In Wake of NFL Post-Season Controversies Public Wants Rule Changes for Pass Interference and OT

In Wake of NFL Post-Season Controversies Public Wants Rule Changes
for Pass Interference and OT
Nation also ‘tired’ of seeing Patriots in Super Bowl; thinks legalized gambling can lead to scandal

South Orange NJ, February 2, 2019 – By an overwhelming margin, the public wants instant replay for judgment calls such as pass interference, according to a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week.

Asked if replay review should be allowed for judgment calls like pass interference, 82% said yes, with only 10% saying no and the rest having no opinion or saying they did not know.
Among those who said they followed the sport closely, even more, 89%, said yes, while only 7% said no.

Even among the respondents who said they follow the NFL very closely, 85% said yes, they “think instant replay review should be allowed for judgment calls like pass interference.” Among that group of very close followers, however, 13% said “no.”

Regarding overtime possession rules, a majority of respondents polled said that each team should get at least one possession in overtime: 58% said that both teams should have the ball, with only 33% saying the rule (a touchdown on first possession ends the game), should be left alone.

The poll received 985 adult responses across the country, using both landlines and cellphones, with a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.

“In the NFL’s championship games, referee calls and non-calls made a very big difference,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute of the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall.  “And in some ways, Kansas City’s offense never getting a chance to take the field in overtime was anticlimactic – never a good thing in the entertainment business, and something the NFL may want to pay attention to along with the overwhelming support for instant replay review for judgment calls such as pass interference.”

Nation ‘Tired’ of Patriots

Perhaps the overtime rules wouldn’t have seemed so unfair if the Kansas City Chiefs hadn’t been playing the New England Patriots, who have made their way to the Super Bowl four out of the past five years.

Nearly half of Americans say they are tired of seeing the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

46% said they were tired of seeing them, with only 25% saying their appearance would make the game more interesting.

Among those who follow the NFL closely or very closely, the number rose to 62% who are tired of seeing them against only 27% who thought their appearance would make the game more interesting.

Tom Brady
The numbers are not very good for New England quarterback Tom Brady either, whose favorable rating has fallen to only 29% after a high of 61% in February 2015, when the Poll first asked about him.  That was before the penalty for “Deflategate” was instituted, and his favorable rating fell to 34% by that October.

Brady’s favorable rating was only 24% among women and 35% among men. While the overall rating is 29% favorable to 23% unfavorable, among those that follow the NFL closely it is even.

Bill Belichick

Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick had only a 20% favorable rating in this poll, about even with his standing in October of 2015 in the wake of “Deflategate.”

“Despite his brilliance on the field, it appears the effects of ‘Deflategate’ and the suggestion that Brady was a cheater may linger for the remainder of his career,” noted Director Gentile, “As for ‘Patriots Fatigue’ it will be interesting to see how it effects the ratings.”

Legal Sports Betting 

Meanwhile, as legalized sports betting begins a growth period on a state-by-state basis, Americans had a strong feeling that it will inevitably lead to scandal.  Asked if they believe legal betting can lead to cheating or fixing of games by players, 81% said yes, and 79% said it can lead to cheating or fixing of games by referees or umpires.

What is music to a network ear however, is that 71% say they would be more likely to watch a broadcast of a game on which they bet. Even better news is by more than 5 to 1, people 18-29 are more inclined to watch a game they bet on. This is similar with Seton Hall Sports Poll’s finding when the question was first asked last fall.

This release may be found online at

The Official Seton Hall Sports Poll podcast discussing this topic with Seth Everett and Rick Gentile can befound at

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone January 28-30 among adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones.  The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.

Media: Media: Marty Appel,; Rick Gentile (917) 881-9489
Michael Ricciardelli, Associate Director of Media Relations, Seton Hall, 908-447-3034

The results:


  1. Last year the Supreme Court ruled that betting on sporting events could be declared legal by individual states.  Do you approve of this ruling, disapprove or do you have no opinion?


