NFL coaches left their annual meetings in Phoenix thinking the pass interference challenge rule was set for 2019. They found out Wednesday that owners now have given the Competition Committee power to tweak the rule.
Coaches were united in their stance that replay had to expand to include offensive and defensive pass interference after the blatant missed pass interference call in the NFC Championship Game. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was one of the most outspoken, helping sway ownership to pass the rule.
So now what?
The Competition Committee will consider allowing coaches to challenge offensive or defensive pass interference throughout the game, including the final two minutes of each half when it typically becomes a booth review. Coaches get only two challenges per game — and a third if they get the first two overturned in their favor — and three timeouts per half. They must have one of each — a challenge and a timeout — to initiate a review.
“Oh, I think it’s a long discussion. It seems like it’s still a work in progress as to how the whole thing is going to shake out, so I don’t want to be premature in my comments,” Garrett said Wednesday. “Certainly, as we came out of the owners meetings in March how they decided on it then was going to give us more of an opportunity to address some things as coaches by challenging the offensive and defensive pass interference. We’ll let the whole thing shake out and see what the rule ultimately is. I think the league is well intended. They’re trying to make sure some of these calls that tip the balance of big games can somehow get rectified. I think that’s the nature of replay in general. We’ll allow them to continue to work out what the specifics are and then we’ll figure it out from there.”