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The NFL Is Expected To Move On From Reviewing Pass Interference After One Season

The NFL intended to clean up its pass interference rules by allowing officials to review those calls during the 2019 season, but opening up pass interference to instant replay and coaches’ challenges ended up doing the opposite. The league’s Competition Committee officially decided to move on from the rule this week, assuredly ending an experiment that will not soon be forgotten.

As Mark Maske reported at the Washington Post after the completion of the regular season, “there were 101 interference-related replay reviews during the regular season, and 24 of them resulted in the on-field call being reversed.” Just three of those reversals came on plays in which interference was not already called. The vast majority came on plays in which there was no interference called and officials went back to call the penalty.

The rule was put in place following pressure, particularly from the New Orleans Saints, after a non-call in the 2018 NFC Championship Game turned the tide of the game toward the L.A. Rams. However, many around the league this past season complained about the lack of clarity regarding the rules and referees’ apparent lack of willingness to change their own calls.

Though the NFL is moving on from reviewing pass interference, the issue has taken on heightened focus over the past 18 months, meaning there is still reason to believe referees could learn their lesson and straighten out a stricter ruling on those calls.