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2019 Offseason Questions: Will Penalties Be Made Reviewable For 2019?

 The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.

How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Will the league allow penalties called on the field to be reviewable?

We are getting closer and closer to actual rule changes being voted upon. And a good percentage of the rule changes on the docket this season involve the potential for penalties, in some form or fashion, to be made reviewable.

While the league made some big changes in terms of what sort of contact is legal on the field, I think that making penalties reviewable has the potential to be just as significant a change in how the game operates.

I’m sure we can all recall a number of occasions in which we complained about the officiating regarding a bad call being made, that if it were subject to review could have been corrected. There is even a proposal or two on the table that would allow uncalled penalties to be flagged via review, but I think those have a substantially worse chance of passing this year.

According to Mike Florio, the debate over replay can get ‘very interesting’, as there are several teams who are staunch proponents of making changes in this area, but also a number of teams—including influential teams like the Steelers—who are in opposition to making such changed.

I think almost everybody knows by this point where I stand. I’m on board with the changes. I think penalties should be reviewable, and I think the argument that it’s too ‘subjective’ is nonsense because every call is subjective. Whether or not a player caught a pass isn’t less subjective than whether or not a player committed pass interference, as both are defined within the rules.

My educated guess is that one or two of the lighter, more moderate proposals in favor of making penalties reviewable will pass on a one-year basis, one that will be limited to only pass interference and personal foul penalties. That alone would be a great start. It will not be perfect, but it will be better than letting every bad on-field call stand.

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