The National Football League (NFL) franchise owners have approved the expansion of their replay review system, which came about due to the pressure caused by a controversial missed call in January during the NFC Championship game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. The call was responsible for changing the outcome of the game.
The pass interference, both defensive and offensive, will now be subject to review from the start of the 2019 NFL season. This will be the first set of penalties added since the league adopted a replay system. Another new development will be that coaches will be able to challenge non-calls on pass interference.
However, coaches will only have two challenges per game, and they can get a third challenge if their first two challenges were proven to be correct. The replay booth on the field will work with the league officiating office in New York and will be responsible for initiating those challenges in the last two minutes of each half.
Controversial Non-Call Leads To Officiating Change
It was no surprise that the motion to implement the change came from the New Orleans Saints. They were on the wrong end of a missed call during NFC Championship Game. The Saints were down by only three points to the Rams in the fourth quarter, 26-23. It was a costly mistake as the Saints could have won the game and made it to the Super Bowl, which is the biggest annual single sports event in the US.
Sean Payton, coach of the Saints and a member of the competition committee was aggressive when he called for a solution on this matter. He issued a challenge to the owners to take action as the consequences of such lapses were costly. Payton stated that missed calls will impact the integrity of the game, especially since the NFL is one of the hot events in sports betting.
During the past three seasons, defensive pass interference has cost teams an average of 15.2 yards per call. These calls comprise 9 percent of all penalties but in terms of yards, they represent 70 percent of penalties and make the largest impact on the win probability statistic. Only 13 have occurred in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.
Saints owner Gayle Benson fully supported her coach’s appeal and they were able to get the desired outcome. Benson noted that while her team was on the receiving end, a missed call on a crucial play could happen to any of the other 31 teams in the NFL, stating that this decision will benefit all NFL teams.