Mid-air contact that might lead to PI, like this 2010 collision, could be reviewable soon.One of the most common complaints about officiating at any level of football is about the inconsistency of pass interference calls, but the CFL is looking to change that. The league's rules committee is set to meet Thursday to discuss rule changes for the 2014 season, and among the proposals they'll be voting on is one that would see coaches be able to challenge both called and non-called pass interference penalties under certain conditions, prompting a video review from the league's command centre. The inconsistency of pass interference calls and non-calls have long been questioned and complained about by players, coaches and fans of football at all levels, but this is one of the first attempts to actually change how the penalty is assessed. As noted in the league's release about the proposed new rules, this would make the CFL the first football league to make pass interference reviewable:
Under a proposal to be voted on Thursday evening by the league’s Rules Committee, coaches would be allowed to challenge both called and potential defensive pass interference fouls under certain conditions.
If it passes, the CFL could become the first football league to subject pass interference to video review.
“This is more than innovative. In the world of officiating, for all sports, it’s revolutionary,” said Glenn Johnson, the CFL’s Vice-President of Officiating.
“Leagues have been reluctant to subject ‘judgment calls’ to video review, and pass interference in football is the ultimate ‘judgment call”, because it involves so many subjective elements. It will be interesting to see if the Committee approves it, and whether our Board of Governors, which is our ultimate authority on rules, also ratifies it.”
Under the proposal, a team would be able use any and all of its Coaches’ Challenges to challenge a called or potential pass interference foul up to the final three minutes of a game. In the final three minutes of a game, and overtime, a team could only challenge such a call or non-call one time, and only if it still has an unused challenge and a timeout remaining.
While some will undoubtedly question making judgement calls reviewable, there's potential in this plan because pass interference isn't completely subjective. (If it was, this would only mean transferring the burden of the final judgement call from the on-field officials to the command centre.) Some of the existing uncertainty and subjectivity with pass interference calls is certainly due to different officials' perspectives on how it should be called, but a lot of it is thanks to incomplete information. Contact between receivers and defensive backs can happen from a variety of angles, but each particular on-field official only sees it from one angle, and seeing it live means they only get a brief glimpse of what happened. Meanwhile, viewers at home often have a better look at the situation thanks to the availability of slow-motion replays from multiple angles on the TV feed.Read More »from CFL could make history by allowing pass interference calls to be subject to video review