The inability to challenge a clearly missed call in the NFC Championship game may have cost the Saints a Super Bowl appearance, and the league is determined not to let that happen again. Coaches can now challenge pass interference penalties, which should solve the problem -- in theory.
However, don't count the members of the New York Giants' secondary as supporters of the new rule.
"I mean, it could be a train wreck," Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins told NJ Advance Media. "We've got to deal with the consequences."
Jenkins was only penalized for defensive pass interference twice last season -- a noted improvement after five such flags in 2017. The lack of clear language and potential game-to-game variance concerns Jenkins the most.
"One week you'll let certain teams play football," Jenkins said. "And the next weekend, you'll come and call the next game tight. Don't be up and down. If it's a playoff game or something exciting, let everybody play."
Coaches will be able to challenge multiple scenarios of pass interference. If a coach believes his player didn't foul the receiver when a flag was thrown, he can have the play reviewed and the penalty revoked. On the other hand, if an coach thinks his receiver was interfered with when a flag wasn't thrown, he can also challenge for pass interference.
Plays will only be overturned if there is "blatant" evidence, something that wide receiver Russell Shepard is skeptical about.
"How do you define that, blatant?" Shepard said. "I just don't really know how to define blatant, as they say. I don't think nobody at this point knows really how to define that, or what that looks like."
The NFL will have to figure out what "blatant" means quickly. In the first game of the NFL preseason Thursday night, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio challenged a play where his cornerback, Linden Stephens, was whistled for pass interference. Fangio attested that Stephens played the receiver cleanly, but the call was upheld. After the game, Fangio took issue with the officials' phrasing.
"I didn't have a great look at it," Fangio said. "Obviously it was on the other sideline. But they did say it stands, so it was pretty close. They didn't say confirmed."
There has always been a human element to NFL officiating -- never before have penalties been able to be challenged. Although the new rule could lengthen games and lead to different types of penalties being challenged in the future, Jenkins is only concerned with the immediate impacts.
"I don't care," Jenkins said. "Just get it right."