Broncos' John Elway, Cowboys' Stephen Jones sound opposed to making pass-interference reviewable

In the aftermath of the blatant pass-interference penalty that inexplicably went uncalled, which gave the Rams the chance they needed to beat the Saints in Sunday's NFC Championship Game, Sean Payton called for the NFL to expand instant replay. That might seem unsurprising given Payton's team had just fallen victim to one of the worst no-calls in NFL history, but that doesn't make it unimportant given Payton resides on the competition committee, which has the power to propose rule changes in the offseason.

If Payton hopes to help facilitate changes to the instant replay system this offseason, he might need to change a few minds along the way. On Tuesday, two members of the competition committee pushed back against the idea of expanding the scope of instant replay to include pass-interference penalties. 

Broncos general manager John Elway said that it "won't work."

Stephen Jones of the Cowboys said that it wouldn't be "good for the game."

Finally, an unnamed member of the competition committee expressed concern that reviewing non-calls would open up a can of worms.

They all seem to be making the same argument: If the NFL lets penalties and non-penalties become reviewable, officials are going to be reviewing subjective plays that have no clear right answer and games are going to turn into marathons. It's the slippery slope type of argument. If missed pass-interference penalties become reviewable, are missed holding penalties going to come next? Where does it stop?

Here, via, is Payton's argument:

"Look, it's a tough way to lose a game, especially when you're in a position like that to win it," Payton said. "All more reason we need more replay. We lose a chance to go to the Super Bowl with a call like that, it's just disappointing. But credit to the Rams, they did a good job and made the plays in the end when they needed to."

Payton elaborated during his postgame press conference: "We all want to get it right, right? We've got the technology where we can... We've got plenty of technology to speed things up, and look, I'm on the competition committee so hopefully that provides a voice. But I hope no other team has to lose a game the way we lost that one today though. We were in a position, like I said, to be right on there on the 10-yard line, whatever-yard line, and be on our knee for three plays. It's disappointing."

There has to be some sort of middle ground, right? Nobody wants to watch a football game where every single penalty gets reviewed. But there has to be a way for the NFL to fix egregious errors that end up determining the outcome of a game, the kind of mistakes that everyone agrees is a mistake. Maybe you give coaches an extra challenge and you make certain penalties challengeable. Maybe you give the league office the power to buzz into a game and quickly fix an obvious mistake that occurs within the final few minutes of a game. Maybe you make penalties reviewable in the final two minutes.

After the Rams beat the Saints, even the player responsible for the would-be pass-interference penalty, Nickell Robey-Coleman, admitted it was a clear foul. The league office told Payton after the game that a flag should've been thrown. By then, it was too late. The Saints' season was over. The Rams were heading to the Super Bowl. But if the NFL had been able to admit to the mistake immediately and change the call on the field after watching one replay -- it would've taken only one look to realize their mistake -- there's a very good chance the Saints would be en route to Atlanta and the Rams would be lamenting a heartbreaking loss.

In order for a rule change to be adopted, 24 of 32 owners must vote in favor of it. 

Super Bowl LIII is Sunday, Feb. 3, in Atlanta and it will air on CBS and streamed here on and the CBS Sports App for free on most connected devices.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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