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NFL Owners Vote for Expansion of Replay on Pass Interference

In a nearly unanimous 31-1 vote, NFL Owners opted Tuesday to expand the list of reviewable plays with Instant Replay to include offensive and defensive pass interference, whether a foul is called or not called.

Coaches will be able to challenge calls prior to the final two minutes of each half. Challenges thereafter will be prompted by replay officials under the established protocol.

The NFL announced the decision and other changes after closed-door discussions during the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

The change will be put in place for one year, and automatic replay will be expanded to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, as well as any extra point kick or 2-point conversion attempts.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay and NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent spoke to members of the media about the changes to rules, bylaws and resolutions that were adopted.

The expansion of replay is strongly rooted in a no-call of defensive pass interference by the Rams against the Saints late in the NFC Championship Game in January.

"We asked the NFL to show us from an analytical standpoint, 'What are the most impactful plays?' They came up with two really good charts," McKay said. "One was the 50 most impactful incorrect calls, so these were calls that were determined by New York to be incorrect and yet had the biggest impact on games.

"Fifty percent of those were defensive pass interference — not surprising, right? It's a spot foul, so it's a very impactful foul if not correct," McKay added. "Then, the non-calls, there are a bunch of them that are impactful, none of which stand out, but offensive pass interference is the highest, so we felt like this was the place to start."

According to Section 2, Article 5, reviewable plays include the following:

(a) Plays involving possession.

(b) Plays involving touching of either the ball or the ground.

(c) Plays governed by the goal line.

(d) Plays governed by the boundary lines.

(e) Plays governed by the line of scrimmage.

(f) Plays governed by the line to gain.

(g) Number of players on the field at the snap, even when a foul is not called.

(h) Game administration:

  1. Penalty enforcement.
  2. Proper down.
  3. Spot of a foul.
  4. Status of the game clock.

(i) Disqualification of a player.

(j) Pass interference, called or not called (offensive or defensive).

Additionally changes approved by Owners included the following:

Banning blindside blocks (particularly a problem on punts and immediately after turnovers);

Making permanent the kickoff rule changes that were implemented in 2018;

Allowing teams to choose between enforcing a personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the succeeding try (extra point kick or 2-point conversion) or on the ensuing kickoff.