NFL confirms new pass interference replay rule, but for 2019 only

Pass interference is already seemingly flagged inconsistently — and now it will fall under replay review.

On Thursday, the NFL announced on its league operations Twitter page that its competition committee “unanimously recommended” the new rule for instant replay of pass interference but stressed that it will be for 2019 only.

In a short text video that was part of the tweet, the language of the rule was explained:

“The replay official will stop the game after the two-minute warning of each half and during OT; when there is ‘clear and obvious visual evidence’ that a pass interference foul may or may not have occurred, based on viewing the play live or any initial replays.

“A stoppage will occur under stricter criteria than for other reviewable plays to prevent excessive game stoppages.

“A decision on the field will only be reversed: Based on ‘clear and obvious visual evidence’ that the ruling was incorrect, the same standard for all reviews. This is wholly dependent on video angles shown by broadcast networks.

“By rule, pass interference requires: An act that ‘significantly hinders’ an opponent’s opportunity to make a play on the ball. All passing plays will be subject to review for pass interference.

“The ‘Hail Mary’ play will be reviewed in replay consistent with the guidelines for officiating the play on the field.”

The rule change to allow PI to be reviewable was, of course, pushed for by the New Orleans Saints after what happened in the NFC championship game in January. Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman committed what appeared to have been obvious defensive pass interference on receiver Tommylee Lewis, but there was no flag.

Team owner Gayle Benson openly lobbied for the change, and was pleased when it was first approved in March.

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Pass interference non-call during NFC Championship game
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Pass interference non-call during NFC Championship game
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: Tommylee Lewis #11 of the New Orleans Saints drops a pass broken up by Nickell Robey-Coleman #23 of the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2019, file photo, Los Angeles Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) breaks up a pass intended for New Orleans Saints' Tommylee Lewis during the second half of the NFL football NFC championship game in New Orleans. The blatant non-call late in the NFC championship game caused passionate consternation among Saints fans and led to calls for change in the NFL’s replay system. But there is not a lot of support for such a change because of the time it would add to games. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2019, file photo, Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) defends against New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (11) during the second half the NFL football NFC championship game, in New Orleans. Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell watched the NFL’s conference championship games on his phone while flying home from South Africa last weekend. Campbell was stunned officials chose not to penalize Robey-Coleman for flattening Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis before the ball arrived.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
FILE-In this Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019 file photo, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (11) works for a catch against Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) during the second half the NFL football NFC championship game, in New Orleans. The Rams won 26-23. New Orleans Saints fans have found some pretty creative ways to express their displeasure over the infamous “no call” during last weekend’s Saints-Rams championship game. But their newest tactic may make the loudest statement - a Super Bowl boycott. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
El wide receiver de los Saints de Nueva Orleáns Tommylee Lewis (11) intenta una atrapada ante la defensa del del back defensivo de los Rams de Los Angeles Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) en la segunda mitad del partido de campeonato de la Conferencia Nacional de la NFL l domingo, 20 de enero del 2019. (AP Foto/Gerald Herbert)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints reacts after a no-call between Tommylee Lewis #11 of the New Orleans Saints and Nickell Robey-Coleman #23 of the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints reacts after a no-call between Tommylee Lewis #11 of the New Orleans Saints and Nickell Robey-Coleman #23 of the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: A referee watches as Tommylee Lewis #11 of the New Orleans Saints drops a pass broken up by Nickell Robey-Coleman #23 of the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: A referee watches as Tommylee Lewis #11 of the New Orleans Saints drops a pass broken up by Nickell Robey-Coleman #23 of the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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