Pass interference will be available for review on instant replay for the 2019 season. The NFL Competition Committee unanimously approved the rule change, but the caveat is it applies only to next season.
Under the rule change, non-calls on potential pass interference plays can be reviewed after the two-minute warning of each half and during overtime, according to NFL.com. The review must be initiated by the replay official and he can only stop the game when there is “clear and obvious visual evidence.”
The move was made to eliminate missed calls like the one that helped end the New Orleans Saints season in last year’s NFC Championship Game. The Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman wiped out the Saints’ Tommylee Lewis on a wheel route near the sideline. The score was tied with two minutes left and the Rams went on to win in overtime. The play was later recreated and called correctly in a video game.
While the new instant replay rules can’t turn back the clock for the Saints, it should provide a sense of closure for the rest of the league. The Rams-Saints game wasn’t the first time a missed pass interference call cost a team. In 2012, the Falcons had a similar non-call go against Roddy White on the six-yard line with under two minutes left in the NFC Championship Game. The quarterback in that game — Matt Ryan — was one of the first to comment Thursday.
“They’ll get it right,” Ryan told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They’ll get it right at some point. That’s the biggest thing that I’ve seen with all of this stuff is their intent is to try and get it right. As a player, you can respect and appreciate that.”
They’ll get it right — “at some point.” Interesting choice of words from Ryan. The four-time Pro Bowler was reminded that the missed call in 2012 would have been reviewable under the new rules and the Falcons would have received four more downs. Instead, they turned the ball over and eventually lost to the San Francisco 49ers.
“Geez, yes it would have [helped],” Ryan told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It would have definitely helped us. It would have helped us, but the same can be said for a lot of teams throughout the course of history.”
He wasn’t the only one left wondering. The Saints, including head coach Sean Payton, took the high road on the issue and posted nothing inflammatory on social media. However, outspoken running back Alvin Kamara did post one cryptic tweet Thursday that may or may not have been in reference to the rule change when he said: “Why they act like they believe in me now.”
It seems the Saints and the rest of the city of New Orleans were too busy celebrating the Pelicans selection of Zion Williams with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.
Perhaps they have made peace with the unfortunate situation. Back in January, Drew Brees embraced the challenge and seemed to move on.
“This will make us stronger, this will bond us tighter, this will be a source for our success in the future,” Brees posted last year on Instagram. “There is no place like New Orleans. There is no community like ours. No fans like the Who Dat Nation. I refuse to let this hold us down. I refuse to let this create any negativity or resentment. I embrace the challenge.”