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.