DeAndre Hopkins call shows NFL sabotaging what’s left of its credibilityNovember 19, 2019
It happened again Sunday.
When it will stop nobody knows.
This much we do know, though: This new rule of coaches challenging pass interference penalties and the inexplicably low percentage of reversed calls — even when the answer is obvious — is sabotaging the NFL’s credibility.
And, in some cases, it’s threatening to change the course of some teams’ games and seasons. The latest egregious example of this came in the first quarter of Sunday’s game between the Ravens and Texans, a 41-7 Baltimore win.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien challenged a no-call on blatant interference of Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins on what would have been a touchdown pass. Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey grabbed Hopkins with his left arm and twisted him away from the ball before it arrived.
The call was not reversed, which has been the shockingly alarming trend in the league this season.
Did this cost the Texans the game? Though it came when the game was scoreless, it’s difficult to say that one play in a 41-7 result made the difference. But that’s not the point. The league needs to figure out how to make this right, because it hasn’t been right all season, since the new rule was installed.
“Everyone saw it,” Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson told reporters after the game. “It definitely could have been a changing point of the game, a momentum switch.”
By the letter of the law, the definition of pass interference is if a player “significantly hinders” an opponent from making a play on the ball.
The NFL has a rule in place that states any call that’s overturned must show “clear and obvious evidence” for it to be reversed.
If that Humphrey play on Hopkins did not show “clear and obvious evidence” then there was no “clear and obvious evidence” that Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman interfered with Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis in last year’s NFC Championship game — the game-turning play that led to this new challenge rule being implemented.
According to ESPN, at the point of that non-call and subsequent upholding of the non-call in Baltimore, coaches had lost 32 of the past 33 pass interference challenges. Since Week 3, the coaches were 2-for-41. Through the 1 p.m. games Sunday, coach’s challenges for pass interference were 6-for-58 for the season.
Adding insult to the Texans’ beef, after the Hopkins play, Al Riveron, senior vice president of officiating, overturned two pass interference challenges — one in favor of the Jets against the Redskins and another in favor of the Cardinals against the 49ers.
That led Hopkins to tweet on Sunday: “As a leader in the NFL, we need someone new in New York deciding calls.”
Said O’Brien after the game: “I have no idea what pass interference is anymore. No idea.”
O’Brien’s sentiment is shared by not only the 31 other head coaches around the league, but by everyone who watches these NFL games.
Every one of these calls or non-calls that are obvious to all who watch them, and leave teams screwed like the Texans were on Sunday, have to turn the stomach of league commissioner Roger Goodell, who’s going to have no choice but to fix this after the season.
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