Replay reviews of potential pass-interference calls in the last two minutes of games and in overtime will be initiated by the replay official and not coaches, but the bar will be set high for such video checks, the NFL's competition committee announced Thursday.
A previous proposal would have put the onus on coaches to ask for late-game reviews of possible pass interference, but the protocol was changed after coaches reportedly disapproved with that plan.
The NFL's statement read, in part, "After the two-minute warning of each half and during overtime, the Replay Official will stop the game to initiate a review for pass interference under stricter criteria than for other reviewable plays to prevent excessive game stoppages. ...
"A decision on the field will only be reversed when there is 'clear and obvious visual evidence' that warrants a change."
The Thursday announcement doesn't constitute an official policy for the 2019 season, as the NFL will give teams until next week to provide feedback on the latest tweak.
The league also announced that it would not take an overly lenient view of Hail Mary plays during video checks. Referees on the field generally allow more contact on Hail Mary passes than on typical passes.
"The 'Hail Mary' play will be reviewed in replay consistent with the guidelines for officiating the play on the field," according to the league statement.
The move to allow replay review of possible pass-interference penalties was sparked by a play at the end of this year's NFC Championship Game. Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman clearly hit New Orleans Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis before the ball arrived, but no call was made.
Had the penalty been called, the Saints could have lined up for a game-winning field goal as time expired. Instead, the Rams ultimately won the game in overtime and advanced to the Super Bowl.
--Field Level Media