Extra Innings: Challenging penalties is the wrong call for NFL

first_imgIt’s unfair. The call clearly was pass interference — anyone with common sense can see that. It is just unfortunate that in that moment, the officiating crew lacked common sense. However, slowing the game down and staring at negligible details for a couple minutes often cause officials to second guess themselves in these grey zone areas. They were trained for years to make the right call on the field. Some things should not be reviewed and especially should not be challenged by coaches. There are bullet points that  help define this rule in Section 5 Article 2 of the NFL Rulebook, but that will never be enough to eliminate the gray area left by the imperfect rules. I expect to see some long reviews on pass interference calls. I expect to see Pereira attempt to define the ambiguous grey zone. And I expect to see tweets from furious fans about a play standing or being overturned. As a result, all 32 NFL head coaches voted unanimously to extend the replay rule to allow for pass interference calls to be challenged by coaches and reviewed in New York in the last two minutes of each half. The horrific image of Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman obliterating New Orleans Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis in the 2018 NFC Championship game may never leave Saints fans’ minds. However, a new rule that will be implemented in the 2019 season may prevent fans from ever having to go through that emotional distress again. This is a big step for the NFL, which hasn’t allowed coaches to challenge penalties in the past. It will surely allow the NFL to make better calls in some instances. However, the negative ramifications of the newly implemented rule far outweigh its benefits. Take the catch rule, for example. Each year, the NFL tries to redefine what is considered a “catch.” The player must make a football move, secure control and clear possession. The same goes for pass interference calls. The 2018 NFL rulebook defines pass interference as “any act by a player more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage [that] significantly hinders an eligible player’s opportunity to catch the ball.” The thought of hearing these words come out of Mike Pereira’s mouth on Sunday makes me uneasy. There is no definite answer. It is not his fault; there is virtually no way to eliminate the massive gray zone in the catch rules. center_img Sam Arslanian is a sophomore writing about sports. His column, “Extra Innings,” runs Fridays. Undoubtedly, the implementation of this rule will benefit the NFL. It releases the handcuffs that have prevented officials from reviewing penalty calls. Referees are humans, and humans make mistakes, especially in fast-paced environments where they must make snap decisions. It is sensible to think that with the technology available today, officials should have the opportunity to make the correct call through review. Die-hard Saints fans protested the NFL and called out Commissioner Roger Goodell. Two season-ticket holders from “Who-Dat Nation” even filed a lawsuit against the NFL. I would be open to a rule that states NFL coaches can’t challenge penalties, but officials are allowed to review plays for penalties, if they think a call was botched or even New York-initiated reviews. Allowing coaches to challenge calls adds a whole different dimension to the plays that are reviewed. It introduces more plays that can essentially be decided by the flip of a coin. Because of this, replay reviews on potential receptions were some of the NFL’s most controversial plays in recent memory. The missed pass interference call is now known as one of the biggest botched calls in NFL history, right up there with former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson’s “dropped” touchdown reception, which was actually a catch. This play cost the Saints a Super Bowl appearance, and fans will never forget that. A similar argument can be made for balls and strikes in baseball. The umpire calls it on the field, and that’s the way it is. Sometimes, calls are missed. No umpire will ever say they make 100 percent of their calls correctly. Introducing reviews for balls and strikes would be detrimental to the game. Granted, the right call would most likely be made when reviewed — every aspect of a sport cannot be perfect.last_img

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