1 – Approve                             38%

2 – Disapprove                       16

3 – Don’t know/No opinion      46


  1. Former member of congress and ex-NBA player Tom McMillen said last week that as a result of legalized sports betting “There is a 100% chance that there will be a major gambling scandal at an institution of higher education in the United States.”  Do you agree or disagree

with his statement?


1 – Agree                                 51

2 – Disagree                           33

3 – Don’t know/No opinion      16


  1. Do you believe legal betting on sports events can lead to cheating or fixing games by players?


1 – Yes                                     81

2 – No                                     15

3 – Don’t know/No opinion        4


  1. Do you believe legal betting on sports events can lead to cheating or fixing games by referees or umpires?


1 – Yes                                     79

2 – No                                     18

3 – Don’t know/No opinion        3


  1. Do you participate in any pools or wagering on the Super Bowl?


1 – Yes                                     11

2 – No                                     88

3 – Don’t know                          0

(If No skip to Question 7)


  1. Would you watch the game if you weren’t betting on it or participating in a pool?


1 – Yes                                     79

2 – No                                     20

3 – Don’t know                          2


  1. Have you ever participated in any pools or wagered on the Super Bowl?


1 – Yes                                     31

3 – No                                     68

4 – Don’t know                          1


  1. Would you be more likely to bet on a sports event if it was legal in your state?


1 – Yes                                     29

2 – No                                     68

3 – Don’t know                          3


  1. If you placed a bet on a sports event would it make you more likely to watch the broadcast of that event?


1 – Yes                                     71

2 – No                                     27

3 – Don’t know                          2


  1. Is your opinion of Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady favorable, unfavorable or do you have no opinion?


1 – Favorable                           29

2 – Unfavorable                      23

3 – No opinion                         48


  1. How about Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick, is your opinion favorable, unfavorable or do you have no opinion?


1 – Favorable                           20

2 – Unfavorable                       21

3 – No opinion                         59


  1. This will be the 4th time in the last 5 years that the New England Patriots will appear in the Super Bowl.  Does that make them more interesting to see play again or are you tired of seeing

them in the Super Bowl?


1 – More interesting                 25

2 – Tired of seeing them         46

3 – Don’t know/No opinion      29


  1. How closely would you say you follow the NFL, very closely, closely, not closely or not at all?


1 – Very closely                       13

2 – Closely                             27

3 – Not closely                        30

4 – Not at all                           30

5 – Don’t know                          0


  1. There was controversy regarding the NFC and AFC Championship Games last week because of calls, or non-calls by the referees.  Do you think replay review should be allowed for judgment calls like pass interference?


1 – Yes                                     82

2 – No                                     10

3 – Don’t know/No opinion        9


  1. In the NFL if the team that wins the coin toss for the overtime period elects to receive the ball and then scores a touchdown on the first drive, the game is over.  This just happened in the AFC Championship game between the Patriots and Chiefs.  Do you think both teams should have a chance to possess the ball at least once in the overtime period or should the rule remain as is?


1 – Both teams should possess the ball         58

2 – Leave rule as is                                       33

3 – Don’t know/No opinion                              9




One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall has been showing the world what great minds can do since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall embraces students of all religions and prepares them to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. In recent years, the University has achieved extraordinary success. Since 2009, it has seen record-breaking undergraduate enrollment growth and an impressive 110-point increase in the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen. In the past decade, Seton Hall students and alumni have received more than 30 Fulbright Scholarships as well as other prestigious academic honors, including Boren Awards, Pickering Fellowships, Udall Scholarships and a Rhodes Scholarship. The University is also proud to be the third most diverse national Catholic university in the nation.

During the past five years, the University has invested more than $165 million in new campus buildings and renovations. And in 2015, Seton Hall launched a School of Medicine as well as a College of Communication and the Arts. The University’s beautiful main campus in suburban South Orange, N.J. is only 14 miles from New York City — offering students a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. Seton Hall’s nationally recognized School of Law is located prominently in downtown Newark. The University’s Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS) campus in Clifton and Nutley, N.J. opened in the summer of 2018. The IHS campus houses the University’s College of Nursing, School of Health and Medical Sciences and the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University.

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