2019 NFL: Rule Changes

HowBoutDemSox

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Wasnt Bill Callahan in charge during the tuck rule game? Or are they referring to a different game? Or Am I missing the joke here?
The Tuck Rule Game was Gruden’s last game coaching the Raiders before getting traded to Tampa that offseason, Callahan took over for the following season.
 

dcmissle

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Belichick’s been advocating to make everything reviewable for an eternity. But like all his other proposals—such as moving back the extra point—by the time the rule is actually asopted, it’s done in a way where it isn’t—or can’t be—credited to him. And in this case, it may be for the best.
In this case his and Reid’s taking the coaches session into overtime may have been decisive. Nothing much was really expected this week. People on NFLN were surprised late afternoon/early evening yesterday when that appeared to change as the big meeting convened. Still, they expected this to be kicked to May and reported owners’ great reluctance to have a big game turn in the review booth on an uncalled penalty. And they did not expect the scope of this change.

The message from the coaches was characterized as adamant — we’re fed up and you really need to change this and change it now.
 

wilked

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Can’t wait for that pass interference challenge on the first Hail Mary. It’s basically impossible to have a Hail Mary play without interference on both sides
 

CFB_Rules

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I'm prepared for this to be an unmitigated disaster. Coaches and fans love replay because they think that it is a panacea against bad calls. But it also eliminates all judgment, supplanting it with only the text of the rule which by necessity will now become much more complicated in an effort to cover all possible play scenarios.
 

johnmd20

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I'm prepared for this to be an unmitigated disaster. Coaches and fans love replay because they think that it is a panacea against bad calls. But it also eliminates all judgment, supplanting it with only the text of the rule which by necessity will now become much more complicated in an effort to cover all possible play scenarios.
Unmitigated disaster and it will also make the viewing experience absolutely horrendous. There is no catharsis, no celebration, no understanding of what happened until the booth does it reviews and delivers the judgement 8 minutes later. It's going to be such a let down. Almost every contested play can and can not be called PI. On both the WR and the DB.

I don't love this, at all.
 

tims4wins

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Unmitigated disaster and it will also make the viewing experience absolutely horrendous. There is no catharsis, no celebration, no understanding of what happened until the booth does it reviews and delivers the judgement 8 minutes later. It's going to be such a let down. Almost every contested play can and can not be called PI. On both the WR and the DB.

I don't love this, at all.
No both reviews until inside 2 minutes. They won't be reviewing every TD like they do now, at least not for penalties. Coaches would have to challenge. You only get 2 challenges per game and they result in lost timeouts. You're not just going to challenge some TD in the first half because there may have been a chance of OPI or something.

I think you guys are overblowing how much this is going to change things. The last 2 minutes is an issue, I agree, but I get the impression they will only stop to review for blatant offenses if they are uncalled.

The Cooks play in the Super Bowl, I think what the NFL was trying to say is that if the Rams had challenged the play, they would have won the challenge by the letter of the law. And they may well have challenged. But they'd have been risking a timeout late in the 4th quarter to do so, on what was a 1st down play. It's not like the booth could stop play to call the PI on that play.
 

wiffleballhero

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I really wonder how they are going to apply the blind side block rule. Do they intend to call this, literally, on every blind side block, or are they going to apply this in terms of the 'spirit' of the rule, meaning that you can blind side block, you just can't pop the guy? I hope it is the later actually. To fully eliminate blind side blocking will be a drag on the game where 3/4 of big plays will have a flag -- you have to try to block from the back side sometimes. There is lots of blocking, even with these cyborgs in the NFL, that is not that violent and dangerous. So I hope the rule is to cut down those crazy, can't-see-it-coming, crushing hits. But let them still block a bit!
 

wilked

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Would be inside 2 minutes, not challengeable
It's 'booth challenge' in that case, right (like a fumble in last 2 mins)?

