Lions coach Jim Schwartz’s mistake of throwing a challenge flag, which robbed him of a chance to challenge a touchdown, has prompted calls for a rules change.
But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday night in Detroit the league “definitely,” wouldn’t change in before the end of the regular season, but could in time for the playoffs.
“I don’t expect it before the end of the regular season,” Goodell said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “We may evaluate it as it relates to the postseason. But it certainly will get consideration by the competition committee in the off-season.”
Schwartz’s brain-lock kept him from being able to challenge Justin Forsett’s obvious non-touchdown, since all scoring plays are reviewed automatically, and coaches challenging those plays are penalized and lose the opportunity to have it reviewed.
“Yeah, I know that rule,” Schwartz said after the game. “You can’t challenge a turnover or a scoring play and I overreacted. I was so mad that they didn’t call him down cause he was obviously down on the field. I had the flag out of my pocket before he even scored the touchdown. That’s all my fault. I overreacted in that situation and I cost us a touchdown.”
Goodell said the important part was to not change the rule in haste.
“When we make any rule changes it’s important to look at the unintended consequences of those rules,” Goodell said. “That’s why the competition committee spends weeks evaluating and trying to evaluate will it have an impact on the game that we’re not anticipating.
“We’re going to look at everything, but we’re definitely not changing it for the regular season.”
Fixing it for the playoffs would be a good first step, but it’s also a rule that should never come up again, unless there’s a coach out there dense enough to not learn from Schwartz’s game-deciding mistake.