Broncos' Vic Fangio: League looking for 'five-car pileup' before overturning PI call

Shalise Manza YoungYahoo Sports Contributor

Monday night wraps up Week 11 of the regular season and thus far the new rules surrounding pass interference calls and PI reviews are not going well.

Every week it seems there are plays that happen that either should have been flagged and weren’t or were flagged and upheld on review even though it seems clear to the rest of us that it should not have been.

Take Sunday: in the first quarter if the Houston Texans game against the Baltimore Ravens, Deshaun Watson threw for DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone on fourth-and-2 from the Baltimore 33. Hopkins was in position for the pass near the right sideline, but was brought down by Baltimore’s Marlon Humphrey before he could make the play, Humphrey wrapping Hopkins around the waist.

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It was a clear defensive pass interference penalty, but the officials didn’t throw the flag, which would have given Houston first down from the 1. Texans coach Bill O’Brien threw his challenge flag, the play was ostensibly reviewed and still wasn’t overturned.

Instead of Houston likely taking a 7-0 lead, the Ravens got the ball at their own 33.

After the game, Hopkins took to Twitter to say “we need someone new in New York deciding calls,” though he didn’t mention replay official Alberto Riveron by name.

O’Brien said, “I have no idea what pass interference is anymore. No idea.”

He’s not the only one.

Vic Fangio: NFL looking for ‘five-car pileup’

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio doesn't understand the new pass interference rules. (AP)
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio doesn't understand the new pass interference rules. (AP)

On Monday, first-year Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio was asked about the low rate of pass interference calls being overturned this season.

Here’s his answer, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic:

“Well, I think from the time during the league meetings when the rule was adopted to where we are now, it’s changed. I had a head coach tell me recently, another head coach in the league, that he had a touchdown scored against him and he thought there was offensive pass interference to get that touchdown.

“Naturally, he didn’t challenge it because all touchdowns are reviewed. They didn’t review it at all, and he complained about it during the week and the league agreed with him, that it should have been offensive pass interference. He called the officiating department and asked, ‘Why didn’t you overturn it?’ and they said that they’ve been told not to overturn those. It’s going to have to be a five-car pileup, I guess, for them to overturn something.

“So it was offensive pass interference that the guy was telling me about, they through it was but still didn’t overturn. So I really don’t know where it’s at.

“I challenged the one late in the game [at Minnesota] just because that was going to be our last drive, critical situation, thought it was worth the chance. If that had been much earlier in the game, I wouldn’t have.”

Fangio challenged whether there had been defensive pass interference on an incomplete pass just outside the 2-minute mark of Sunday’s game with the Vikings, but the non-call was upheld.

‘It was a knee-jerk reaction’

As a follow up, Fangio was asked if the chance to challenge pass interference — something coaches and fans alike had asked for over the years and which was finally enacted earlier this year — should just be eliminated.

He didn’t entirely answer, but he did say he believes the ability to challenge PI was a hasty reaction to one play.

“My question to them or anybody is that it came about because of the play in the championship game in New Orleans [when officials missed a critical defensive PI call against the Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman]: What if the same type of play happened but it was holding that they blatantly missed? Would we be reviewing holding instead of pass interference? And I’m talking about in-line play.

“It was a knee-jerk reaction to a play that caused a lot of public uproar, so that’s what happened.”

And now no one really seems to know what pass interference is, and the officials aren’t helping that confusion.

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