Either way it's an implicit challenge. The TV announcers will (rightfully) assume the booth is reviewing a critical play like that
 

cshea

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I’m in the camp that this will be a complete disaster. Are they going to go by the letter of the rule, or are we playing with a different set of rules inside 2 minutes. The NFL admits that the Cooks play was PI. If it happens inside 2 minutes, are they buzzing it or saying “close enough” and letting it go. Do hail mary’s now have a different set of rules? Would they have awarded PI on the Hail Mary in the Eagles Super Bowl when Hogan got knocked down? That was blatant, no? Is every pass play inside 2 minutes now getting reviewed? How do they define blantant? What about holding or illegal contact called on the field, but on review the ball is indeed in the air and the call should’ve been PI? Can that be reviewed?

I’m all for correcting obvious mistakes but I think this change was fast tracked to satisfy the tears of the Saints and not well thought out. There will be problems that arise.
 

tims4wins

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It's 'booth challenge' in that case, right (like a fumble in last 2 mins)?

Either way it's an implicit challenge. The TV announcers will (rightfully) assume the booth is reviewing a critical play like that
Sure, but it's a hail mary and the last play of the game - wouldn't you like that to be reviewed? By definition it is a hugely important play that can swing the game literally to one team or the other. I have no problem with all hail marys being reviewed.
 

CFB_Rules

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I really wonder how they are going to apply the blind side block rule. Do they intend to call this, literally, on every blind side block, or are they going to apply this in terms of the 'spirit' of the rule, meaning that you can blind side block, you just can't pop the guy? I hope it is the later actually. To fully eliminate blind side blocking will be a drag on the game where 3/4 of big plays will have a flag -- you have to try to block from the back side sometimes. There is lots of blocking, even with these cyborgs in the NFL, that is not that violent and dangerous. So I hope the rule is to cut down those crazy, can't-see-it-coming, crushing hits. But let them still block a bit!
This is (almost certainly, it hasn't officially passed but it's coming) a new rule for NCAA too this year. It has been in high school a couple years now. The guidance we are hearing from the NCAA (and there are a lot of NFL guys involved) is that blindside blocks are legal unless they are "forcible". One way to eliminate officials judgment on whether or not a block is forcible is to block with open hands instead of laying a shoulder into somebody...if a guy can't see you coming, it should be pretty easy to knock him off his path just by pushing him.

I'm looking forward to the first 10 minute NFL review on a potential catch/no catch where there might have been DPI.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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I feel replay has changed from getting calls right on plays where replay actually helps what a ref can’t really see at game speed and with a naked eye....did a player get the second toe down, possession coming loose, etc. Now its ‘we don’t trust the game officials to do their jobs’ and I don’t think its a good thing.

The answer to the Saints play was get rid of that official and put someone on the field that would do his job.
 

The Gray Eagle

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What I would change replay to:
The only time replay is used is when a team challenges a call. Any call can be challenged.
Once the official starts watching a video replay, he has 60 seconds at most to decide whether to change the call. No decision by 60 seconds, call on the field stands.

But each team only gets a small number of failed challenges per season, say 4. Once they hit their season limit of failed challenges, they can’t challenge any more plays for the rest of the year, period. You only get a few chances per year to interrupt the game and waste everyone’s time with a failed challenge, so you’d better use them sparingly and only on a call that is really important to your season.

If your team is hurt by a bad call, challenge it and fix it. But don’t be wrong and waste all our time over nothing, or you will lose that right and it’s your own fault.
 

pappymojo

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Not a rule change, but close. Sean Payton wants the NFL to stop using all star crews for the playoffs.

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/03/26/sean-payton-hopes-nfl-stops-using-all-star-officiating-crews-in-playoffs/

It was a minor point in the deflategate debacle, but it certainly didn't help that that Colts/Patriots game had a crew of officials who didn't normally work together which was then compounded when the Seahawks/Packers game went into overtime (delaying the start of the Colts/Patriots game).
 

tims4wins

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Chiefs must be happy about this. They wouldn't have had to worry about OT since the Pats would have challenged the non-OPI call and they wouldn't have taken the lead.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I'm firmly in the "this is going to be a disaster" camp.

