The NFL admitted it got last season’s pass interference rule “miserably” wrong.
Troy Vincent, the league’s vice president of football operations, told NBC’s Peter King that the rule, which will not return this season, was a failure and the league overreacted the infamous blown call against the Saints in the 2019 NFC Championship game.
The NFL eventually paid the price with plenty of confusion, controversy and frustration regarding its implementation and effectiveness.
“Those outcomes were not good for professional football,” Vincent said. “Because we didn’t do the proper due diligence, it played out publicly. The last thing people should be talking about is the way the game is officiated. They [officials] should be faceless objects, managing and facilitating game flow.
The idea to review pass interference was in response to the blown non-call against the Saints game that likely cost them a chance to reach the Super Bowl. New Orleans complained loudly about the call that played out in front of millions, prompting the NFL to institute something it hoped would keep an issue like that from ever happening again. Instead, talk during and after games often turned to the rule itself and its effect on game flow. Blatant non-calls were often still being upheld after a challenge flag was thrown.
“We failed. I’m first in line,” Vincent said. “I shared that [with league officials]. I failed, as the leader of that department. I failed. We cannot allow that to happen again.
He sees it as something the league — whose competition committee is considering the idea of adding a “sky judge” to help identify obviously wrong or missed calls — can learn from moving forward
“We’ve got to do our due diligence,” Vincent said. “You can’t rush and just shove something in there without knowing all the consequences. And we found that out last year, live and in action, publicly. We didn’t do [our due diligence] last year, and we failed, and we failed miserably.”