Strief: NFL's New Replay Rule "A Total Disaster"

The NFL's new replay rule could create more problems than it solves

Zach Gelb
July 29, 2019 - 12:36 pm
Drew Brees NFC Championship

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After an officiating error influenced the outcome of the NFC Championship in January, the NFL responded with a rule change. Coaches will be allowed to challenge pass interference calls – or non-calls – up until the two-minute warning of each half. In the final two minutes of the half – or in overtime – on-site replay officials can stop the game to review pass interference calls (or non-calls).

Super Bowl champion and Saints play-by-play announcer Zach Strief isn’t a fan of the new rule.

“I’ll be completely honest: I think the pass interference review rule is going to be a total disaster,” Strief said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I think it’s a snap decision on something that happened. Obviously people feel like there’s going to be a way to do it, but I just can’t envision a scenario in which reviewing what is ultimately a judgment call is going to be good for the league in any way.”

Pass interference, in particular, is an extremely subjective call. The new rule, intended for 2019 only, could create more problems than it solves.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Hey, if we had just been able to review that, nothing would have happened,’” Strief said, referring to the missed call that likely cost the Saints a Super Bowl appearance. “But you also could go back in that game and say, there could have been four pass interference calls changed or reviewed or looked at (toward) the end of that game that change the outcome. Then you’re sitting there just waiting for reviews to decide the outcomes of games.”

Strief, who played for the Saints from 2006-17, wishes the NFL would have explored other options first. For example, the league could have made all officials full-time and instituted better and more in-depth training methods. It also could have introduced a transparent way to grade or judge each official’s performance. 

But relying on instant replay to cover up bad officiating? No thanks.

“Quite honestly, I think it’s a mistake,” Strief said. “I would much rather the league accept that they need to do more to give the officials every resource imaginable to get calls right on the field. But in terms of just instant replay on pass interference, I foresee it becoming a bigger issue than it does save us. . . . I think it’s a set-up for more and more issues. I kind of wish that it hadn’t happened.”

Click below to listen to Strief’s interview in its entirety, including his bold proclamation about the Saints defense.