By the letter of the law, there is pass interference on a very high proportion of contested catchable throws, especially downfield ones. Watch two guys on a go route and there is constant hand fighting, subtle arm barring, etc even before the ball arrives.

The way the game is called now relies on the assumption that referees are not going to apply the letter of the law. And that's a viable middle ground because they're making the calls in real time so everybody knows that its probably only going to get called if its egregious. Once you're looking at these things in replay, you're just going to be faced with situations over and over in which its not egregious but its technically a penalty by the rules. So what is the ref going to do in that situation? If he gets up and says there was no pass interference, it'll launch a zillion tweets to the effect of "How could this guy be so fucking blind? Its clear as day that this was a foul by the letter of the law." If he gets up and says that there was pass interference but it wasn't egregious enough for a foul, everybody will just be confused about this mystery standard. So he's probably going to get up there and call pass interference, which is going to lead to a million more flags.

Each team might only get two challenges, but you get a third if you win those two. Its also worth noting that there were only 237 (accepted) DPI calls last year, or slightly less than one a game. Even if you only end up with 1-2 more DPI calls per game (and it could definitely be more than that), that's still a massive change. The fear of DPI is going to greatly alter how teams play defense and tilt the game even more in an offensive direction.
 
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54thMA

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Unmitigated disaster and it will also make the viewing experience absolutely horrendous. There is no catharsis, no celebration, no understanding of what happened until the booth does it reviews and delivers the judgement 8 minutes later. It's going to be such a let down. Almost every contested play can and can not be called PI. On both the WR and the DB.

I don't love this, at all.
I hate it as well.

I can't wait until games start getting decided on PI reviews. Like holding, you can call that on almost every play when you slow it down and review from every angle. It's going to be like "goalie interference" reviews in the NHL. It's going to be subjective in most instances. Coaches will wait until a crucial moment and make a challenge regardless of whether they believe there was interference and hope the refs bail them out.
 

dcmissle

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I agree with Morgan and others above. This is likely to be an s-show. Every other year, maybe more frequently, the SB winner may be deemed illegitimate. The winner of every “Hail Mary” game by 8 points or fewer will be in the same category.
 

Van Everyman

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If there’s any reason to hate this, it should be for the opportunity it gave Goodell to trot out Bill Burr’s favorite Goodell-ism from the Ray Rice-era:


The self-congratulatory stuff is amazing:

“I think everyone knows how I felt,” Goodell said. “I felt very strongly, and I was very clear with the [Competition] Committee that we have an obligation to have a recommendation, and we need to get to a place [where ownership will pass something]. . . .It was up to the Committee and our membership to come up with the best way of doing that, and I think they did a great job.”
And who amongst us hasn’t used the bolded aphorism?
“I think it was very important, because we all said officiating is never going to be perfect,” Goodell said. “We can use the technology to try and improve officiating. We do that every year. It evolves. Whether it’s our techniques, how we train, how we work with our officials on the field. But replay has been an important tool for us. It wasn’t able to correct something that we wanted to have corrected in the past. That to me was the driving force ultimately at the end of the day. I think our clubs — including our coaches, owners and everyone else — realized that our job is to get these right, and we should use every available means to get them right, and replay was is a great means to be able to do that.

“Will this solve every problem? Will this get us to perfect? It’s the old saying: Don’t let perfect get in the way of better, and this is a very natural evolution and obviously a very positive thing.”
As always, awful.
 

tims4wins

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Normally I am one to blast the NFL on pretty much anything, but I think that for any reviews of non-calls, they would have to be somewhat blatant in real time for the official watching on the monitor. They aren't going to halt play to look at every incomplete pass within two minutes. They aren't going to look at incomplete passes just to see if there was maybe pass interference. If it looks like something may have happened in real time, they'll take a look.

As for coaches trying to get "bailed out" - sure you can challenge a non-call, but you only get 2 chances, and you lose a timeout if you do.
 

