The NFL finally allowed coaches to challenge pass interference calls this season.
It has not gone well, with it being nearly impossible to overturn a called pass interference penalty, and just slightly less impossible to have one called via replay if there was no flag thrown on the play. Today’s Ravens-Texans game featured an illustrative example, as refs initially didn’t flag Marlon Humphrey for what looked to be pretty defensive pass interference on Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
This was not called pass interference against the Ravens, the Texans challenged, and the ruling was upheld. pic.twitter.com/DxmirlFJzM
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 17, 2019
NFL officials reviewed this play, and said it was NOT a pass interference. pic.twitter.com/CCNw4P9Zb7
— Dave (@DawgPoundDave) November 17, 2019
Texans coach Bill O’Brien challenged the non-call, because obviously it would have been a huge play; the Texans would have had the ball essentially at the goal line. Instead, predictably (because we’re now conditioned to expect the NFL to get this kind of shit wrong as often as possible), the non-call was upheld. Good work all around!
NFL refs when a coach challenges an obviously incorrect pass interference call pic.twitter.com/bvKkZRomT6
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) November 17, 2019
If this is not pass interference, I don't know what pass interference is. Wasn't called interference on the field, but Bill O'Brien is challenging. Defender is literally hanging on DeAndre Hopkins before the ball arrives #Texans #Ravens pic.twitter.com/rz8QLpSSYW
— John Breech (@johnbreech) November 17, 2019
PI is reversible in the NFL in the same way slow play is penalizable on the PGA Tour.
— Brendan Porath (@BrendanPorath) November 17, 2019
And then, this, from perhaps the least radical possible source:
We had another example in the Houston-Baltimore game of the NFL office not overturning a terrible non call on Pass Interference. Houston should have had the ball at the 1 yd line. This is getting ridiculous.
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) November 17, 2019
When the league loses Tony Dungy, it’s truly time to reevaluate everything. The inaction by replay officials is obviously bad enough, but it’s important to wonder whether it’s already having an effect on which calls are made on the field. Knowing replay is an option, it’s possible that some officials are perhaps not throwing flags on calls they otherwise would have, or vice versa.
And that’s fine; we get annoyed when officials blow plays dead that should have been kept live, for example. But that only works if the replay center is doing its job properly, and that’s clearly not happening.