The league has taken steps to try and be accurate on the calls that decide games, and they may have just opened up a new can of worms in the process. On Tuesday evening, NFL owners voted to approve a rule proposal allowing offensive and defensive pass interference, both calls and non-calls, to be reviewed.
In the first 28 minutes of each half (up until the two-minute warning), these calls are subject to coach’s challenges, just as fumbles and completed passes are. In the final two minutes these, like all other referee reviews, go to the booth.
The coaches will still have the same two challenges they’ve had in previous seasons.
This ruling will only be for the 2019 season as a trial of sorts. You see this with other rule changes like when the extra point went to the 15 yard-line in 2015 and the two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties as criteria for disqualification in 2016. After 2019, they’ll attempt to vote it in proper.
While this is now subject for review, this now opens up a whole new problem. Personal fouls like late hits, roughing the quarterback, etc. are still not subject for review. While a PI can be erased, subjective calls like the aforementioned roughing the quarterback can still change the tide of games, if allowed. This very same error was what cost the 49ers years ago in a game against the Saints that may have decided home-field advantage in that year’s NFC Championship game. It will be interesting when these types of calls come up that cannot be reviewed, yet PI always can.
With luck, the DPI calls will be the first thing to be placed under review and hopefully in 2020 things get expanded to personal fouls.
Or, you know, the NFL does what’s worked in the AAF and gets a sky judge.