What’s Up With The NFL Officiating? #StoryTimeWithArmstrong

By Anthony Armstrong

The biggest addition to the 2019 NFL season is the ability for coaches to challenge pass interference calls or, most notably, the no-calls. This all stems from the 2018 NFC Championship game between the Rams and the Saints.  The refs missed a blatant PI call that could have changed the outcome of the game.

Who Dat Nation was pissed.  They told Commissioner Roger Goodell to, “Geaux to hell” and demanded some change.  The league answered with the most confusing and convoluted rule that would allow coaches to challenge pass interference penalties.  Of the 50 challenge flags that were thrown for pass interference in the preseason, only five were overturned.

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With those types of numbers, you might as well keep the flag in your pocket and carry on with your day. Two weeks into the regular season, nothing has changed.  You’d like to think this would help improve the game, but it’s more like putting up a sign with a speed limit but not actually patrolling the area.  Guys will still speed, and accidents will continue to happen, even though it is clearly posted to not do so.

How do we make this better? Get players involved in the creation process. Officials go around the thirty-two teams during training camp to answer any questions that coaches and players may have in regards to any recent rule changes. The problem is that they receive the official’s interpretation of the new changes – not straight from the horse’s mouth.

As a player, I need to be clear on any rule and how it’s going to be interpreted and officiated. Admitting “We got that one wrong” after the fact doesn’t help, especially if you’re not going to actively do anything about it.

Those plays and missed calls cost people jobs. Lives are affected and having someone throw a red handkerchief in hopes you will admit you were wrong during the game only to have them eventually release a legalese-laden press statement won’t cut it.


Anthony Armstrong

About Anthony Armstrong

Anthony is a retired NFL Wide Receiver who played 7 years with the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins & Washington Redskins.