NEW ORLEANS (WWL.com) -- NFL owners surprisingly voted Tuesday to make all pass interference calls, offensive and defensive, and non-calls of possible pass interference, reviewable.
Coaches will be able to throw challenge flags when they think refs blew the call. If there are two minutes or less remaining in the half, the booth would have to initiate the review.
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton lobbied for the rule change after the officiating crew in the NFC Championship Game failed to call defensive pass interference on Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman in the closing minuts of the second half. An automatic first down for the Saints at that point would have allowed them to bleed enough time off the clock to kick a game-winning field goal.
The NFL also acknowledged missing a helmet-to-helmet personal foul on Robey-Coleman.
Chances for a rule change based on the blown call initially seemed slim, but the competition committee, of which Payton is a member, strongly endorsed it. It ended up passing by a vote of 31-1.
By Chris Miller