It's a play that will go down in history, all because a referee completely missed an obvious pass interference and kept his flag in his pocket.
With the score tied 20-20 and just under two minutes left in the 2019 NFC Championship Game, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman clearly hit Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis before the ball reached the wideout. But there was no penalty, and nothing Saints coach Sean Payton could do about it.
The Rams wound up winning the game to advance to Super Bowl LIII, causing quite the uproar in New Orleans and beyond. Such an obvious missed call led to the NFL implementing replay review for pass interference starting this upcoming season.
"I don't think it will be as big of a deal as people think, because they've made it to where it's gotta be so obvious ... it has to be so clear that it's gonna be hard to change much," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said in an interview with NBC Sports' Peter King.
Coaches now have a chance to use a challenge flag on plays where they believe pass interference occurred prior to the two-minute warning of each half and overtime. The new rule states that PI reviews after the two-minute mark and during overtime will be initiated by the replay official. The replay official only will stop the game when there is "clear and obvious visual evidence" that a penalty may or may not have occurred.
"When there's a PI called, you're probably always gonna be able to see something where someone's touching a jersey or something like that. And if you do that, then you can live with the PI," Shanahan said. "They won't be able to overturn it. So it's just gonna have to be a blatant bad call or missed call to be able to overturn it, and usually, those don't happen a ton."
King said he's talked to some coaches around the league who will use someone in the coaches' booth specifically to look for pass interference. That won't be the case for the 49ers.
Shanahan and his staff already have a coach in the booth who is assigned to anything that deals with replay. The new rule will just be another task on the coach's plate.
While the rule is bound to raise some eyebrows at some point, Shanahan clearly doesn't envision catastrophic changes.