Tony Dungy is arguably one of the nicest guys in football. He’s knowledgeable, but the Hall of Fame coach doesn’t try to shove what he knows about the NFL down your throat.
While some TV analysts try to be demonstrative, brash, and “in your face” when trying to make a point, he is calm, cool, and collected. He’s respectful of who he works with, the fans, and the players; when he speaks, you want to listen to him.
So, when he takes to Twitter to talk about how the refs, you know things must be bad!
Last night we saw Pass Interference reviewed 4 times. One wrongly called OPI was reversed to a TD. 3 missed DPIs were reviewed but not changed to the correct call. Two timeouts were wasted by coaches challenging. What is wrong with this picture?
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) September 27, 2019
How ‘Clear And Obvious’ Does it Need to Be?
The NFL tried to make things right with fans after the missed call in the NFC Championship game last year by making pass interference calls and non-calls something coaches could challenge. It seemed like an easy fix at the time. Let someone slow the play down and get a close look at what happened, and surely, they will get the call correct.
But as Tony Dungy and the millions of fans that tuned into Thursday night’s Packers-Eagles game will attest to, that is not necessarily true.
Replay did allow for one travesty to be corrected; the offensive PI call made against Alshon Jeffrey. So, it is not a total waste. But when it fails on three other reviews, does the one success even matter? The game is still impacted by officials not doing their jobs properly.
However, if you listen to the explanation provided by NFL Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron, on at least one of the plays in question, it wasn’t clear and obvious:
“In #PHIvsGB, Green Bay challenged for pass interference. After review, there was no clear and obvious evidence that Philadelphia #29 significantly hindered the opponent.” – AL pic.twitter.com/Loc0LJp90q
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) September 27, 2019
Confusion Sets in After Packers-Eagles Fiasco
Dungy, like everyone watching, was confused by the calls, or lack thereof. As could be expected, Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur was asked about them following the game. That would have been a moment where some coaches would have vented and let loose (and received a fine).
But LaFleur echoed what many fans are feeling with his comments:
“I really don’t know what pass interference is anymore,” he said, via the team’s website. “I’ll just leave it at that.”
So, now that we seem to have finally settled on what a “catch” is, we can’t figure what illegally messing with someone’s ability to make a catch is.
Time for Another Conference Call?
What’s the NFL to do? They were reactionary when they approved the rule change following the NFC Championship game snafu. Do they react to this injustice now (and risk making another mistake) or wait until after the season?
Will it result in another conference call for officials?
This incident is the second time in two weeks that one of the NFL’s nicest and most respectful personalities felt so strongly about the officiating that they spoke out. Last week it was Tom Brady. This week it’s Tony Dungy.
Who knows—Brady’s complaint about the holding calls made a difference. Maybe Dungy’s will spark some change, too.