Giants owner John Mara, who supported the NFL rule preventing any play from being reviewed if a coach wrongly threw his challenge flag, has had a change of heart.
Mara e-mailed Mike Garafolo of USA Today to say the rule — which handed the Texans a gift touchdown on Thursday because Lions coach Jim Schwartz wrongly challenged the obviously wrong call — needs to be reviewed.
“I certainly plan to address that with the competition committee,” Mara wrote. “I think that play needs to be reviewed and I’m sure we will have a discussion about the rule in February.”
Mara had previously favored the rule in part because of something that happened in a 2010 game between his Giants and the Redskins: After a close play went against them, the Redskins wanted some extra time to determine whether they should challenge it. So after the officials had spotted the ball for the next play, Redskins linebacker London Fletcher walked up to the ball and kicked it, delaying the game and giving the Redskins more time to consider a challenge. Fletcher was flagged for that move, but the Redskins were still allowed to challenge, and Mara wanted a rule that said a team can’t benefit from a replay review after committing a penalty to delay the next snap.
But on Thursday, Schwartz’s challenge didn’t delay the next snap. Schwartz was simply asking the officials to review the play, which they were going to do anyway. It’s dumb to take away a replay review just because a coach asks for a replay review. This is a rule the NFL needs to change. The sooner, the better.