Headlines during the dead period from the offseason last year were dominated by Saints fans (and at least one Saints coach) whining about the lack of a pass interference call in Rams-Saints, a game the Rams won, and the NFL rules committee instituting the ability for coaches to challenge pass interference penalties and no-calls in the 2019 season on a trial basis.
The rule change was a bit of a disaster. Whether there was any merit to asking for it or not, officiating crews rarely overturned calls, leading to many wasted challenges. No one appeared closer to understanding pass interference than they were before the change.
So that trial has concluded and it looks like the rule change will not be here to stay, according to Ian Rapoport.
Momentum for the rule change was established in last year’s NFC Championship Game, where Saints fans watched their team blow a 13-0 lead at home, watched as their quarterback threw an interception on the first possession in overtime, and opted to lay 100% of the blame for their team’s choke job on the refs instead of holding anybody on their team accountable.
Drew Brees to throw an interception? Yes +120— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) January 20, 2019
Rams (+3) can now win on a FG after the change of possession.pic.twitter.com/jNyFO6LT17
Now, let’s all watch this play again and pay close attention to Michael Thomas trying to exaggerate a pass interference on John Johnson instead of attempting to play the ball and break up what would be an interception
That’s the look of a wide receiver who caught four passes for 36 receiving yards in the biggest game of his life.
Through a hilarious offseason which featured some Saints fans renting billboards, trying to petition the league to re-play the game, attempting to sue the NFL for “mental anguish & emotional trauma (LOL); distrust of the game (LMAOO); LOSS OF ENJOYMENT OF LIFE (LMFAOOOOOO)” and even getting congressional representatives to try and force Roger Goodell to testify in front of a judiciary committee the NFL threw them a bone in making this rule change the same way a parent gives a crying child a treat just to shut them up.
Saints fans hadn’t whined about the NFL that much since the league justifiably suspended their cheating head coach and defensive coordinator for the Bounty Gate program they ran to win a Super Bowl in 2009.
Oh, I almost forgot — here’s that amazing play which made the city of New Orleans the salt capital of the world thanks to all of the tears:
As I noted above, the pass interference review was destined for failure from the start. Refs didn’t seem to be too pleased with the fact that their calls could be scrutinized even more by replay and seemed to have rebelled against the rule change by almost never overturning the call on the field.
As a leader in the NFL, we need someone new in New York deciding calls. https://t.co/szdHjWhKbR— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) November 17, 2019
Broncos coach Vic Fangio — who has been honest with his opinion of the new PI rule — was asked about the very low rate of PI calls being overturned this season.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 18, 2019
Really interesting answer ... pic.twitter.com/YHGJk1R79u
This terrible idea looks like it will be dying a necessary death as an overwhelming majority of teams look set to shoot the rule change down when the time comes to officially vote.
Last year, the one-year trial for the pass interference review drew an overwhelmingly positive response from team owners, who voted 31-1 to institute it (there isn’t too much risk associated with a one-year trial for a new rule, which contributed to the staggering results).
For the rule change to be kept in place, at least 24 teams will have to vote yes on it in the upcoming league meetings. According to the Washington Post’s Mark Maske, however, that won’t happen:
“Of the 29 teams to respond to a question about whether they would be in favor of making the rule permanent, 21 said no and eight said yes. Three teams did not respond.”
These figures, obtained by the Washington Post, were from an offseason survey conducted by the NFL’s Competition Committee.
As for the Saints, they took their “revenge tour” to the NFL in 2019 and became the first ever 13-3 team to get knocked out in the Wildcard game. It was a second straight year in which the Saints blew it in a playoff game in overtime, and it was their second heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings in three years:
It was no “Minneapolis Miracle” but it still felt pretty damn great pic.twitter.com/cy8OjIZLVJ— Adam Patrick (@Str8_Cash_Homey) January 5, 2020
At the end of the day, this ill-fated rule it will have gone one-and-done like the New Orleans Saints did in the playoffs, which seems like a just ending.