Bowhemian

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Joe Flacco is about to have an honest elite season. Inside 2 minutes, just go ahead and chuck it, Joe. Nothing can go wrong!
 

wiffleballhero

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I wonder if this will change the receiver position a bit, where raw speed is going to matter even more because the receivers are really going to be all but untouchable and the ability to fight through coverage is going to matter less and less.
 

tims4wins

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I wonder if this will change the receiver position a bit, where raw speed is going to matter even more because the receivers are really going to be all but untouchable and the ability to fight through coverage is going to matter less and less.
You only get 2 challenges per game. It's not going to change a thing about the position. I don't get why everyone is acting like every pass is now going to be reviewed.
 

Mystic Merlin

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On the bright side (I think?), there’s even more opportunity for brain dead challenges.

Uncalled OPI on an 8 yard pass from the 40 on first and 10?!

CHALLENGE!
 

BigJimEd

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Normally I am one to blast the NFL on pretty much anything, but I think that for any reviews of non-calls, they would have to be somewhat blatant in real time for the official watching on the monitor. They aren't going to halt play to look at every incomplete pass within two minutes. They aren't going to look at incomplete passes just to see if there was maybe pass interference. If it looks like something may have happened in real time, they'll take a look.
Why do you say this? They specifically mentioned the Gilmore/Cooks which was far from blatant in full speed real time.


I guess the owners are too cheap to go with the coaches suggestion.
 

tims4wins

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Why do you say this? They specifically mentioned the Gilmore/Cooks which was far from blatant in full speed real time.


I guess the owners are too cheap to go with the coaches suggestion.
I think they mentioned the Cooks play as a play where, if the Rams challenged, they would have won the challenge. Inside 2 minutes they may or may not have looked at it.

edit: the NFL said "it would have been PI". The NFL didn't say "it would have gone to a booth review if inside 2 minutes"
 

BigJimEd

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I think they mentioned the Cooks play as a play where, if the Rams challenged, they would have won the challenge. Inside 2 minutes they may or may not have looked at it.

edit: the NFL said "it would have been PI". The NFL didn't say "it would have gone to a booth review if inside 2 minutes"
I'm not seeing the distinction. If it is PI, it is PI. Unless they want to have different rules in the last 2 minutes which would be 1000X worse.
 

tims4wins

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I'm not seeing the distinction. If it is PI, it is PI. Unless they want to have different rules in the last 2 minutes which would be 1000X worse.
To me the distinction is that outside 2 minutes, if you want to challenge, go for it, you might win. But in terms of initiating a booth review, it has to look like something happened in real time to even go there. Not sure the Cooks play would meet that standard or not. It may well have gone to review. But the NFL's statement about the play wasn't saying definitively that play would have gone to review, just that it would have been PI if it had gone to review.
 

BaseballJones

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Like with the OT proposal (did that pass?), what's going to happen is that next year, the Patriots are going to be driving for a winning score, Brady will throw a key incomplete pass with no flag, and then BB will challenge it and they'll rule it DPI and the world will go bonkers. Just like we know that if they change the OT rules, the Pats will have an OT game and the other team will get the ball first, drive for a TD, and then the Pats will get the ball and score a TD and eventually win in OT and it will make people crazy. It's almost...impossible for that NOT to happen.
 

wilked

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Pass interference is like speeding. Refs (police) allow some level of it, say 5-10 mph over the limit. 15? You’re likely to get pulled over. And in general it works.

Start looking at it from a binary perspective (interference or not?) and you’ll force the authorities (refs) to say that the small stuff is indeed interference. ie hand checking, bang-bang breakups where the hand got there 1-2 frames before the ball, etc.

This is what the issue is. Pass interference isn’t binary but operates over a spectrum. Refs each have their shade of grey where they throw the flag, and that (right or wrong) changes depending on situation (early vs late in the game, star CB or star WR vs Joe Nobody, Gronk vs Ertz, and Hail Mary vs regular pass). Some drives me crazy (Gronk) and some I agree with (Hail Mary or say OT in a playoff game). But what I am sure of is this isn’t the fix.
 

wilked

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Go to about the 4 min mark here (Fail Mary play). Assume for a min that they call that an interception. Does 14 on Seattle get interfered with? He got swarmed by about 4 Packers guys and was never given a legitimate chance at catching it. If an interception, do you instead give Seattle the ball at the 1 with one final play?

