This is starting to feel like a broken record.
There was a bad pass interference call in a prime-time NFL game.
A coach challenged the call.
The bad call was upheld.
People got mad.
Another controversy on ‘Monday Night Football’
The latest instance happened in Monday’s game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The play in question involved a deep sideline ball from Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph to wideout Johnny Holton on first-and-10 from their own 35-yard line. The ball fell incomplete, and there was a flag on the play.
Officials called offensive pass interference on Holton as he was battling with Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick for the catch.
Clearly not PI
Here’s the play in question. Holton brushed Kirkpatrick’s back with his left hand as both were running down the sideline. He then leapt to catch the ball on its descent, and the two made nominal contact ordinary of any pass play in the NFL.
It was most clearly not a case of pass interference on either side, an assessment that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin agreed with as he threw his red challenge flag.
Call on field upheld
No matter. Whatever extraordinary bar for overturning a pass interference call exists under the new NFL rule, this play did not meet it. The ruling on the field was upheld without explanation from the officiating crew. First and 20, Steelers.
Pittsburgh ended up gaining a first down, but punted when the drive stalled near midfield.
It recalls a case from last week’s Thursday night game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers when officials missed and upheld a no-call upon review of a blatant instance of pass interference against the Eagles.
What’s the point of the rule?
Granted, these aren’t the outrageous cases like last year’s NFC championship game controversy that inspired this rule to begin with.
Nobody wants to see marginal calls overturned. And nobody wants to see coaches incentivized to challenge borderline plays, which appears to be the reasoning for the high replay bar.
But when people see plays that are so clearly called wrong on the field and upheld upon review, they get upset. And reasonably so.
They start to wonder. What exactly is the point of this new pass interference review process to begin with?
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