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Jim Schwartz says officials told him he couldn’t challenge a reviewable play

Jim Schwartz AP

Lions coach Jim Schwartz and the NFL’s replay system go together about as well as oil and water.

Last Thanksgiving, Schwartz threw a challenge flag when he shouldn’t have and wound up getting a penalty while wiping out the possibility of a challenge due to a rule that has since been changed. In Sunday’s loss to the Bengals, Schwartz says he was told by officials he couldn’t challenge a play that he was actually allowed to challenge.

It came in the second quarter when Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap blocked a David Akers field goal and Bengals safety Reggie Nelson recovered. Nelson returned the ball 16 yards and then appeared to lateral it forward to Dunlap, who then appeared to bat it in the direction of cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick returned the ball nine more yards to the Lions’ 40-yard line before being tackled. Schwartz wanted to challenge, but said after the game that the officials told him there was nothing to challenge.

“They had forwarded the ball,” Schwartz said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I thought it was a forward lateral, but the officials told me that didn’t matter on a blocked kick so decided not to challenge it. They said that there’s no such thing as a forward fumble on a blocked kick. That’s what I was told.”

Former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira, who now works for FOX Sports, said on Twitter during the game that the play was reviewable and that it looked like an illegal forward pass to him. The NFL made no judgment on the lateral, but said in a statement that the play was reviewable under Rule 15, Section 9, Article 4(d) which applies to any player not down by contact regardless of whether or not there was a blocked kick during the play.

There’s not much Schwartz can do at this point beyond complain to the league office and silently pine for a day when everyone involved in the game actually knows the rules about the review process.

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51 Responses to “Jim Schwartz says officials told him he couldn’t challenge a reviewable play”
  1. mt99808 says: Oct 21, 2013 11:31 AM

    The officiating was just awful in this game. The offensive PI on Calvin was a beauty of a call.

  2. lionsfaninthe505 says: Oct 21, 2013 11:32 AM

    Learn the rules coach…it’ll serve you well as an assistant at some D-2 College next year.

  3. joetoronto says: Oct 21, 2013 11:32 AM

    Head Coaches in the NFL should know the rules, ALL the rules.

  4. bearfan3454 says: Oct 21, 2013 11:39 AM

    Lovie will be the HC in Detroit next year. Schwartz you have 9 games left, hope you enjoy them.

  5. thestrategyexpert says: Oct 21, 2013 11:40 AM

    Well Schwartz misunderstood then. The play was no longer about the block once the carrier had possession and the game was in a standard return mode situation. The ref must have thought he was asking on the basis that it was an accidental fumble, which naturally a challenge would have reversed. But the ref wasn’t talking from that dialogue perspective because he wasn’t challenged at that point. Schwartz needed to ACTUALLY challenge the play, not inquire about a hypothetical challenge when he’s not on the same page with what he thinks he’s inquiring about.

  6. snapthejap says: Oct 21, 2013 11:40 AM

    it’s SUUUCH a good thing that Goodell panicked, under public scrutiny, to get a deal done w/the officials. they have been HORRIBLE since their new CBA and there is ZERO accountability for these horrible calls (none worse than that Thanksgiving disaster– DET/HOU, last year). These officials have “missed” quite a few calls that have hurt the Lions (extra 5 yards vs SF, extra timeout vs SF, TD run vs HOU, and this)– at what point does a conspiracy become more than the insane ramblings of a fan?

  7. kriswd40 says: Oct 21, 2013 11:41 AM

    As I was watching this game, I was wondering why that wasn’t reviewed. Guess now we know.

    Officials really should be fined when they don’t know the rules. In a game ultimately decided by 3 points, a few extra yards might have made a difference.

  8. nagaswan says: Oct 21, 2013 11:42 AM

    Audio or it didn’t happen

  9. radrntn says: Oct 21, 2013 11:43 AM

    nfl is like the irs…way to many rules…keep it simple

  10. richcranium2112 says: Oct 21, 2013 11:44 AM

    The NFL’s Rule Book is getting too confusing for anyone to follow these days.

    Time for a complete review focused on reducing complexity.

