This time of year isn’t just the beginning of the Underwear Olympics. It’s also the time where really everything starts to get underway. Pro Days will start up, and important decisions will be made in advance of the start of the new league year, both in terms of roster decisions and how the league will be shaped.
Such as by the Competition Committee, whose first meeting is now not far off. Kevin Seifert wrote for ESPN yesterday evening that the committee is weighing a number of topics, including the future of the pass interference replay rule.
“Overall, the results were not great”, admitted Mark Murphy, the Green Bay Packers’ president. As you’ll recall, the league voted last year to allow defensive and offensive pass interference to be challengeable by replay. The booth could also challenge plays and overturn them.
“I think it is really putting the New York office in a very difficult position”, Murphy added, “but it’s still pretty early” in terms of making decisions about whether or not to continue the experiment, which was passed on a one-year trial basis in 2019. “We’re looking at different options”.
The replay rule drew plenty of scorn, largely because there appeared to be many instances throughout the season in which it seemed as though plays that should be obviously overturned as incorrect were upheld upon review. There were a few instances—one against the Pittsburgh Steelers—that were ruled on the field as no flag, only to be flagged upon review.
I personally remain in favor of the expansion of replay, but it becomes more difficult to do so when you see it poorly applied. My priority in all cases is to assure that the correct calls are being made, and that is clearly not what we got from the rule during the 2019 season.
As of now, the committee is weighing all options, whether to scrap the rule, to leave it as it is, or to add further tweaks to it in the hopes of providing greater clarity. The league was somewhat successful in making the catch rule comprehensible, so perhaps there is still some hope yet.
While criticizing the rules and the way the rules are officiated has become as much a part of the fan experience as anything else, it seems, it has to be kept in mind that there will be a period of adjustment, especially for more significant rules.