NFL to Review Pass-Interference Penalties Following NFC Championship Game Disaster

The league is going to discuss making PI penalties reviewable this offseason.

Nickell Robey-Coleman Pass Interference
Tommylee Lewis being defended by Nickell Robey-Coleman in the NFC Championship game. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty)
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Following a non-call that helped decide Sunday’s NFC Championship Game the NFL is considering making a pretty big one.

In the wake of Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman blatantly interfering with Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis on a play that helped turn the game against New Orleans, the NFL is going to consider making pass-interference infractions reviewable.

That change, which has long been advocated for by coaches including the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick and, coincidentally, Sean Payton of the Saints, will be “discussed at length along with additional fouls that coaches feel should be subject to review.”

It’s a slippery slope as making judgment calls like PI reviewable opens up the door for nearly everything on a football field to be reviewed. And, while that might be good for accuracy, it certainly won’t help speed up the game or keep viewers from changing the channel during lengthy reviews.

Regardless, Saints owner Gayle Benson made it clear she will do whatever she can to get the rule changed and said she will  “aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies to ensure no team and fan base is ever put in a similar position again,” in a statement on the team’s website.

“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 wrote. “As is clear to all who watched the game, it is undeniable that our team and fans were unfairly deprived of that opportunity yesterday.”

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