For the third time in three months, the NFL is getting set to make a change to the league’s new pass interference rule. To add some confusion to the situation, the new change will likely just involve canceling out the last change that was made.
If that sounds confusing, hopefully this will clear things up: The NFL announced on Thursday that a new pass interference rule has tentatively been written after the league spent several days conferring over the rule with head coaches, club personnel and NFL officials.
Under the proposed new rule, coaches will not be allowed to challenge pass interference calls in the final two minutes of a game, which is a huge difference from May, when NFL ownersmade during the final two minutes of a game.
The vote in May was the second time this offseason that owners voted on the new PI rule. The original, when owners voted to expand replay review to cover offensive and defensive pass interference for the first time ever.
Here’s a quick review of the events:
January: NFL hit with controversy after officials Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman during the final minutes of the NFC title game. If the call had been made, the Saints likely would have won the game and advanced to the Super Bowl.on
March: NFL owners respond to the controversy by allowing pass interference to be reviewed for the first time ever. The new rule applies to both offensive and defensive pass interference, and a flag doesn’t have to be thrown on a play for a PI review to take place.
May: The owners vote to make a slight change to the rule by allowing coaches to challenge interference plays in the final two minutes. Previously, league officials handled all replays during the final two minutes of a game.
June: The NFL decides not to let coaches challenge plays in the final two minutes, although they’ll still be able to challenge interference calls during other parts of the game.
Although officials will be allowed to review interference plays in the final two minutes of a half, the league is adding some new wording to the rule. Reviews for interference in the final two minutes will be under “stricter criteria” than other reviewable plays to prevent excessive stoppages.
“A decision on the field will only be reversed when there is ‘clear and obvious visual evidence’ that warrants the change,” the rule states.
Before the updated rule becomes official, the NFL’s 32 teams will will have one week to provide additional feedback to the competition committee before the new rule is finalized. The rule will only be on the books for the 2019 season and could be changed after just one year.
When the new rule is finalized, there will also be some clarity on what to expect when a Hail Mary is thrown. If the rule passes as it was written on Thursday, then Hail Mary plays will be reviewed consistent with the guidelines for officiating the play on the field, which basically means, unless there’s something egregious, pass interference isn’t going to get called.