Who benefits more from new replay rule, offense or defense?
With replay review now available for both defensive and offensive pass interference, an obvious question arises: Does this change benefit offense, defense, or both sides equally?
Given the perception (reality) that defensive pass interference gets called more frequently than offensive pass interference and in light of the fact that OPI includes not only pushing and shoving while the ball is in the air but also blocking more than one yard down the field before the ball is thrown (i.e., pick plays), replay review for OPI and DPI may indeed result in more OPI calls.
As tabulated by NFLPenalties.com, DPI fouls happened at a rate of 7.7 per team in 2018. OPI fouls occurred only 2.66 times per team. Unless offensive players do a much better job following the rules than defensive players, DPI gets called more often when it occurs than OPI. The availability of replay review could close that gap.
Consider this: Replay review happens automatically on plays resulting in a touchdown. This means that NFL senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron or one of his lieutenants will, after each touchdown pass, confirm that the receiver didn’t clearly and obviously push off and that no blocking by eligible receivers occurred more than one yard down the field, regardless of whether a red flag is thrown and regardless of whether the play happens with less than two minutes in either half or during overtime.
Of course, replay review for DPI also will happen automatically when turnovers happen, but it’s likely that OPI results in catches (and touchdowns) more often than DPI results in interceptions, since the receiver usually pushes off to make the catch while the defender usually interferes to prevent the catch, not to make the catch himself.
Bottom line? The availability of replay review should increase the number of times offenses are flagged for engaging in pass interference than defenses, even if it was a blatant case of missed DPI that triggered the change.