McClain On NFL Rule Changes: "I Was Stunned"

For the first time in league history, coaches can challenge calls – and non-calls – for pass interference

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
March 27, 2019 - 8:23 am
Rams Saints Pass Interference NFC Championship

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The NFL approved a massive expansion of the league’s replay-review system Tuesday, as teams will be allowed to challenge calls – and non-calls – for offensive and defensive pass interference.

This is the first time in league history that penalties have been added to the list of approved reviews.

“I was stunned,” Houston Chronicle NFL insider John McClain said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “All week, we’d been hearing there’s no way they will approve a change that has to do with no call on the field. Any change that’s made would only be for calls made on the field.”

Apparently not – in part because coaches got involved.

“Coaches have gotten involved in the past, and they’ll tell the owners, ‘We voted 32-0 for this,’ and the owners will yawn and go, ‘Well, we’re going to do it this way – a different way,’ and coaches will walk out shaking their head,” McClain said. “But Sean Payton, had this been implemented a year ago, he would have gone to the Super Bowl, in all likelihood. He made an impassioned plea. Jason Garrett did, too. 

“So they came up with instant replay,” McClain continued. “No changes in replay. Just the additions of offensive and defensive interference. Coaches still get two challenges per game. If they get both right, they get a third.’

The replay booth will initiate challenges in the final two minutes of each half.

The rule change, of course, came on the heels of an egregious missed pass-interference call in the NFC Championship Game, which helped the Rams advance to the Super Bowl.

“The play where Nickell Robey-Coleman committed that egregious penalty for pass interference, he would have been called,” McClain said. “Roger Goodell and Rich McKay – the Atlanta president who is chairman of the competition committee – both admitted they wanted to get it right, and what happened in the Rams/Saints game is what kickstarted it.”