 

dcmissle

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Wilked, you are exactly right about the nature of interference calls, which is why there is almost zero chance this does not produce a shitshow — unless all playoff games are blowouts.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Normally I am one to blast the NFL on pretty much anything, but I think that for any reviews of non-calls, they would have to be somewhat blatant in real time for the official watching on the monitor. They aren't going to halt play to look at every incomplete pass within two minutes. They aren't going to look at incomplete passes just to see if there was maybe pass interference. If it looks like something may have happened in real time, they'll take a look.
The problem is that what is "somewhat blatant in real time" is now going to be a topic of debate, just as whether to throw the flag at all was previously. The complaints will change from "how is there no flag there" to "how is there no review there."

To take the Cooks SB example, if the refs didn't stop to review that all we'd be hearing after the game was about how the fix was in for the Pats and/or how the replay official was incompetent for not stopping to review it.
 

Dollar

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Agreed with the others who think this is going to be a complete disaster. And one thing I'd keep an eye out for: home teams are going to benefit from this rule a ton. The replay official is going to be influenced by the home crowd booing loudly at a possible missed call in the last two minutes. You see it a lot on the broadcast when a replay will be shown multiple times based on the crowd's reaction... if there's no reaction and something is missed, the broadcast will just move on to the next play with no replay. Home crowd goes insane at a possible penalty? Tons of replays, and I'm guessing tons of these new reviews.

I really hate this direction the NFL is going. Football is such an inexact sport, with the chain gang marking spots very generally, most penalties going uncalled, the center moving the ball a few inches every time he picks it up to snap it, refs marking punts out of bounds seemingly at random. Slowing down replays to see what happened in the space of a few inches in a fraction of a second is unnecessary and destroys the flow of a game.

I'd like to see a hard 90 second replay review, where the monitor turns off for the official after 90 seconds and he has to make the best call he can at that point. And I'd rather have replay reviews be only in real-time speed. None of this "slowing things down to 1/100th of a second to see if the ball grazed a player's jersey fiber. I know most will disagree with me on this but I think the trend toward reviewing everything in minuscule detail is a detriment to the game and just kills the fun involved with the sport.
 

The Racoon

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Jon Bois of SB Nation has advocated for that Broncos Kickoff idea in a video more than a year ago and I kind of like the concept... His idea (well, he took it from someone else and made a video) goes even some steps further, eliminating all KO and giving the teams a 4th and 15 at the start of each half, OT and after scores. Allowing a punt to get to a similar field position as most kickoffs or a real play to get the first down: youtube.com/watch?v=t_SsIKgwvz4

As someone who had to live through the introduction of the VAR (Video Assisted Referee) in European Foot... Soccer for the last years, I have serious doubts about the inctroduction to challenges on OPI and DPI situations. For every clear cut example (Rams-Saints) there are dozens of calls, where whoever fanbase doesn't get the call will get even more furious ("What about that "same" play 8 weeks ago...?").
It's (fairly) simple to decide on video if a player was out of bounds or if a ball hit the ground (and there are still endless discussions about the catch rule), but for all those real judgement calls...
"Was there unfair contact by player X or did both players instigate the contact?", "Was the throw catchable or out of reach anyway?", "Did the ball arrive at the moment of the tackle or was the defender fractions of a second to early?"
Who has the final say, the ref in the video booth or those on the fields? Why are you only allowed to challenge OPI/DPI, when a holding call / roughing the passer / false start etc can have huge impact on a game as well? And what if, after all those questions are answered, the Patriots happen to benefit from that rule change in a big game?
 

biff_hardbody

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I personally think the challenging team should have to brief the challenged call/no-call of PI for the officials. Give them 10 minutes to write it. The non-challenging team will be given 10 minutes to file a response brief. Finally, a 5 minute reply brief from the challenging team.
 

nattysez

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My expectation is that they are not going change PI calls unless they are absolutely egregious (which is more or less what they've already said). After the first few times coaches lose a challenge on a clear-but-not-egregious PI call (which will cause people to go crazy), they'll stop using them for PI except in the most ridiculous situations. That'll probably happen during the preseason.

