Report: NFL Competition Committee Given Power to Change Pass-Interference Replay

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2019

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2019, file photo, Los Angeles Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman breaks up a pass intended for New Orleans Saints' Tommylee Lewis during the second half of the NFL football NFC championship game, in New Orleans.  Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell watched the NFL’s conference championship games on his phone while flying home from South Africa last weekend. Campbell was stunned officials chose not to penalize Robey-Coleman for flattening Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis before the ball arrived. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

National Football League owners reportedly voted to give the league's competition committee the ability to alter the instant-replay process to allow for challenges on pass interference inside the last two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.

Albert Breer of The MMQB reported the update Wednesday, noting the change means pass-interference calls "could become part of coaches challenge system."

Although the idea of increasing coaches' challenge options is not new—New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has long advocated being able to throw the red flag on any play or call—it grew after the controversial end to last season's NFC Championship Game.

Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman knocked New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis to the turf well before a potential first-down pass from Saints quarterback Drew Brees arrived in the game's final minutes.

Instead of New Orleans potentially running out the clock, it was forced to kick a field goal with 1:41 remaining in regulation. Los Angeles drove down the field to tie the game with 15 seconds left and proceeded to win it in overtime.

"Just getting off the phone with the league office. They blew the call," Saints head coach Sean Payton told reporters after the game. "I don't know if there was ever a more obvious pass-interference call."

That play would be available for a challenge if the competition committee does adopt the change for the final two minutes of each half.

NFL owners previously voted to expand pass-interference reviews in late March, making such plays challengeable up to the last two minutes of each half.

It's unclear whether expanding that to include the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters—which will fall under the umbrella of a booth review—and make it a coaches challenge will happen in 2019.

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