    If Schwartz can’t figure it out – who can??

  11. trumb1mj says: Oct 21, 2013 11:45 AM

    I’m not the biggest Schwartz fan here but what did he do wrong in this instance? He’s obviously gun shy from last Thanksgiving and had a chance to ask the official if he could challenge.

    Even if technically he could challenge, the officials of this game were not going to let him.

    The NFL needs to discipline this crew for not knowing the rules…

  12. mt99808 says: Oct 21, 2013 11:46 AM

    Lions need the chin, not Lovie

  13. mn1288 says: Oct 21, 2013 11:47 AM

    bearfan3454 says:
    Oct 21, 2013 11:39 AM
    Lovie will be the HC in Detroit next year. Schwartz you have 9 games left, hope you enjoy them.

    —————–

    nothing like replacing an inept head coach with another inept head coach.

  14. matthewmegabush says: Oct 21, 2013 11:47 AM

    Who cares Jim? There is way too much talent on that team to be losing. It’s sad to say, but imagine what Andy Reid could do with the Lions. I like Jim, but I like wins a lot more. Scott Linehan needs to go, but I do have one question for him before he does. Scott whats with not running the ball in the red zone? Run The Ball!

    On another note. Mikel Leshore, and next year 2nd rd pick for Josh Gordon. Jim make the trade already, I am tired of excuses, who cares? Just fix it!

  15. bradygoat says: Oct 21, 2013 11:49 AM

    joetoronto says: Oct 21, 2013 11:32 AM

    Head Coaches in the NFL should know the rules, ALL the rules.

    …can’t argue that, but the officials there to ENFORCE the rules should probably know them a little better than the coaches.

  16. bengalsucker says: Oct 21, 2013 11:50 AM

    Or the refs said “Look coach, we’ve let your corners get away with mugging the Bengals receivers all day long. How about you let this one slide?” I saw 3 PI’s that should have been called on one cornerback for the Lions. Game is entirely different if those were called.

  17. jimthebuilder27 says: Oct 21, 2013 11:51 AM

    The problem is the NFL Rulebook is too thick. Coaches don’t know it, players don’t either. Even the refs don’t know it or enforce it wrong.

    The NFL needs to do one of two things. Either subtract or simplify rules (rather than add to them) OR have everyone in the league take a year or two of law school.

    Personally I hope for the former, not the latter.

  18. rgwhodey says: Oct 21, 2013 11:52 AM

    Refs were horrible Scott Greens crew is awful, both ways, never seen so many offensive pass interference calls in one game…

  19. bklion says: Oct 21, 2013 11:53 AM

    I find it “interesting” that these types of things always happen to the Lions. I also find it “interesting” that Suh hasnt drawn ONE holding call this year, or CJ ONE PI call. But I’m supposed to believe the NFL is a meritocracy? And Merton hanks publicly states the league is trying to “course correct” Suh’s play. I wonder if he played for a favored nation staus team like the Pack or NE if they would treat him, and the team in general this way. I think not. But old man Ford keeps taking it as long as they let him keep his Tday game.

  20. bengalsucker says: Oct 21, 2013 11:53 AM

    Oh and before anyone flares up about the no-call on Adam Jones against Megatron, it was an incidental trip. Those are never called as PI and shouldn’t be.

  21. lionshawk says: Oct 21, 2013 11:53 AM

    You could see Schwartz on the sideline with his flag out wanting to throw it but the referee shaking his head no. That was a big part of the game. It also looked like Dunlap struck the side of the O-line man’s head which is why he just slumped stunned to the side as Dunlap rushed unblocked up the middle. I understand why Schwartz didn’t throw the flag afraid of furthering the placement of the ball by challenging a play but he could have used a time out or changed his review to ball placement if after talking on the sideline with the officials they still insisted he couldn’t review that.

    Also I was stunned they didn’t call the Calvin Johnson play where he lost his helmet as a hit on a defenseless receiver as he was airborne with his arms outstretched when the safety planted his helmet in his armpit.

