Most NFL owners and coaches are happy about the league’s new rules regarding the review of pass interference, but Richard Sherman is not a fan.
Richard Sherman has never been a player shy about expressing his true feelings. Even so, his latest comments about the NFL’s new rules about officiating pass interference calls might take things to a new level. The 49ers cornerback believes the new rules will allow the league to intentionally influence the outcome of games.
Specifically, Sherman says the new rules will allow the NFL to “control the outcome as they see fit.” It’s not hard to read between the lines to understand the player’s true meaning. Sherman believes that league officials will use their new review capabilities to give favorable calls to players and teams they favor.
Sherman is effectively calling the entire integrity of the NFL into question via social media. For what it’s worth, he isn’t the only big-name defensive back who is concerned about the recent changes. The talented safety referred to the rule changes as “dumb” on his own Twitter account. Clearly, this is not the reaction the NFL was hoping for.
League officials worked with coaches and executives to craft a policy that could help prevent officiating controversies that might unfairly cause a team to lose a game. Last year’s playoff controversy between the Saints and Rams was clearly the catalyst for the change and the NFL hoped that would quell any concerns about officials unfairly deciding the outcome of games.
It’s unclear whether or not Sherman and Eric Weddle are in the majority or minority among NFL players. It does appear that both defensive backs believe the rules will be applied to favor offensive players as well. It’s very possible the new review rules are much more popular with wide receivers than cornerbacks and safeties charged with stopping them.
It will be interesting to see whether or not the NFL chooses to respond to Sherman’s concerns. If they do, it almost certainly won’t be in a public forum. That’s not a medium that’s typically kind to Roger Goodell and other higher-ups inside the league office.
No matter what, it’s safe to say the recent expansion to replay isn’t going to eliminate all controversy surrounding the league’s officiating. Even if the reviews will have gray area that will continue to spark debate among players and fans.