For many, few aspects of the NFL game are more infuriating than a botched pass interference call. Unlike at the collegiate level where a defensive pass interference penalty maxes out at a 15-yard penalty, the NFL brings the ball to the spot of the foul along with an automatic first down. Equally maddening is a missed pass interference call, a situation that presents itself nearly every game.
Unfortunately, football at all levels has refused to give in to outside and internal pressure and allow replay review to correct poor pass interference calls. That is, until the CFL adopted the practice for its 2014 season.
While there may be hiccups in the CFL's new pass interference review process, it already appears to be a major improvement on officiating.
In the season opener, Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach Mike O'Shea believed the refs missed a defensive pass interference penalty on a crucial third down play (Canadian Football doesn't have a fourth down). On review, the officials determined that the defender (former Packers cornerback Brandon Underwood) had indeed illegally interfered with the pass, providing penalty yards and a new set of downs for Winnipeg. With the call corrected, the Blue Bombers scored a few plays later.
The NFL should pay close attention to the CFL's new rules. If they continue to prove successful at getting the calls right, it would be a no brainer for the NFL to bring them to the US. Doing so would prevent many of the unfortunate poor calls and non-calls that have plagued the league in recent years.
Look no further than 2012's immortal "Fail Mary."
Ignoring for the moment whether or not Golden Tate established possession of the football, he certainly did push cornerback Sam Shields to the ground while the ball was in the air. Accordingly, Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference, something the league admitted the following day in a press release. Had pass interference been reviewable, the touchdown would have been nullified and the game ended.
While the past can't be changed, the future is open. The CFL can test out pass interference review, allowing the NFL to piggyback on the development soon thereafter. Hopefully, the NFL doesn't delay adoption, and the new rule is in place by 2015.