  22. metalhead65 says: Oct 21, 2013 11:54 AM

    stop crying schwartz and learn the rules and do a better job of coaching! he is the biggest cry baby in the NFL! face it you and your team are overrated losers! always some excuse when they lose and always cries win or lose!

  23. jiveturkeygobbler says: Oct 21, 2013 12:00 PM

    Whiner.

  24. eightandeightlions says: Oct 21, 2013 12:05 PM

    A little man once mockingly taunted Jim Harbaugh by shouting”Learn the #$%$ rules.

    Wait….. This is the same guy?

  25. ambitoos says: Oct 21, 2013 12:06 PM

    The Chargers just got penalized for throwing a challenge flag in the Jaguars game. McCoy tried to pick it up but he didn’t get away with it.

  26. 63deuceman says: Oct 21, 2013 12:10 PM

    “Head Coaches in the NFL should know the rules, ALL the rules.”

    “Learn the rules coach…it’ll serve you well as an assistant at some D-2 College next year.”
    __________________

    Look, I understand that Schwartz is a hothead and a toolbag at times… But the article states that Schwartz was not allowed to challenge a play not because he didn’t know the rule, but because the official didn’t.

  27. timtheenchanter1 says: Oct 21, 2013 12:14 PM

    Does a blocked kick count as a turnover that is automatically reveiwed? If so, isn’t it the case that the replay system is supposed to apply to reviewing the enire play, not just the part that is, in effect, a turnover. In that case the issue would have been with the replay booth for not reviewing the whole play.

    If that’s the case, I can understand why they told him it wasn’t reveiwable. If that was their interpretation, I would have expected them to thow a 15 yd penalty on him for flagging a play that is already reviewed.

  28. johnnycash19 says: Oct 21, 2013 12:22 PM

    bengalsucker says: Oct 21, 2013 11:50 AM

    Or the refs said “Look coach, we’ve let your corners get away with mugging the Bengals receivers all day long. How about you let this one slide?” I saw 3 PI’s that should have been called on one cornerback for the Lions. Game is entirely different if those were called.

    —–

    I agree, every time I watched Dalton pass it was to a wide open receiver. HOW DARE THOSE DB’S LEAVE THOSE WR’S WIDE OPEN!

  29. countduku says: Oct 21, 2013 12:24 PM

    As a fan of a Detroit division rival, I am so happy that schwartz is still the coach. How did lovie smith lose his job after 10-6 last season, and schwartz kept his 4-12, even after the lions were predicted too be the better team????

  30. nbooat says: Oct 21, 2013 12:25 PM

    That 9 yards meant nothing…Most offensive PI’s called in one game, against both teams…Quit blaming everyone else, Jim…If you can’t win with all of this talent, you need to look at yourself!

  31. footballchic777 says: Oct 21, 2013 12:26 PM

    Is it my imagination, our aren’t all turnovers reviewed in the booth. Wouldn’t they have corrected it?

  32. badoglick says: Oct 21, 2013 12:36 PM

    I officiate flag football for youths aged 8-12. It is incredibly frustrating how coaches that have been with the organization for years, still can’t grasp the simplest of rules. And those are volunteers for a local sports league that is never, ever, ever, going to be on tv. So how is it, that Jim Schwartz, who is paid millions of dollars to coach a sport that all of us have spent our whole lives watching and understanding, still can’t seem to grasp the rules? And it’s not just him. Same thing goes for Belichek. He was told the rules. But coaches don’t want to hear what they don’t want to hear, and their stubbornness costs them from every level from flag football to the pros.

    With that said, the refs should know the rules, and should be fined for not knowing them. But Schwartz has no room to complain if he doesn’t know them either. He’s been in the league long enough to know how it works.

  33. Stupid Lions Fan says: Oct 21, 2013 12:39 PM

    If you’ve ever watched a Lion game the refs LOVE to give us the short end of the stick. It’s clockwork. I don’t know if it’s Suh or what but their is no doubt in my mind there is favoritism because it’s just way to consistently negative for the Lions. It’s amazing and appalling at the same time.

