Competition committee: Too early to evaluate NFL's new pass interference rule

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The NFL is asking for patience regarding the controversial pass interference review.

Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, an official on the NFL's competition committee, says it's too early to evaluate a new rule after six weeks of play. "Let's let the season play out," he said Tuesday. "It's a brand-new rule."

The committee presented to owners several officiating matters during this week's fall meetings at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, including blind-side blocking, offensive holding and pass interference. They showed statistics and video examples associated with each penalty, then "opened the floor up" to the room.

More holding calls leaguewide contributed to lower scoring through the first two weeks of the season. NFL games are averaging 14.9 penalties per game in 2019, up from 13.2 per game five years ago.

Interference review has caused the most strife among fans, and many head coaches are frustrated with the lack of overturned calls. Coaches are 1-for-25 on challenging pass interference rulings since Week 3, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he doesn't know what officials are looking for when he submits a challenge.

Steelers president Art Rooney II weighed in as well.

"We were concerned about the rule from Day 1 when we went into that meeting last March," he said, referring to the owners' vote in March to allow interference calls or non-calls to be challenged by coaches. "We really weren't that enthusiastic about putting that rule in. But, the competition communication wound up coming together, made a recommendation and we passed it. We agreed to pass it for a year and we'll see how it goes."

NFL vice president Troy Vincent said coaches should know "the bar is higher than a normal review" with these calls.

The goal of implementing the new challenge is to get egregious interference plays overturned. That remains a process.

"I'm not going to get into how it's currently being done from New York," McKay said. "I think that's something that we're all better off doing, at least us as a committee, at the end of the year. But we did know one thing going on. This is the first time we've lived in this subjective world where we're going to have a subjective review by an individual. ... We knew that would lead to disagreement."