Monday July 6th, 2020 7:54PM

New pass interference reviews lead to lots of confusion

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — When the yellow flag flew for defensive pass interference on Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes in a recent game, coach Mike Zimmer immediately contested the call.

His newfound right to seek a replay, however, went unexercised. The email Zimmer received earlier in the day from the NFL, containing current statistics on the experimental penalty reviews, had already dashed that hope.

"They haven't overturned any, so I said, 'Screw it,'" Zimmer said after Minnesota beat Washington on Oct. 24.

None of the 11 reviews of defensive pass interference calls around the league over the first nine weeks of the season resulted in a reversal, with officials ordered to adhere to a standard of "clear and obvious visual evidence" for any overturns. There were 63 pass interference replay reviews overall, including 26 for offense and 37 for defense and 22 for calls and 41 for non-calls. Only nine resulted in a reversal.

"We are challenging things that we think are plays that are going to be overturned, and we are going to trust the process," Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. "But so far, I've been given the Heisman. I've been stiff-armed. I'm 0 for 27, I think."

Exaggeration aside, Gruden has twice been denied attempts to have non-calls turned into defensive pass interference and twice trying to erase an offensive pass interference penalty. Not even the guidance of former NFL referee Gerry Austin, who worked on three Super Bowl crews and was hired by the Raiders as an officiating adviser, has been able to help Gruden get results from his red flag.

"I never get any popularity points when I say this, especially with the league, but it's an overreaction to one play," said former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira, who's now a rules analyst for Fox Sports.

That play, of course, was the collision Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman made with New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis on an incomplete pass late in the NFC championship game that went uncalled and helped send the Rams to the Super Bowl.

Even Robey-Coleman acknowledged afterward he got away with a foul, and the league's current head of officiating, Al Riveron, told Saints coach Sean Payton afterward the call should have been made. Payton's presence on the NFL competition committee influenced the offseason decision, by a landslide vote from the owners, to put pass interference up for replay review for one year, whether called or not called on the field.

There's long been a hesitance to legislate penalties like this, for fear of making games take longer. The problem so far in the view of coaches, players, analysts and fans has not been a slowdown, though, but an apparently higher standard for pass interference in the review room in New York than on fields around the league.

"I was guilty, too, in my days. You had some play that happened that just seemed totally unfair, and you changed the rule and then the unintended consequences just came flying down the highway," Pereira said. "I think we're seeing that here."

Confusion, as with some of the other recent high-profile officiating issues like the process of a catch and roughing the passer, has been the prevailing theme. Even NBC analyst Tony Dungy, the famously mild-mannered former coach, complained about the situation on Twitter this week while referencing the Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants game on Monday night. He pleaded with the NFL to change the rule.

"You're causing teams to lose timeouts, making your officiating department look inept, and making us fans feel stupid," Dungy said.

Dungy's tweet included a freezeframe of Cowboys cornerback Chudobie Awuzie smothering Giants tight end Evan Engram before the ball arrived during an incompletion near the goal line with the Giants trailing by one score in the fourth quarter. Giants coach Pat Shurmur, who has been largely undeterred in his challenge attempts, threw the red flag for defensive pass interference. He was denied.

Zimmer watched an automatic replay review wipe out a Vikings touchdown pass at Green Bay on Sept. 15 when running back Dalvin Cook was flagged for offensive pass interference, ruled to have been blocking a defender more than a yard down the field before the ball arrived. They were forced to settle for a field goal in that 21-16 defeat.

Last week at Kansas City, Zimmer challenged a non-call during a completion by the Chiefs, when wide receiver Sammy Watkins appeared to be guilty of that same type of offensive pass interference against Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks. The review upheld the non-call.

"We have seen plays that are clearly pass interference, that if they were called on the field, they would be evaluated correctly, but they're not called on the field, and they're not being added in replay, and I think that's where the frustration lies," said Dean Blandino, who like Pereira left his perch as the league's officiating boss to be a rules analyst for Fox Sports.

The NFL declined to make Riveron available for an interview.

"We did the things that we needed to do to preserve the integrity of the game, to safeguard the game in the appropriate ways," said Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who's on the competition committee with Payton.

The red flag has been dropped for pass interference 53 times, giving coaches a 9.4% success rate. That's a whole lot of lost timeouts.

Here's the breakdown, as provided by the NFL:

— Offensive pass interference called on the field: eight coaches challenges with no reversals, and three official-initiated reviews with two reversals.

— Offensive pass interference not called on the field: 12 coaches challenges with one reversal, and three official-initiated reviews with two reversals.

— Defensive pass interference called on the field: 10 coaches challenges with no reversals, and one official-initiated review with no reversals.

— Defensive pass interference not called on the field: 23 coaches challenges with four reversals, and three official-initiated reviews with no reversals.

