The first year of pass interference replay review as been a tumultuous, if not downright aggravating one, but it might not make it to year two.
Rich McKay, NFL competition committee chairman and Atlanta Falcons president and CEO, said Wednesday the new rule, which allowed pass interference to be reviewed for the first time in NFL history, "will definitely be a point of discussion from everybody's perspective," per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
The new rule has been a source of rage from almost every perspective in the league this season, with seemingly little to no standard existing on what is and isn't pass interference upon review. A penalty that used to only be called at the high speed of live action was suddenly incredibly difficult to officiate in much slower motion. It produced so few ruling reversals through the first half of the season, some coaches simply stopped considering even challenging pass interference. Since then, there has been a spike in reversals, further angering coaches who feel as if they're no longer certain of how far the rule's parameters extend.
Every team has felt this frustration at one point or another.
Following the conclusion of the league meeting, Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about players and coaches' frustration with officiating this season and whether a change of leadership is needed.
"Consistency is the No. 1 thing we're always trying to achieve and we every year have engaged in changes that are designed to make us more consistent and better. Obviously, the standard keeps getting higher as we add new elements, but I think what people see nowadays with technology is much greater than it was even five years ago, clearly 10 or 15. I think our officials do an outstanding job but we always seek to improve and we will engage in that. We have engaged in that and obviously that will continue."
Replay itself could see additional changes, according to NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent. The adjustments would move beyond what was more of a knee-jerk decision to bring pass interference into review after a missed penalty affected the outcome of last season's NFC Championship Game. They could include a sky judge, an official seated in the booth at each game in a concept that was first introduced in the short-lived Alliance of American Football.
"Everything's on the table," Vincent said.
Officiating itself -- individual performance, operational structure -- is going to be evaluated from the top down, Vincent said, including evaluation of Vincent's performance as the head of football operations.
Among the more interesting and less drastic on-field changes could be an adjustment to kickoffs, specifically onside kicks. Plenty of ideas, from the wild to the reasonable, have been tossed around since the league's elimination of a running start on all kickoffs, a positive move toward a safer game, drastically reduced the effectiveness of onside kicks.
Some have proposed a hypothetical fourth-and-long situation from one team's own territory, removing the kick altogether. That doesn't sound as likely.
"We want to keep the foot in the game," Vincent said.