Pass interference is already seemingly flagged inconsistently — and now it will fall under replay review.
On Thursday, the NFL announced on its league operations Twitter page that its competition committee “unanimously recommended” the new rule for instant replay of pass interference but stressed that it will be for 2019 only.
In a short text video that was part of the tweet, the language of the rule was explained:
“The replay official will stop the game after the two-minute warning of each half and during OT; when there is ‘clear and obvious visual evidence’ that a pass interference foul may or may not have occurred, based on viewing the play live or any initial replays.
“A stoppage will occur under stricter criteria than for other reviewable plays to prevent excessive game stoppages.
“A decision on the field will only be reversed: Based on ‘clear and obvious visual evidence’ that the ruling was incorrect, the same standard for all reviews. This is wholly dependent on video angles shown by broadcast networks.
“By rule, pass interference requires: An act that ‘significantly hinders’ an opponent’s opportunity to make a play on the ball. All passing plays will be subject to review for pass interference.
“The ‘Hail Mary’ play will be reviewed in replay consistent with the guidelines for officiating the play on the field.”
The rule change to allow PI to be reviewable was, of course, pushed for by the New Orleans Saints after what happened in the NFC championship game in January. Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman committed what appeared to have been obvious defensive pass interference on receiver Tommylee Lewis, but there was no flag.
Team owner Gayle Benson openly lobbied for the change, and was pleased when it was first approved in March.
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