Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

To anyone who watched Championship Sunday:

What a mess.

Tom Brady is going to another Super Bowl, and the New Orleans Saints were completely hosed over a missed pass interference (PI) call.

It is just another debacle that the NFL is now trying to clean up, after admitting that the no-call should have been a flag.

Their first step: determining whether or not PI should become a reviewable call over the offseason.

It’s a little too late for that isn’t it?

If the PI was called, the Saints would have likely drained the clock and score, giving the Los Angeles Rams little chance of tying the game again. The missed call isn’t the only reason the Saints lost. Drew Brees did throw an interception on the opening drive in overtime, and officials did miss a facemask on Rams quarterback Jared Goff.

If the NFL were to change instant replay protocol, it would likely be as confusing as determining what a “catch” is or what “roughing the passer is.”

Here are a few suggestions to amend the rules:

  • PI should be challengeable, whether the call is made or not.
    • This would apply to both defensive and offensive PI calls. It would likely slow down the pace of the game and make people angry if a review took too long, but if it was more about getting the call right, people would not be as mad.
  • Keep the number of challenges allowed per game at two.
    • If PI does become challengeable, coaches may become more tempted to throw the challenge flag anytime they feel a call is missed. To keep the game moving at a reasonable pace, the current system should be fine.
  • Coaches can challenge a call within two minutes.
    • Under the current rules, a replay review must come from the replay assistant in the booth during the final two minutes of a half, but only if they deem it to be questionable. It doesn’t make sense that a coach can’t be the one to challenge a call in the most crucial time in the game, especially with the low level of trust in officiating these days.

Changing the protocol likely increases the chance that a game will not be determined solely because of a missed or bad call. It would also likely decrease the chances of the NFL being sued by hundreds of angry Saints season ticket holders.

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