The NFL has made tentative plans to push forward with its original plan for introducing pass interference to replay review, setting aside for now a series of tweaks suggested last month by its competition committee.
According to an update sent to its teams, and posted Thursday to Twitter, the league said it expects to have the replay official initiate all potential reviews — including pass interference — in the final two minutes of each half and overtime.
The committee had considered shifting such responsibility for pass interference challenges to coaches to avoid excessive game stoppages, but as ESPN reported earlier this week, coaches pushed back on that proposal because of its possible impact on their timeout strategy, among other reasons.
To minimize the possibility of stoppages during the final two minutes of each half and overtime, the NFL said in its update that it would ask replay officials to use “stricter criteria than for other reviewable plays.” It did not provide specifics.
The NFL also said in its update that Hail Mary plays would be subject to review, “consistent with guidelines for officiating the play on the field.” Hail Mary passes usually include heavy contact between receivers and defenders, and NFL officials rarely penalize them for it.
But the committee was concerned that coaches would challenge them as a matter of strategy, if given the opportunity, and planned to exempt those plays. The pending decision to maintain the replay official’s jurisdiction during that time period rendered that concern moot.
According to the update, teams will be allowed to provide feedback for one more week before the final language of the rule is released.