Considering the way the Pittsburgh Steelers game went against the New Orleans Saints in Week 16 last season, a revision to the rules surrounding pass-interference that allows a team to challenge the call via instant replay in 2019 might be one of the more intriguing rules changes of the offseason.
When the amendment was initially announced back in March, the league unveiled a one-year trial proposal that would permit coaches to challenge any pass-interference penalty that occurred before the final two minutes of a half, regardless of whether it was called on the field or not. As with all other penalties, calls in the final two minutes of each half would remain subject to a booth review.
As of the Wednesday after a vote at the owners Spring League Meeting in Florida, this rule has been amended once again, with all pass-interference calls now set to be a coaches decision, even in the final two minutes of a half.
Owners voted 31-1 to give the Competition Committee the authority to revise replay rules governing pass interference calls/no calls. No more automatic reviews inside 2 minutes of each half and OT. It will be a coaches challenge system throughout the game.— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) May 22, 2019
The NFL is sure to have many reasons for this slight alteration, but it would seem the most obvious objective is to limited the number of plays challenged under the new rules. The end of each half will now not be littered will pass-interference reviews either.
And if the prospect of trying to determine what actually constitutes pass-interference was not going to challenging enough, it appears that the league also intends trying to define a Hail Mary is as well. Planning to exempt the play from being challengeable under the new pass-interference rules, the NFL first needs to work out what makes a deep throw a Hail Mary, rather than just any other long pass.
And if NFL changes PI challenge rule, one issue is how they exempt Hail Marys from challenge -- league does not want every Hail Mary challenged. Members of committee indicated they will likely have to define what a Hail Mary is and include that in the rule.— Judy Battista (@judybattista) May 22, 2019
Given the league’s success at determining what continues a catch, it can only be assumed that they will have similar trouble defining a Hail Mary.