The future of the rule, only enacted for 2019, is unclear. Unlike the slow-motion replays in high definition on screens around the country, of course, that put the officials on the field under constant scrutiny.

"It's so tough for them, too. There's so many things going on in each single play," Chicago Bears tight end Trey Burton said. "You have to give them a lot of credit for what they're able to do."

___

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
New pass interference reviews lead to lots of confusion
The pass interference problem: New NFL penalty reviews have led to lots of confusion
11:02AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Hong Kong student's death fuels more anger against police
A Hong Kong university student who fell off a parking garage after police fired tear gas during clashes with anti-government protesters died Friday, in a rare fatality in five months of unrest that intensified anger in the Chinese territory
11:01AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Got a weird text? A telecom vendor says it's to blame
If you woke up Thursday to a weird text that seemed totally out of place, you aren't alone
10:52AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Missouri, No. 6 Georgia bring strong defenses into key game
No. 6 Georgia, Missouri bring SEC's top defenses into important game in Eastern Division race
10:15AM ( 51 minutes ago )
Carli Lloyd scores twice, US holds off Sweden 3-2
Carli Lloyd scored twice, Christen Press added a goal and the United States held off Sweden 3-2, giving Vlatko Andonovski a victory in his first match as head coach
10:07AM ( 58 minutes ago )
Ohio State star Chase Young out due to possible NCAA 'issue'
Ohio State star defensive end Chase Young won't play against Maryland because of a possible NCAA 'issue' in 2018
9:45AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
New pass interference reviews have led to a lot of confusion
The pass interference problem: New NFL penalty reviews have led to a lot of confusion
2:29AM ( 8 hours ago )
Rivers' 3 INTs send Chargers to 26-24 loss to Raiders
Philip Rivers had one drive to make up for an up-and-down performance and end his final scheduled trip to the Oakland Coliseum on a winning note
1:14AM ( 9 hours ago )
Hunt's countdown over; Browns back eager to play again
Browns running back Kareem Hunt eager for his first game since completing eight-game NFL suspension for two physical altercations
5:11PM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Domingo won't perform at Tokyo Olympics cultural events
The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee says opera legend Placido Domingo won't perform at pre-Olympics cultural events in Japan next year
2:29AM ( 8 hours ago )
Anonymous book describes volatile, incompetent Trump
A forthcoming book by an anonymous author describes President Donald Trump as volatile, incompetent and unfit to be commander in chief
10:04PM ( 13 hours ago )
White House calls anonymous Trump critic a 'coward'
The White House is objecting to a forthcoming book by an anonymous author who describes President Donald Trump as volatile, incompetent and unfit to be commander in chief
9:31PM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Mexican killings spotlight Mormon history with polygamy
The slaying in Mexico of nine people who belonged to a Mormon offshoot community where some people practice polygamy spotlights the mainstream church's struggle to distance itself from its history with plural marriage
3:04PM ( 20 hours ago )
Woman fired over access to leaked tape of ABC's Amy Robach
A woman with access to a tape of ABC's Amy Robach complaining about her bosses has been let go by CBS News
3:04PM ( 20 hours ago )
Study finds LGBTQ characters hit record high on network TV
A new study by the advocacy group GLAAD says that TV is building on its record of inclusiveness.
11:05AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online TV News
Browns hope for spark from Hunt after 8-game NFL suspension
Browns running back Kareem Hunt expected to play Sunday after completing his eight-game NFL for two physical altercations.
12:29PM ( 22 hours ago )
Hunt eligible to play for Browns after 8-game NFL suspension
Browns running back Kareem Hunt expected to play Sunday after completing his eight-game NFL for two physical altercations.
10:36AM ( 1 day ago )
Lamar Jackson running toward record book
Lamar Jackson is going to juke his way into the record books if he keeps running like this
1:59AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Hong Kong student's death fuels more anger against police
A Hong Kong university student who fell off a parking garage after police fired tear gas during clashes with anti-government protesters died Friday, in a rare fatality in five months of unrest that intensified anger in the Chinese territory
11:01AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Got a weird text? A telecom vendor says it's to blame
If you woke up Thursday to a weird text that seemed totally out of place, you aren't alone
10:52AM ( 14 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump says he may release April Ukraine call
President Donald Trump says he's considering releasing the transcript of an April call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy
10:35AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Marker calls 1898 violence a 'coup,' not a 'race riot'
The state of North Carolina is moving away from using the phrase "race riot" to describe the violent overthrow of the Wilmington government in 1898 and is instead using the word "coup" on the highway historical marker that will commemorate the dark event
10:30AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Comedian says Roger Stone pressed him to lie about contacts
A comedian and former talk show host is telling jurors in the Roger Stone trial that the political operative pressured him into backing up lies he told Congress
10:30AM ( 36 minutes ago )