Rules are made to be broken and in the case of the NFL committee they are made to be changed as well.
The game of football has changed dramatically over the years with all the new safety rules, which is understandable with concussions that several players suffered leading to long term brain damage.
But it’s one thing to change a rule for ones safety and it’s another to change it to simply appease an angry mob.
The referee debacle in New Orleans caused this panic, and a simple punishment of a referee crew was not going to be enough for the New Orlean Saints organization to get justice for the egregious non call that cost them a Super Bowl birth.
NFL owners meeting has concluded at the Biltmore in Phoenix Arizona and a major change to the game has certainly opened up pandoras box to all sorts of potential rule changes in the near future.
The pass interference rule which will probably be re-named “the Nickell Robey-Coleman rule” has changed to where teams can challenge wether or not the flag for interference should have been thrown on offense and defense via instant replay.
This will certainly cause the game to look different on the field in terms of the flow of a game, with more stoppage highly likely to be added to an already long three hour game.
This rule opens up not only troubles in the flow of the game but it also give coaches more ways to use the rule to gain a competitive advantage.
For example: the last two minutes of the half and the game will be longer than ever before, because coaches will call deep ball plays back to back knowing that pass interference can certainly almost be call on every play. So essentially depending on play calling every play after two minute warning could possibly stop play for review.
Thus making this strategy an advantage as a team throws a 60 yard bomb to gain field position and pick up cheap yardage via penalty and change the outcome of a game instantly.
When the tape gets slowed down we as the audience will see both receiver and defender hand guard each other and push each other while running down the field, which in the past was allowed at last two minutes as referees would swallow their whistles and allow contact.
Are we really going to reverse these calls when we see both guys guilty of the violation, and will we have to replay downs over and over because contact by both players were before a whistle was blown and happened simultaneously .
This quick change was not completely thought out in my opinion, if you make instant replay for pass interference calls, then the benefits of pass interference needs to change as well. The penalty should only be a 15 yard penalty, rather than give a team an advantage gaining deep yardage because a call that can go either way gets slowed down and usually the benefit of the doubt is always given to the offensive player.
The one play that will really end up on a microscope is the Hailmary play.
A play where several guys from both teams are pushing and shoving to gain position to get their hands on the ball.
Who do you call the penalty on when there are more than two guys involved, now it’s another long session of instant replay to determine who pushed and initiated contact on the way down field and in the end zone.
That’s not the end of it, get ready for the future changes of holding calls being reviewed as well, especially if one causes a team to lose another big meaningful game.
Not to mention the potential review of false starts, when both teams are pointing at each other and the referees have to make a judgment call as to who moved first. Sometimes referees get these calls wrong as well along with taunting calls as they don’t often see the first guy cause the second guy to react. Will all that be eligible for review at some point?
My point here is the entire game will be reviewable and the game will become a slow motion movie that last five hours, and coaches believe they are happy with it until their team loses because of this ridiculous overreaction to one play last year.
Good luck with this one Rodger Goodell.
If you had come out immediately after the incident went down in New Orleans and delegated some form of demotion for the referee crew, that would have made it clear they were the problem and not the rule itself.
I think a referee crew demotion would have been punishment enough for their huge mistake and any other crew sure wouldn’t want that consequence, that would have fixed the issue instantly. Instead, you allow angry owners and coaches to make a significant change to the game making it nearly impossible to play, let alone to watch.