March 24, 2019

NFL May Make Pass Interference a Replay Challenge: The NFL is considering proposals to add pass interference to a coach's red-flag replay challenges. One proposal just adds interference. Another adds interference, roughing the passer and defenseless hits. A change requires 24 of 32 owners and could happen this week when they meet in Phoenix. Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II told the team's website, "There's more interest in looking at how we make sure that plays are getting corrected than in other years."

posted by rcade to football at 09:26 AM - 7 comments

I am of 2 minds on this. One side of me believes this is something that is long overdue. Non-calls and unjustified calls in all 3 of these areas are far too prevalent. I would suggest that there are at least 2 or 3 per game. That leads to the other side of my thinking. With that many more calls to be reviewed, the games could become interminable. Perhaps taking the coach's challenge out of the picture and installing booth review on all reviewable plays would be better. Have people in the booth looking in real time and stopping play only when a non-call should have been called. If the referee is not 'buzzed', play continues. When a doubtful call is made, again buzz the referee to alert him that the play is being reviewed. Forget about the time-consuming march to the replay monitor; let the booth call it and get on with the game.

One other thing could be added to reviewed plays. Currently all touchdowns are reviewed, and that is good. Near touchdowns should also be looked at without necessity for a challenge. Review is mandatory in one case; fairness would dictate that it should be so in the other.

posted by Howard_T at 01:29 PM on March 24

I think I agree with everything with Howard posted, starting with booth review. I see no reason why the on-field referee has to be the one to do it, and it seems we could move quite a bit faster if someone else (whether in "the booth" or in some central location) could do that.

But regarding the review process, I think they should limit the review to a couple of looks at each camera angle. If the play is so close that it has be be viewed 15 times, frame-by-frame, then whatever call was made on the field is good enough.

And lastly--and not completely related to this discussion--why haven't we put GPS in the ball yet? Surely we have the technology to be able to determine exactly where the ball is on the field at any time. It is ridiculous that we use the chains to measure precisely 10 yards from a spot to determine if a first down was achieved, but the location of both that original spot and the final placement of the ball were established far less precisely by officials trying to decide visually--possibly from several yards away and at oblique angles to the yardage markers--where it should be. I'm imagining some sort of ear piece that beeps when the ball is over the correct position.

posted by bender at 04:01 PM on March 24

why haven't we put GPS in the ball yet

Laser tracking would work much better. When we were doing testing on our systems, the shoulder-fired missiles we used were tracked by lasers. They moved somewhere around Mach 2, and I don't think a football could move that fast. Put the tracker system into the travelling overhead camera pod. As long as the position of the tracking system is precisely known (civilian GPS would not be accurate enough, a positioning system in the stadium using a known point for reference would be necessary), locating the football, or at least the spot where it belongs, then becomes a trigonometry problem.

posted by Howard_T at 08:53 PM on March 24

Just popping in to say that pass interference is reviewable in the CFL, and all replays are conducted by an off-field official, and it's good stuff.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:46 PM on March 24

Laser tracking would work much better...

Fair enough. As long as we agree that this task can be better performed by our robot overlords, I'm not picky about which technology it is. While we're at it, can we project the first down line onto the grass so that people in the stadium can see it, too?

posted by bender at 11:54 PM on March 24

The CFL attempt at implementing PI challenge was horrible. It ruined games. Rarely if ever is there clear cut PI where only 1 participant in a play commits the foul, and the officials catch 99.99% of these.

How far would PI reviews go .. is it only the offensive team that can challenge, or can the defense challenge a called penalty? What if the replay reveals that both players committed illegal contact prior to the ball arriving as it would on probably 75% of pass routes?

posted by cixelsyd at 12:26 PM on March 25

They moved somewhere around Mach 2, and I don't think a football could move that fast.

I'm pretty sure John Madden thought Favre could throw at the speed of light.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:38 PM on March 26

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