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NFL Clubs Approve Rule Changes For 2019, Including Making Pass Interference Reviewable

PHOENIX—NFL owners voted to make pass interference reviewable in 2019, one of a handful of rule changes and amendments that was passed Tuesday during the league's annual meetings.

The new rule, which is for one year only and will then be revisited next year, allows for coaches to challenge pass interference, called or uncalled and on both offensive and defensive players, except in the final two minutes of the first and second half, when the replay booth would initiate the review.

Prior to Tuesday’s vote, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was asked about expanding review to cover more areas.

“Is there an ultimate solution? It's always moving,” he said. “It's a dynamic situation we got to keep working with. The conversations we had yesterday were the best I've ever seen. The best I've been around. We stayed the longest, we worked at it the most. I'm talking about with the coaches. We got into the most depth and found our common ground. Somebody asked if those meetings were contentious—they weren't at all. Everybody was just working to try to get their thoughts together to make the best presentation to the owners and the competition committee so we can move ahead. We'll make some progress, I think, today. But I think we're going to also open up for progress in the future. It's not going to happen where we're going to change everything, that's not happening. But the movement and the direction we're going is very positive. I know the coaches are really encouraged about it moving forward and putting it in a good place.”

Asked specifically about pass interference being reviewable, Carroll said, “I think it’s an idea that is worth investigating.” In particular, Carroll was in favor of considering the idea because of how significant pass interference calls can be, “because it’s a spot foul, and 50-yard plays are in discretion all the time. (Reviewing it) gives us a chance to clarify some of those calls that might have gone the wrong way.”

Another change, made to improve player safety, is the elimination of blindside blocks. Now, any forcible contact by the blocker with his head, shoulder or forearm is prohibited. Owners also voted to make permanent last year’s changes to the kickoff rules, which the league reports resulted in 38-percent reduction in kickoff concussions versus the numbers from 2015 to 2017.

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