of the Raiders commits pass interference on Courtland Sutton. (AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty)
Denver Post via Getty Images
By Evan Bleier / May 28, 2020 9:54 am

The NFL’s one-year trial of making pass interference reviewable by officials is officially over and will not be renewed for a second season.

When the NFL competition committee votes on proposed rule changes on Thursday, continuing to keep pass interference a reviewable call won’t even be on the ballot because it was such a massive failure.

After the rule was implemented last season as a response to a blown call in the 2019 NFC Championship Game that likely kept the New Orleans Saints from making the Super Bowl, nearly every challenge on pass interference was denied. Later in the year, it was not officiated in a consistent manner and, by season’s end, many coaches had given up on challenging PI altogether.

While most admit the one-year change was a failure, its elimination does remove a failsafe within NFL rules that allows for the reversal of a game-altering play like the one that doomed the Saints in 2019. Still, it probably had to go.

“We passed that rule for one year,” said competition committee co-chairman Rich McKay. “Forever prior to that time, we were really nervous about having a review of something that is a subjective foul. There is nothing more subjective than offensive and defensive pass interference. It’s all in the eyes of beholder. We always had a fear that if we do that, you’re necessarily going to have complete disagreement about whether a play should be reversed or not reversed. It’s not black and white, it’s gray.”

When the competition committee votes on Thursday, a proposal for installing a booth official who would aid calls by using a video feed will also be left off the ballot.

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