Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) breaks up a pass intended for Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis (11). The NFL later admitted there should've been defensive pass interference on the play.

Chuck Cook/USA Today Sports

Bernstein: NFL Might Just Get This Right

The league may be headed toward pass interference becoming reviewable.

Dan Bernstein
January 30, 2019 - 2:41 pm
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(670 The Score) Here's some credit where it's due for a league we spend much of our time lampooning for all that it so often screws up. Enjoy it while you can.

The NFL finally created an amalgam of common sense and regulatory language that allows a catch to be a catch when it looks like a catch, and the respective legacies of Dez Bryant and Zach Miller will be tied to the injustices they suffered to help force it to be fixed at long last. Moreover, the controversy of officiating to start the 2018 season -- wildly inconsistent interpretations of illegal contact with quarterbacks and a new helmet-to-helmet interpretation -- was carefully managed and communicated in a way that smoothed and settled what could've evolved into a crisis. So good on them for that, too.

But one egregious no-call of a flagrant and possibly decisive pass interference head shot in the NFC Championship game has again sent the league back to the lab, with commissioner Roger Goodell and the competition committee open to a new use of replay for challenging such plays.

Early reports of such solutions under consideration indicate that the results may actually be promising, before we get into all of the inevitable unintended consequences. This plan -- as a concept -- just might work.

Goodell spent much of his annual Super Bowl media address Wednesday answering multiple questions about the topic, explaining that he didn't want to add another official to the process already in place, calling it just "one more human who will make mistakes like the rest of us."

ESPN's Adam Schefter, though, described an idea in the works that would allow coaches limited opportunity to challenge judgment plays of penalties called or missed, putting the onus on them to make the decision. There would be a high cost attached for losing such an effort after review, such as having a penalty imposed on them and/or valuable time run off the clock. The arrangement would be a "disincentive" to coaches, Schefter said, an effort to mollify those committee voters against the idea by making the invocation of the new special power much less likely.

I get it, and it actually sounds pretty good. If it functions properly, a fail-safe would then be in place to give a coach emergency recourse from blatant error in judgment, enough to give him the agency to act when he believes his team was truly wronged. And it wouldn't be used as a frivolous last-gasp gambit if the cost of failing was near sufficient to snuff out any remaining chance of victory.

Count me optimistic on this so far, hopeful to add another mark on the side of the ledger tracking what the NFL actually didn't make worse.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​