ALL NEWS

NFL 2019: Pass interference reviews main topic in season 100

Aug 31, 2019, 9:47 AM
FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2019, file photo, Los Angeles Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman breaks up a pass ...
FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2019, file photo, Los Angeles Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman breaks up a pass intended for New Orleans Saints' Tommylee Lewis during the second half of the NFL football NFC championship game in New Orleans. The NFL would love the main focus of 2019 to be on the celebrations of its 100th season. While the history of the league is a widespread and fun topic, what happened last January in the NFC championship game has guaranteed the spotlight will be shining on officiating and replays. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

The NFL would love the main focus of 2019 to be on the celebrations of its 100th season.

Sorry.

While the history of the league is a widespread and fun topic, what happened last January in the NFC championship game has guaranteed the spotlight will be shining on officiating and replays.

After an egregious missed penalty (or two) that basically kept the Saints from making the Super Bowl and helped the Rams get there instead, there was little chance attention could be diverted from the guys with the whistles and their impact on games. Commissioner Roger Goodell, the league’s powerful competition committee and a vast majority of the owners recognized this — and did something about it.

Coaches can now challenge pass interference calls and non-calls as part of the replay review system. Just as with other in-game instances, the replay booth will initiate any reviews in the final two minutes of both halves and for an entire overtime.

As former NFL defensive back Adam Archuleta, now a CBS game analyst, notes: “They have opened a huge can of worms.”

Sure, the Browns’ upgrades — some people envision Cleveland (yes, Cleveland) as a Super Bowl contender — provide a ripe subject. So do the head coaching changes, including Bruce Arians returning to the sideline one year after retiring.

There are the aged quarterbacks, from 42-year-old Tom Brady to 40-year-old Drew Brees to late-thirtysomethings Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. And the fledging QBs such as Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray.

Don’t forget those big stars in new places: Le’Veon Bell, Odell Beckham Jr., Earl Thomas and Antonio Brown.

And let’s ignore Brown’s helmet complaints and frost-bitten digits.

But we all know what will hog the limelight.

Interfering with replay

Gene Steratore spent 13 years as an NFL referee and also was a college basketball official. Now with CBS as an officiating analyst, he knew some sort of change in the review system would emerge from the Rams-Saints debacle.

“Understand first that they were making the call in real time,” Steratore says. “That will remain the standard and base on which calls will be made on all plays. Then we get to replays, which are in slow motion of course, and you are getting a different look (than an official might get in real time).

“Then there is the determination of what is significant contact. Did it impede someone from making a play? Was it incidental? Some of that is adding subjectivity to the process.”

Archuleta, not surprisingly for a former safety, adamantly disagrees with adding anything to the replay system, particularly pass interference penalties.

“It’s not good for the game, which is not meant to be played in slow motion or officiated that way,” he says. “I don’t want them stopping games in critical moments. Pro football is an exciting and emotional sport and stoppages take away from that.”

A realist, Archuleta admits he knew something would happen after the New Orleans debacle. He accepts the coaches’ challenge as the most logical means, but doesn’t have to like it.

The addition of pass interference will change the strategies for using challenges. An early false spotting of the ball, for example, might not see a red flag thrown because a coach realizes a late DPI or OPI call or non-call would be far more impactful. Indeed, there might be fewer overall disruptions by challenges as coaches save them for second-half needs that maybe never arrive.

“Coaches are going to get burned on this, challenge plays that will not be overturned because of judgments, and they will be minus a timeout or a challenge later in the game,” says Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy. “I think it is going to be a mess.”

Can anybody play defense?

With spread offenses overtaking the college game — and college defenses — it was only a matter of time before scoring records fell in the pros. Nothing much is expected to change this season with rules designed to boost points production; players on that side of the ball better prepared for the NFL when they reach it; and fans’ insatiable appetite for shootouts. Fantasy football fanatics can rejoice.

Still, the Super Bowl final score was 13-3, and there are several teams whose defenses successfully can determine their fate. The Rams, Chargers, Ravens, Bears, Cowboys and Bills could fall into that category.

Chicago, which led the league with 27 interceptions in ’18, believes the Monsters of the Midway have been reborn. The Bears are primed to prove it.

“Takeaways on the field and the practice field correlate to takeaways on the field in the game as well,” star edge rusher Khalil Mack says. “You know what I mean? So it goes hand in hand. When you work on taking away the ball in practice, naturally it happens in the game.”