They're never going to call PI during Hail Mary scrums.
 

GoDa

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How can a coach lose a challenge on a clear-but-not egregious PI call?

What would the explanation be from the refs? It's clearly PI... but the receiver still had somewhat of a chance to catch the ball. Ruling on the field stands!

And another favorite: receiver was illegally contacted before the ball was in the air. This is not DPI. Ruling on the field stands!
 

tims4wins

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The problem is that what is "somewhat blatant in real time" is now going to be a topic of debate, just as whether to throw the flag at all was previously. The complaints will change from "how is there no flag there" to "how is there no review there."

To take the Cooks SB example, if the refs didn't stop to review that all we'd be hearing after the game was about how the fix was in for the Pats and/or how the replay official was incompetent for not stopping to review it.
Yeah, I could see this, if the Cooks play happened inside 2 minutes and there was no review the Rams would probably be upset.
 

tims4wins

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How can a coach lose a challenge on a clear-but-not egregious PI call?

What would the explanation be from the refs? It's clearly PI... but the receiver still had somewhat of a chance to catch the ball. Ruling on the field stands!

And another favorite: receiver was illegally contacted before the ball was in the air. This is not DPI. Ruling on the field stands!
Why can't it still be a judgment call, just with the assistance of replay? The entire goal here is to eliminate obvious, blatant mistakes. If the ref takes a look and judges it to be PI, they throw a flag; if he judges it not to be PI, he doesn't. Just because they are using replay doesn't mean they have to go frame by frame, or by the letter of the rulebook, IMO.

I can't believe I am defending the NFL so much on this, but I just feel like these issues are being overblown and will sort themselves out, like @nattysez articulated a few posts up.
 

OurF'ingCity

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My expectation is that they are not going change PI calls unless they are absolutely egregious (which is more or less what they've already said). After the first few times coaches lose a challenge on a clear-but-not-egregious PI call (which will cause people to go crazy), they'll stop using them for PI except in the most ridiculous situations. That'll probably happen during the preseason.

They're never going to call PI during Hail Mary scrums.
I think this way too optimistic for three reasons. One, it is entirely in the eye of the beholder as to what "absolutely egregious" PI looks like - especially when slowed down to instant-replay speed, where small body movements will look way more blatant than they did in real time.

Two, the league already said the Cooks SB pass right before the interception would have been overturned had it been challenged. That seems pretty far from "absolutely egregious" to me (but I suppose Rams fans might disagree, which goes back to my first point).

Three, your suggestion about how coaches/the NFL will react when there is a public outcry goes against recent history. I suspect that if a coach lost a challenge on a "clear-but-not-egregious" PI call, the league would tell the refs to start looking at the replays even closer to avoid similar situations in the future.
 

DavidTai

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I remember Belichick yelling because KC's last TD in the AFC Championship game was off an uncalled pick play that should've been offensive interference. We might never have gotten that OT proposal if that had been called.
 

mostman

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I personally think the challenging team should have to brief the challenged call/no-call of PI for the officials. Give them 10 minutes to write it. The non-challenging team will be given 10 minutes to file a response brief. Finally, a 5 minute reply brief from the challenging team.
We have better technology now - we should just do a live Twitter poll. I mean, everything in our power right? What better way to get the right answer than the wisdom of crowds. #absolutelyDPI
 

BaseballJones

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I remember Belichick yelling because KC's last TD in the AFC Championship game was off an uncalled pick play that should've been offensive interference. We might never have gotten that OT proposal if that had been called.
That was a potentially game and season altering no call on what was a blatantly illegal (by several yards) pick. Why should PI be reviewable but not something like that?