After Panthers lose pass interference challenge, we still don't know what new rule is

Yahoo Sports

The good news is the NFL seems focused on only overturning pass interference calls, or non-calls, when it’s clear and obvious. Nobody wants each game affected by a Zapruder-like review of every pass play looking for interference.

But there’s going to be some confusion along the way.

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Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera thought he would get a defensive pass interference call when he challenged a big play late in Thursday night’s game. His receiver was impeded on a downfield route.

And Rivera was upset when the non-call on the field stood.

Panthers have unsuccessful PI challenge

Just before the two-minute warning, with the Panthers trailing 20-14, Curtis Samuel ran a stop-and-go route against Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis. Davis was fooled and hit Samuel as he tried to get deep. There was some question if Cam Newton had released the ball before Davis’ contact — it’s pass interference if the ball is in the air and illegal contact if it’s not, and illegal contact isn’t reviewable — but referee Jerome Boger didn’t offer much explanation on the field for the call.

Rivera was upset. Television cameras saw him yelling at officials after the call was made following the review.

“I think Ron has a real legitimate argument here,” Fox officiating analyst Mike Pereira said on the broadcast. “I think if that is called pass interference on the field, there is no argument whatsoever on it.”

New rule hasn’t had big impact

The new rule was made after an instantly infamous non-call on a blatant pass interference in the NFC championship game cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to last season’s Super Bowl. Fans worried about how the rule would be implemented.

So far, it hasn’t had much impact. A graphic on the broadcast said there have been eight pass interference challenges through 17 games this season, and only two calls were overturned. It seems officials will be careful about changing their calls on the field when it comes to pass interference.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be controversies. The Panthers clearly felt they had a good challenge on Thursday night. But for some reason, they didn’t get the call.

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera argues with an official. (AP)
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera argues with an official. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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