THE SEAN PAYTON RULE

nfl logoTHE SEAN PAYTON RULE

Following the debacle which ended the Saints season on an obviously blown pass interference call late in last year’s NFC Championship game, the owners of the NFL Franchises, meeting in Phoenix this spring, have finally approved what amounts to a major shift in how the leagues’ video replay review system will work going forward in 2019.

Bowing to considerable pressure both from their own NFL coaches and the sporting public in general, the powers that be have voted on and passed a resolution making pass interference reviewable.  No one is really sure how the new rules are going to work out down on the playing field.  How many, and how long, will be these reviews?

Much has already been written and much more will be written before the first kickoff of the 2019 NFL season about the new rules in effect.  Coaches will have the option to call for a replay review on questionable plays while the league itself, through its center in New York, will take over the responsibility of calling for a review where they deem it necessary during the final two minutes of each half of the game.

The new review rules are in place only on a trial run and could be negated for next season should they not work out satisfactorily.  For now, both defensive and offensive non calls will be reviewable upon a coach’s challenge.  However, coaches will still be limited to two challenges per game; but, if they win the first two, a third challenge is then awarded.

New Orleans lost the NFC Championship game last year to the Los Angeles Rams on a very obvious missed pass interference call which led Saints head coach Sean Payton to spearhead the drive to get the outdated system changed to allow non call reviews using the technology already in place.

Payton is a member of the NFL Competition committee and he spoke aggressively both publicly and privately at the Phoenix meetings making a strong push for a solution to make sure that nothing like this will happen again in an NFL game.

Coach Payton told reporters after the vote was in, “There was an owe-it-to-the-game responsibility.  And really I mean that.  I think it’s important that this isn’t going to be perfect always.  We know that.  The mere shape of the ball tells you it’s not going to bounce the same way.  But these are fouls that the analysts are able to tell us they’re the most impactful fouls.  I think we got it right.”

The replay review measure, now known as the Sean Payton rule, was passed by a final vote of 31-1.

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