Rule change makes interference calls reviewable

The NFL Owners Meeting wrapped up a day early, but it didn't happen until after a long day that ended with a vote on a rule that gained a lot of momentum from coaches since the end of the 2018 season.

Owners passed a rule that will make all offensive and defensive pass interference calls, and non-calls, subject to coaches' challenge. In the last two minutes of each half the reviews have to be initiated by a booth review.

The push to make the change came on heels of what happened in the 2018 NFC Championship Game, where a non-call had an impact on the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl hopes.

After the vote, Saints Coach Sean Payton said it wasn't just that game, but also referred to the Week 16 game against the Steelers where the Saints benefited from a questionable pass interference call against Joe Haden vs. Alvin Kamara. On fourth-and-one, Haden was called for pass interference, a 33-yard penalty that set up a touchdown, and the Saints went on to win, 31-28. The loss hurt the Steelers playoff chances.

Steelers President Art Rooney II said that the change is a one-year move, and that although the team was against expanding replay that it was a good compromise.

"I think it went pretty good," said Rooney. "We wound up passing a replay rule that I think is pretty narrow. It's in for one year and we will see how it goes.

"I think there was probably more interest this year in probably doing something with replay than I have seen I a few years. I think it had to do with some of the plays we saw in the playoffs. I kind of thought we could see some change in replay this year. From our perspective we are not that interested in having a lot of expansion in reply, so it represented a compromise.

"I think the number one thing in terms of getting the votes was that we got to the point where the Competition Committee was 8-0 in favor of something, which we apparently didn't have that prior to this afternoon, so I think that was the main thing and as I say the fact that it is a relatively narrow change. I think that helped a lot too."

Rooney also weighed in on several other topics at the end of the meeting, including the idea of adding an eighth official, one who could be a 'sky judge' who would be in the booth, overtime and the movie 'A Lifetime of Sundays,' that features his mother, Patricia Rooney.

On what happened with the sky judge:
"I think that there is just a lot more to that than just saying let's add a sky judge. I think it brings up questions such as what happens to New York, is New York still in the replay system or not, so I think there is a lot to it that is really more complicated than I think we were prepared to deal with at this meeting."

On if it is still a conversation worth still being open:
"I doubt that it will be pursued this year, but I wouldn't be surprised if it comes back next year."

On if anything was done on overtime:
"No we had a lot of discussion about overtime, and I think the rule that was proposed just had a lot of pieces to it that got more complicated than we could deal with. There were a couple of amendments that were offered at one point that didn't get enough votes, so I think it is still something that is going to be discussed maybe not this year but probably come back next year. I think it was just too many pieces to the proposal that got on the floor today."

On what it was like to watch the film that included his mother and the Steelers:
"The film that they are doing that is going to be released sometime soon was really well done. All for the women who were a part of the film did a great job telling the story, and I think it is a great story that is not told enough in terms of the people who are in the background and supported the league for so many years. I think people will enjoy it once it gets released."

The following is a list of rules that passed during the NFL Owners Meeting.

Playing Rule Proposals that Passed:

1. By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the kickoff rule changes that were implemented during the 2018 season.

2. By Competition Committee; Expands protection to a defenseless player.

3. By Competition Committee; Changes the enforcement of double fouls when there is a change of possession.

4. By Competition Committee; Simplifies the application of scrimmage kick rules for missed field goals.

5. By Competition Committee; Allows teams to elect to enforce on the succeeding try or on the succeeding free kick an opponent's personal or unsportsmanlike conduct foul committed during a touchdown.

6c. Attached - For one year only, expands the reviewable plays in Instant Replay to include pass interference, called or not called on the field. Also expands automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any Try attempt (extra point or two-point conversion).

16. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 15, Section 1, Article 5 to allow League personnel to disqualify for both flagrant football and non-football acts.

Approved 2019 Bylaws Summary:

  1. By Buffalo; to amend Article XVII, Section 17.4 to liberalize the rule for reacquisition of a player assigned via waivers.
  2. By Competition Committee; to amend Article XVII, Section 17.1 to provide clubs with more roster flexibility during training camp.
  3. By Competition Committee; to amend Article XVIII, Section 18.1 to provide teams more effective access to players during the postseason.
  4. By Competition Committee; to amend Article XIV, Section 14.3(B)(8) to make the tie-breaking procedures fairer for the selection meeting.
  5. By Competition Committee; to amend Article XVII, Section 17.1 to provide additional roster spots during the preseason.
  6. By Competition Committee; to amend Article XVII, Section 12.3 to offer more roster flexibility.

Approved 2019 Resolutions Summary

G-1. By Competition Committee; to amend the Anti-Tampering Policy to permit an interested club to contact a Vested Veteran before clubs have been notified of the player's termination via the Player Personnel Notice if (i) the players is not subject to the Waivers System and, (ii) the employer club has publicly announced the player's release.

G-2a. By Competition Committee; for one year only, Clubs will receive the League's post-game responses to officiating inquiries submitted by any club.