By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The proposed NFL rule changes for 2019 address a number of issues. But the chaotic list of proposals fails to address last season’s biggest controversy.
Anyone expecting the league to amend the rules based on last year’s egregious non-call in the NFC Championship Game will be disappointed. Mostly Saints fans. But anyone wishing to see officials throw obvious flags as a result of replay review may have to wait another year.
According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the competition committee is proposing the opposite. They’re calling for pass interference to become reviewable by instant replay, via one of their proposed rule changes. An alternative proposal adds roughing the passer and hits on defenseless receivers to the list.
The key here is that such plays would only be subject to review if flags are actually thrown. One person familiar with the negotiations tells Maske that most people on the competition committee aren’t yet comfortable “adding flags” after reviewing plays. That’s what many Saints fans may like to see.
Nickell Robey-Coleman’s obvious pass interference on the Saints’ Tommylee Lewis late in the NFC title game amazingly went un-flagged. It was the kind of play that, if the league implemented reviews for non-calls, would’ve been an easy decision to add a flag. And, perhaps, send New Orleans to the Super Bowl instead of Los Angeles.
However, the competition committee seems to feel that’s too slippery of a slope. Especially when Bill Belichick and others have proposed in the past to give coaches the ability to challenge any play throughout the course of the game. The Redskins proposed the same rule change for 2019, according to the full list of proposals at Pro Football Talk.
Other teams have proposed making all personal fouls reviewable, which could add penalties like unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct to the list. Among the teams known to support some sort of rule change regarding penalties and replay are the Redskins, Panthers, Rams, Eagles, and Seahawks.
There’s a lot to sort through for the league, between the competition committee’s multiple proposals and those from individual teams. It may prove too difficult to reach a consensus on a rule change regarding penalties and replay review, considering the wealth of options at the owners’ disposal.
And ultimately, none of these proposed rule changes address the officiating mistake that made the biggest negative impact on a game.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.