Under the new rule that, all pass interference calls -- both offensive and defensive -- are now reviewable. The rule means that coaches are now allowed to challenge interference penalties, even if the penalty went uncalled on the field. The replay booth will also be able to automatically review any potential interference play that happens with under two minutes left in both the first or second half of a game.
Although the blatantin the NFC Championship Game was a big catalyst for why the new rules were approved, it turns out there were other missed interference calls during the postseason that were almost just as big, and one of those came in Super Bowl LIII.
According to ESPN.com, the NFL competition committee apparently admitted Tuesday that the Patriots should have been flagged for a interference on a huge fourth-quarter play involving Brandin Cooks. The admission came while the committee was discussing the potential ramifications of making interference reviewable.
At the time of the play, the Rams were trailing 10-3 with roughly 4:30 left in the game. On a first-and-10 play from New England's 27-yard line, Jared Goff fired a pass to Cooks, and that's when this happened.
The competition committee said this play should have been interference and the #Rams would have gotten the ball on the 1-yard line. I pointed this out that night (some of you were irritated). It was subtle but by the letter of the law... pic.twitter.com/TdJi2YBnzw— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 27, 2019
Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore clearly grabs Cooks' left arm before the ball arrives. If the new replay system had been in place, Rams coach Sean McVay could have challenged the play, and as the committee already stated, he would have won the challenge because of Gilmore's interference.
If the interference had been called, the Rams would have gotten the ball at the 1-yard line with a chance to tie the game. Instead, Goff threw an interception on the Rams' very next offensive play, which effectively iced the 13-3 win for New England.
Although Gilmore's interference didn't turn into the same kind of controversy that we saw in the NFC title game, people definitely did take notice and questioned why a flag wasn't thrown.
#Robbed— Sporting Chance (@frank_black_iii) February 4, 2019
If u were waiting for that moment where the refs step in & shape the game.. #ThereItWas#SuperBowl #SuperBowlLIII
No call on what would have been a #Rams TD.
clear pass interference. #Patriots Gilmore grabs #Rams Cook's arm, preventing a catch and a TD#RiggedNFL #RIGGED pic.twitter.com/m80N8UKLUD
A pass would have been caught for a game-tying touchdown with 4 minutes and 24 seconds left in the 4th. Gilmore grabs Cooks arm and he's not able to bring his left arm up to secure the ball in his right arm. Was it pass interference? #larams #defense #SuperBowl #laramsfans— Daniel Hancock (@tweetheaphearty) February 4, 2019
In just one postseason, that's two games -- the Super Bowl and NFC Championship Game -- that could have potentially had different outcomes under the new rule. The bottom line seems to be that the NFL owners have passed a rule that will likely have a dramatic effect on the league in 2019.
Of course, if the rule doesn't work out as the NFL intended, the league can always scrap it. The replay rule was only approved for a one-year trial period.