That notoriously controversial non-call in the NFC Championship between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Ram has prompted a major rule change in the NFL.Team owners decided Tuesday to allow defensive and offensive pass interference penalties – including non-calls -to be subject to challenge and review.
An exception is in the final two minutes when those issues are subject only to booth review.
Coaches still have two challenge flags.
"I personally believe it was the fact that every club wanted to get, and the league wanted to get these plays right," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at a news conference following the vote. "Replay is to get it right. And ultimately people compromised, I think, on long-held views because they want to get the system right. They want to get the play right."
Published reports say the competition committee voted 8-0 in favor of the rule change and owners approved it with a 31-1 vote. The Cincinnati Bengals were the one vote against the rule, according to the New York Daily News.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said all 32 NFL coaches favored the new replay rule as well in a meeting on Tuesday, according to Kevin Seifert of ESPN.
Earlier in the day, two other big proposed rule changes were considered. One was outright rejected and the other tabled until May, according to the NFL Network.
The owners shot down an onside kick alternative made by the Denver Broncos. The change was “to provide an alternative onside kick that would allow a team who is trailing in the game an opportunity to maintain possession of the ball after scoring," Tom Pelissero reported. The rule change would have allowed teams once per game, only in the fourth quarter, to covert a fourth-and-15 from its 35-yard line instead of trying an onside kick.
Tabled until May was a Kansas City Chiefs rule proposal that would give both teams a possession in overtime.
In the proposed rule change, both teams would get the ball during OT, even if the first team to have the ball scores a touchdown, thus eliminating sudden death. The Chiefs proposal also would eliminate OT during preseason and eliminate the OT coin toss so that winner of the initial coin toss at the start of game would choose whether to kick/receive and which goal to defend.
The Chiefs are expected to amend their proposal, possibly having it only apply in post-season games, an reintroduce it at the league’s meeting in May.
SBR Forum Member Reaction
"If you think this is good just wait till the first hail Mary thats gets reviewed and a team gets 1st and goal at the 1."
"Pretty crazy. Going to make decisions and management of those challenge all the more important. Still only a limited number of challenges. Going to make it a lot more stressful for coaches."
"It will have to be as clearly blatant as the Rams on Saints Pass Interference play, before they even dare call it."