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Sunday, November 24, 2013
Still no challenges on penalties news services

The NFL's competition committee has no plans to consider any changes to whether penalties can be reviewed, two league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The committee has traditionally resisted the idea of using video replay to review penalties.

Rob Gronkowski
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was wrapped up in the end zone, but officials elected not to call pass interference on the final play.

But in the wake of the controversial ending to Monday night's game between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers, some coaches wondered whether the competition committee would consider allowing challenges on penalties, sources told Schefter.

Carolina defeated New England, 24-20, after Tom Brady's last-second pass was intercepted in the end zone by Panthers safety Robert Lester. A flag was thrown on the play because Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly appeared to interfere with New England tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was in the area of Brady's throw.

But after a conference with the other officials, referee Clete Blakeman announced there was no penalty on the play, ruling that Brady's throw was uncatchable and nullifying the pass interference flag.

NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino put his stamp of approval on the decision Tuesday, saying the officials used "proper mechanics" to make a "tight judgment call."

"The issue isn't the contact [between Kuechly and Gronkowski], the issue is the restriction and does it occur prior to the ball being touched," Blandino explained Tuesday during a segment on the NFL Network. "At full speed the officials made a tight judgment call and they determined that the restriction occurred just as the ball was being touched [by Lester]. Again, at full speed you can see why they made that call."

Pass interference penalties are not reviewable, which means the officials had to make a judgment call on when the contact Kuechly was making with Gronkowski became "restrictive." In their judgment, Blandino said, they ruled that the "restriction occurred simultaneously with the ball being touched. When you watch it at full speed you can see why they would make that call on the field."

Information from Patriots reporters Mike Reiss and Field Yates was used in this report.