Upon further review, should pass interference be reviewable?

Upon further review, should pass interference be reviewable?
February 8, 2014, 10:30 am
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Upon further review, should the NFL take a closer look at pass interference penalties?

Carolina coach Ron Rivera is among those who think they should. Rivera said on a radio show earlier this week that the NFL should strongly consider instant replay on pass interference calls.

Rivera said that throughout the league, coaches talk about "the consistency with what pass interference is. I think on both sides, on offense and defense, I think that is the hard one.  That is the one that we need to make sure we can get fixed because too many people talk about it. Every week somebody has something to say about it, good or bad," Rivera said on the Dan Patrick Show.

"On one side of it, it's such a huge play, it can impact a game," he continued. "I mean, a guy can throw the ball from the 50-yard line into the end zone and now it's a judgment call, now that ball goes from being on the 50 to being on the 1-yard line. That to me is a huge impact. ...

"Maybe you need to look at it any time the ball is thrown into the end zone, because I mean a 49-yard swing ... I think there are some things that really have to be considered."

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Rivera sits on the coaches subcommittee of the Competition Committee, which serves as Step 1 toward implementing any rules changes. So he certainly has more clout than the average Monday morning quarterback. But it would be a sea change to see the league move toward reviewing pass interference calls, which are nonreviewable as a judgment call by an official.

Still, he has a point. With pass interference being a spot-of-foul penalty (as opposed to 15 yards as in the college game), pass interference can be a team's biggest offensive weapon. A blown pass interference call -- and there were certainly plenty of them this year -- can tip the scales in a close game.

But review every deep ball? The games might last six hours. Review every pass in the end zone? Does that include the 4-yard fade? Again, no one wants the referee running under the hood 23 times a game or on four straight plays.

Maybe, though, pass interference could fall under the purview of a call that can be challenged. That way there wouldn't be an automatic review, but if a coach feels his team was wronged on what amounts to a 50-yard play, he has recourse to change it.

Regardless, Rivera is right: It might be time for the competition committee to collectively gather under the hood and review the pass interference call.