If you watched that debacle of a Giants game yesterday, you probably felt like all the New York writers did: the Giants blew the game, with the Cowboys exploiting their mistakes. While this is generally true, one key call late in the game REALLY cost the Giants the game. I refer to the holding penalty that brought back a Giant touchdown that would have gotten the Giants within six. On the next play, Eli fumbled, and the rest is history. How BIG was that call? Enormous. And it was suspect, at best. The blocker had his arm around a guy's leg for a brief moment, but quickly let go.
In the 49ers game,in Overtime, an official threw a pass interference flag on a ball that was not catchable. The 49ers were set up, and quickly kicked the wining field goal.
It is hard enough in football to overcome your own mistakes, but it is even harder to overcome official penalty mistakes, because you have no recourse. You can ask for review of out of bonds, fumbles, and the like, but you can't ask to review an official's penalty call.
Game 1, Jets/Ravens this year. Joe Flacco throws a pass in the end zone. The Jet defender is looking back at the ball and is playing it. The official throws the flag. The Ravens go on to score the only touchdown of the game after getting the ball at the one. I never did see a replay of the play (I only saw it from my vantage point in the upper deck), but it looked like how I described it: two players with equal rights for the ball going for it.
Of course, some would argue that pass interference should just be a yardage, and not a spot of the foul penalty, as it is in college. I don't support this because the pass interference becomes a preferred weapon to prevent touchdowns. I'd gladly accept a pass interference call on a 50 yard pass if it will only cost me ten or fifteen yards. No, the answer is to make the penalty reviewable.