Competition committee: Results of pass interference review rule 'not great'

INDIANAPOLIS -- NFL competition committee members remain skeptical of pass interference review. But after two days of meetings at the scouting combine, they are not yet ready to recommend an end to the one-year experimental rule.

"Overall the results were not great," Green Bay Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy said Monday. "And I think it really is putting the New York [officiating] office in a very difficult position. ... But it's still pretty early [and] we're looking at different options."

Committee members left last year's combine largely opposed to calls for replay expansion, despite a high-profile missed call in the 2019 NFC Championship Game. Ultimately, however, commissioner Roger Goodell joined a vocal group of coaches to push for a rule that no one on the competition committee initially endorsed: allowing replay review of pass interference calls and no-calls.

The rule left considerable interpretation in the hands of Al Riveron, the league's senior vice president of officiating and the final authority on all reviews. Riveron's standard for overturning PI calls changed several times during the course of the season, and only 24 of 101 reviews were reversed.

"Replay has been the most successful when you're dealing with objective information," Murphy said, "and we added a subjective nature to it. ... The challenge for a lot of coaches was trying to determine what's the standard. The standard was set pretty high. That's subjective. The decision on the field is subjective and then the standard in review is subjective."

But simply scrapping the rule might be a difficult sell after a season in which on-field officials struggled to make correct calls on the field. Removing the safety net could leave as many problems as it solves. Competition committee chairman Rich McKay told reporters Sunday that ultimately the NFL would need to make a "cost-benefit analysis" on that leverage point.

"You have to decide from a cost-benefit analysis standpoint: Is this worth it? Are we getting enough bang for our buck as far as the game goes?" McKay said, according to the Washington Post. "And that's one that the clubs have to answer..."

In the end, the committee might be left to recommend tweaks that can help the officiating office adjudicate pass interference more efficiently.

"I certainly think we can be better if we have it," said Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, a member of the committee. "That's what we're looking at: ... how can we be better to where you feel good about it."

Other relevant points of competition committee business this week include:

• Plans for the committee to discuss the league's two-year drop in onside kick recoveries, a bi-product of changes to the kickoff in 2018. Last year, owners rejected a proposal that would have given teams a chance to convert a fourth-and-15 from their own 35-yard line, rather than kick off. The league experimented in the Pro Bowl with a similar option, but from the 25-yard line. Murphy said he considers that approach "a little gimmicky." New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, another member of the committee, has suggested a return to previous kickoff rules during the final two minutes of games.

• Adding a sky judge, who would sit in the press box and have the authority to throw flags or reverse penalties, has not been discussed this week, Murphy said.

• Two XFL rule innovations have caught the eyes of committee members. The first is a kicking alignment that has led to 93% of all kickoffs being returned. The second is a no-kick, three-tiered set of options for point-after-touchdown attempts. The point-after options not only make the play "more interesting," Murphy said, but also reduce the possibility of overtime. Neither rule has been discussed as a potential proposal, but members are following their impact in the XFL closely.

ESPN's Todd Archer contributed to this report.