The owners meetings were happening earlier this week in Phoenix. The owners ended up approving six new rule changes. They also approved pass interference to be reviewable. Defensive pass interference in the last two minutes also has a good chance to pass, per Chris Mortensen. These ongoing discussions about replay and what can and cannot be reviewed aren’t going to stop anytime soon. Apparently ran long because the group was upset that the league was not moving faster to amend the replay system. If they pass the rule that will allow officials to review pass interference in the final two minutes, it is going to get tricky.
Seemingly every rule change has been in favor of the offense. I get it. Offense boosts ratings. That’s what gets people talking. Nobody wants to talk about the Thursday night game where the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans combined for 20 points. Your co-worker—who still thinks Dee Ford plays for the Kansas City Chiefs—would tune into that classic Monday Night Football game against the Los Angeles Rams last year. That’s what the general public wants to see. Points. The rules are creating this golden age of stats. Everything is inflated.
Back to subjective
A few days ago, we talked about a rule we each would change. I mentioned that the league should steer away from the manual processes. If the ability to review pass interference in the final two minutes passes, I fear things will get worse before they get better. If the referees continue to be part-time, then the subjectivity magnifies. You are going to see what you want to see. The game is already one-sided. The review at an end of the game will only add to that. That intrigue at the end of the game—whether the offense will score or not —goes out of the window when any questionable contact can be reviewed. If it gets to review, you can bet that it’ll benefit the offense. When you slow down any play it will look like a penalty. This is physical contact sport. On defense—nowadays especially—you have a right to the ball, until you don’t. That’s what it feels like when you watch the NFL.
That’s before we get into any conspiracy theories about refs being able to control the outcome. I love the idea of replay. But the further away we get from “let em play”, the less enjoyable the game will get. Don’t make it one-sided.