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Bruce Arians: I threw the red flag knowing I couldn’t challenge

Green Bay Packers v Indianapolis Colts Getty Images

Bruce Arians won his first game as the Colts’ interim head coach on Sunday, but in the process he appeared at one point to make a rookie mistake: He picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for throwing the challenge flag on a play when the Packers scored, which is not allowed because every scoring play is automatically reviewed.

Arians, however, says that wasn’t a mistake at all: It was an intentional attempt to get referee Walt Anderson’s attention.

“I knew I couldn’t throw the flag,” Arians said today, in comments distributed by the team’s PR staff. “I’m throwing it anyway. Everybody in the press box told me I couldn’t throw the flag. I wanted to talk to those officials. He’s going to kick it into to end zone anyway and we’ll get it on the 20. It doesn’t matter. I heard from upstairs, ‘Coach, it’s not challengeable’, I don’t care.”

Arians said he didn’t believe the Packers actually scored on the play in question, and he wanted to argue with the ref about it regardless of whether he had any chance to win the argument, and even knowing that wrongly throwing a challenge flag is a 15-yard penalty.

“It’s an unsportsmanlike conduct,” Arians said. “No, on scoring plays, they’re all reviewed. They had deemed that the ball didn’t come out. I thought it was not, he did not maintain possession throughout the catch. I knew it wasn’t challengeable. There were a couple plays that were already called that, we just had to have a little conversation.”

It didn’t hurt the Colts this time, but in the future, it would probably be wise for Arians to find a way to get the ref’s attention that doesn’t cost the Colts 15 yards.

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18 Responses to “Bruce Arians: I threw the red flag knowing I couldn’t challenge”
  1. sportsrube90 says: Oct 8, 2012 7:43 PM

    Ummm…. actually it did cost you something, coach. Every scoring play is reviewed. But when you throw the red flag, not only do you get a 15 yards put against you on the kickoff(which I agree doesn’t matter) But you also lose the chance for the called to be reversed because they don’t review it then. So you basically that the call was a bad one, and threw the flag so that it gave you no shot to make it right.

  2. ggreen7 says: Oct 8, 2012 7:45 PM

    Starting to think we may hear of this coach again down the line. Pretty smart cookie.

  3. melikefootball says: Oct 8, 2012 7:51 PM

    Arians, that is alright. Heard Arians interview after the game, class act all the way. Was put in an emotional situation and he did the Colts and the NFL prould. Nice to see, when there seems to be so much negative in the NFL today.

  4. gojags says: Oct 8, 2012 7:53 PM

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, I tend to disagree with this call. Lets say if this infact is questionable and Packers kick the FG quick realizing it would be challenged and might be overturned. In that scenario you buy extra time for giving an opportunity upstairs to review the call. In such case its ok to get 15 yards penalty as it would be enforced in the kickoff anyway even if a team starts at the 50 yard line in kickoff its hard to nail the team deep inside. The differential won’t 15 yards rather it would be less. Most likely outcome would be a touchback.

    One caveat is the opponent since they are in the 50 yard line they may be enticed for an onside kick.

  5. realitypolice says: Oct 8, 2012 7:59 PM

    sportsrube90 says:
    Oct 8, 2012 7:43 PM
    Ummm…. actually it did cost you something, coach. Every scoring play is reviewed. But when you throw the red flag, not only do you get a 15 yards put against you on the kickoff(which I agree doesn’t matter) But you also lose the chance for the called to be reversed because they don’t review it then. So you basically that the call was a bad one, and threw the flag so that it gave you no shot to make it right.
    =================

    The play had already been reviewed and confirmed when he threw the flag.

    Nice try, though.

  6. ndnut says: Oct 8, 2012 8:03 PM

    You can’t kick the PAT until the ref blows his whistle, the signal that the booth has confirmed the call on the field. Is it true that they don’t review it if you throw the flag? If so, that is unfair as we should get scoring plays reviewed no matter what other outside actions there are if it doesn’t nullify the score.

  7. Deb says: Oct 8, 2012 8:10 PM

    Say what you like about this incident, but B.A. did a heckuva job out there yesterday. It was an awkward departure from the Steelers, and I agreed it was time for him to move on. But I’m glad he landed with the Colts. Clearly he’s exactly where he should be. Things happen for a reason.

  8. judsonjr says: Oct 8, 2012 8:29 PM

    NFL should change the penalty to give the kicking team the option of either kicking off, or having the opponent start at their own 10. Either that or it should be the automatic loss of a challenge.

  9. dkdawg says: Oct 8, 2012 8:55 PM

    If this is truly the case than how come Tom Coughlin did not get a penalty when he threw his red flag in the Browns game yesterday?

    Tom was trying to challenge the spot of the ball on a non first down call.

    Are the rules different?

  10. dkdawg says: Oct 8, 2012 8:57 PM

    the refs told Coughlin that the play was not reviewable and he just picked the flag up and put it in his pocket and the game went on

  11. slice60 says: Oct 8, 2012 9:19 PM

    Just another example of bizarro-misleading NFL rules. The league says that all scoring plays are reviewed. Technically, that is not true. In actuality, the replay guy looks at all scoring plays & then THE REPLAY BOOTH GUY decides if the play will be reviewed. If it’s close at all, THE REPLAY BOOTH GUY should buzz down for a review.

    On this particular play, the replay guy decided a review was not needed. Coach Arians disagreed so he threw the flag to make 2 points: 1) He showed up the Replay Booth Guy 2) He got in Walt Anderson’s ear about some of his crew’s calls which had gone against the Colts.

    I LOVED what Arian’s did. After so many years of nice-guy coaches, I want a Colts coach who will get pissed off once in awhile.

  12. getadealdonealready says: Oct 8, 2012 10:14 PM

    wait, I thought only the packers got bad calls against them?

  13. countyk66ers says: Oct 8, 2012 10:34 PM

    Mike McCarthy should have thrown the flag on Nick Perry’s sack that was called roughing the passer even though it wasn’t reviewable.

  14. tdrundmc says: Oct 8, 2012 10:49 PM

    Sure ya did Bruce…

  15. granadafan says: Oct 9, 2012 12:07 AM

    They should throw the coaches out for deliberate cheating.

  16. tluke25 says: Oct 9, 2012 1:39 AM

    Something tells me Arians will be interviewing for some head coaching positions this off season.

  17. christopher525 says: Oct 9, 2012 3:09 AM

    There are too many times when teams commit fouls that are put to the kickoff. They should tack it onto the return instead. You shouldn’t be allowed to commit a penalty, just to have the punishment negated by the kickoff being a touchback, as many are now. If you score on the return, tack it on the P.A.T., if you commit another penalty on the kickoff, double up the yardage.

  18. devrick says: Oct 9, 2012 4:01 AM

    So, you didn’t get your way, so you threw a tantrum. Nicely done. And very effective.

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