Sea change: NFL pass interference and no-calls now reviewable

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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 20: A referee watches as Tommylee Lewis #11 of the New Orleans Saints drops a pass broken up by Nickell Robey-Coleman #23 of the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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The no-call that cost the Saints dearly in the NFC championship game, is now reviewable, at least for one year.

Tuesday night, NFL owners by a vote of 31-1, approved for one year, a proposal that allows coaches to challenge pass-interference penalties, including ones that go uncalled on the field.

The Cincinnati Bengals were the only NFL team to vote against the rule change. 24 owners needed to approve the change for the rule to go into effect.

The rule change was prompted by the missed pass-interference call in the Rams-Saints game, one that cost the Saints a chance to score the winning points inside the final two minutes in regulation. If pass interference would have been called on Nickell Robey-Coleman, who interfered with Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis, the Saints could have run down the clock and kicked the winning field goal.

In the final two minutes of each half, the replay assistant can initiate reviews of called and un-called pass interference penalties.

Saints head coach Sean Payton, who led the push for the change, applauded.

“Certainly the fans won, in that those guys (NFL), are working hard at the right decision,” Payton told reporters in Arizona Tuesday night.

The new rule will be evaluated after the 2019 season.

 

 

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