Old QBs, Kid QBs

Brady and Brees and Roethlisberger and Rivers and Manning equal 194 years of age, 87 seasons in the NFL. Each of them remains the starter, though Manning’s hold on the Giants’ job is tenuous.

It’s fair to think that, except for Manning, seeing any of those four oldies but goodies in the Super Bowl next February — particularly Brady, who is going for an unprecedented seventh Lombardi Trophy — would be no shock.

“I’m ready to go this year and that’s really what matters. That’s where my focus is,” Brady says. “It’s a unique situation I’m in. I’m in my 20th year with the same team. I’m 42 years old, so pretty much uncharted territory I think for everybody. I’m going to go out there and do the best I can this year and see what happens.”

At the other end of the maturity chart are the youngsters. We’ve already seen one prodigy, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, mesmerize the league and win MVP honors in his second year, first as a starter. Now the spotlight could be taken by Cleveland’s Mayfield or the Jets’ Darnold or the Ravens’ Jackson , pro sophomores whose team’s ascensions depend largely on their further progress.

Changes on the sideline

Eight clubs jumped on the coaching carousel, including one head man swapping teams as Adam Gase went from the Dolphins to the Jets. Also new on the job are Brian Flores (Miami), Zac Taylor (Cincinnati), Freddie Kitchens (Cleveland), Vic Fangio (Denver), Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona), Matt LaFleur (Green Bay) and Arians (Tampa Bay).

Most intriguing might be the new boss with the Bucs, a proven QB guru who tries to mold Jameis Winston into a winner in a prove-it year for the 2015 top overall draftee.

“I’m going to work regardless, but it’s always a plus when your head coach believes in you,” Winston says of the 66-year-old Arians. “Every coach brings something different. I’m just really excited to get to work with them.”

Changes on the field

New faces in new places figure to have a major impact, and if those effects are positive, their teams could be playoff bound.

Bell would seem the perfect guy to bring in to help Darnold make the next big step. Following a year off in a holdout, Bell will be driven to prove he’s worth the money the Jets paid and the Steelers would not. At his best, there’s no better all-around running back in football.

When healthy and at his best, Thomas finds the right spot to be in — and gets his defensive teammates in those positions, too. There are few stronger leaders in the game, and he also has extra motivation after the way things deteriorated in Seattle.

Beckham is a magnificent talent with baggage and a fragile psyche. If he is the playmaker and not the pouter, the Browns have a prize.

As for Brown, well, the numbers he’s produced for nearly a decade can’t be ignored. Unfortunately, neither can the drama he has brought from the Steelers to the Raiders.

But it does keep us watching, doesn’t it?

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Carrier at USPS mail truck, USPS is holding a job fair...
Mark Jones

Authorities looking for suspect who allegedly robbed post office employee

Authorities are searching for an individual who allegedly robbed an post office employee on Tuesday.
23 hours ago
Changes could be coming to all elementary schools in the Salt Lake City School District....
Mark Jones

Possible changes to schools could be coming in Salt Lake City School District

Changes could be coming to all elementary schools in the Salt Lake City School District.
23 hours ago
A 31-year-old man was taken into custody Wednesday in connection to a bank robbery earlier in the d...
Mark Jones

Bank robbery suspect taken into custody by Salt Lake City police

A 31-year-old man was taken into custody Wednesday in connection to a bank robbery earlier in the day.
23 hours ago
Utah 2022 legislative session...
Lindsay Aerts

Count My Vote threatens ballot initiative to protect signature path to primary ballot if new bill passes

SALT LAKE CITY — A new war is brewing over signature gathering.  The citizens initiative group that ushered in Utah’s decade-old compromise creating a dual path for candidates to get on the primary election ballot — which includes signature gathering, the caucus convention system or both — is threatening to launch a statewide ballot initiative […]
23 hours ago
Brigham City Police need help in locating a missing  14-year-old endangered boy....
Waverly Golden

Brigham City Police locate missing teenager

Brigham City Police need help in locating a missing  14-year-old endangered boy. 
23 hours ago
wallet...
Elizabeth Weiler

Utahns found wallet in a wall from 1970, looking to reunite with owner

After a local restoration company was called to remediate an emergency, they began tearing down walls, leading to a wallet found in the insulation. 
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

This article about skijoring is sponsored by the Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. Participate in Skijoring the Bear on February 20th, 2023.  What is skijoring? Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and […]
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
NFL 2019: Pass interference reviews main topic in season 100