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NFL to Make Pass Interference Replay Review 'Point of Discussion' in Offseason

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 12, 2019

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 06: Rich McKay President and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons prior to the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

NFL officiating and review processes have come under intense scrutiny during the 2019 season, with the newly instituted replay and challenge system for pass interference chief among the issues. 

The question now is whether that system will carry into the 2020 season. On that note, Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, who is also the chairman of the NFL competition committee, told reporters (h/t Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic) at the league owners meeting in Irving, Texas that "it will be a point of discussion."

The NFL instituted reviews for pass interference following a game-changing missed call in the 2018 NFC Championship Game.

The New Orleans Saints faced a third down deep in Los Angeles Rams territory in the closing minutes of the game with the score tied at 20. 

Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman then clearly impeded with Saints wideout Tommylee Lewis as he attempted to catch a Drew Brees pass, but no call was made. The Rams eventually won in overtime.

However, the new review process did little to change the status quo in the beginning of the season, with numerous challenges for clear pass-interference penalties failing after a second look.

But that's changed dramatically in recent weeks, per Kaplan, to the point where 20 of 87 pass interference challenges overall have proven successful.

Still, the inconsistency hasn't helped assuage any concerns from NFL teams, a point McKay recognized.

"There's no question there's been angst," McKay said. "I have felt the angst in our team's building. ... But it's a new rule. It's a big change, it's something we haven't done before. So I don't want to prejudge what the outcome is."

McKay also noted that this was the first year of the new system and that it comes with a learning curve.

In other news, Kaplan wrote that NFL football operations chief Troy Vincent "declined to give a vote of confidence" to NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron, who has come under fire as well:

"Well, I think we start with, just what do we do well, what do we not do well. I'm the leader of the group, and even have to evaluate myself. Do we have the right people in place? ... Are the right people in place that are initiating rules and administering the game on Sunday, Mondays, and Thursdays? Are we the right people? Is it the right process? All of those things [have] to be evaluated, starting with myself."

Riveron has been in his position since May 2017.