  34. otis52gsh says: Oct 21, 2013 12:43 PM

    Bad teams and coaches blame officiating crews for their own mistakes. Same old same old Detroit

  35. Stupid Lions Fan says: Oct 21, 2013 12:57 PM

    otis52gsh says:
    Oct 21, 2013 12:43 PM
    Bad teams and coaches blame officiating crews for their own mistakes. Same old same old Detroit
    ___________________________

    I can’t stand to see such ignorance. Explain to us how this was Schwartz’s mistake.

  36. 2qswing says: Oct 21, 2013 1:00 PM

    The Detroit Lions should win every game they play 30-10. No excuses for squandering this talent on both sides of the ball. Coaches and players underachieving.

  37. sosuhme says: Oct 21, 2013 1:07 PM

    What is all of this nonsense about Schwartz whining and blaming the officials? He was asked at his press conference why he didn’t challenge the call. He answered the question by explaining that the refs told him he could not challenge the call. I don’t know how anyone could expect Schwartz to challenge the call after being told by the ref he could not. I could imagine the uproar if Schwartz would have thrown the challenge flag right after the ref told him he couldn’t. And Schwartz never came anywhere close to “blaming” the officials or “whining” about the call. But don’t let facts get in the way of your perceptions.

  38. packersarethebest says: Oct 21, 2013 1:11 PM

    Bottom-feeding coach for a bottom-feeding franchise making excuses typical of a bottom-feeder team!

  39. thelastpieceofcheese says: Oct 21, 2013 1:20 PM

    NFL officiating has gone the way of NBA officiating, where the league directs officials to give special treatment to selected teams and players, because they raise the league’s ratings.

  40. cincinasty87 says: Oct 21, 2013 1:26 PM

    Refs did horrible in this game , ALOT of missed calls for both teams . As well as alot of stupid calls . Game could have went either way . Those extra 10 yards didnt help that much any way Cinci was driving .

  41. daroc88 says: Oct 21, 2013 1:29 PM

    Is a blocked kick a turnover? I think all of the questions and speculation in the article can be avoided by that question

  42. brassknuckles47 says: Oct 21, 2013 1:31 PM

    How do the fans in Detroit put up with this guy? He is an IDIOT!

  43. bengalsucker says: Oct 21, 2013 1:32 PM

    lionshawk says:
    Oct 21, 2013 11:53 AM
    You could see Schwartz on the sideline with his flag out wanting to throw it but the referee shaking his head no. That was a big part of the game. It also looked like Dunlap struck the side of the O-line man’s head which is why he just slumped stunned to the side as Dunlap rushed unblocked up the middle. I understand why Schwartz didn’t throw the flag afraid of furthering the placement of the ball by challenging a play but he could have used a time out or changed his review to ball placement if after talking on the sideline with the officials they still insisted he couldn’t review that.

    Also I was stunned they didn’t call the Calvin Johnson play where he lost his helmet as a hit on a defenseless receiver as he was airborne with his arms outstretched when the safety planted his helmet in his armpit.
    ————————-
    I can’t tell you how many holding calls I counted that weren’t called agains the Lions. On top of defensive PI’s that weren’t called on them either.

    Oh and you hurt your point on the Johnson hit. The helmet was in his armpit therefore placing the shoulder in his chest. Exactly how he’s supposed to hit and it was clean. The ball was at Johnson. That’s a good no call. It was clean. Reaching a little aren’t we?

  44. bengalsucker says: Oct 21, 2013 1:34 PM

    johnnycash19 says:
    Oct 21, 2013 12:22 PM
    bengalsucker says: Oct 21, 2013 11:50 AM

    Or the refs said “Look coach, we’ve let your corners get away with mugging the Bengals receivers all day long. How about you let this one slide?” I saw 3 PI’s that should have been called on one cornerback for the Lions. Game is entirely different if those were called.

    —–

    I agree, every time I watched Dalton pass it was to a wide open receiver. HOW DARE THOSE DB’S LEAVE THOSE WR’S WIDE OPEN!

    Couldn’t have been watching the same game I was. I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve read now pointing out how many PI calls weren’t made against the Lions that should have been. Definitely weren’t watching the same game.

  45. whatevnfl says: Oct 21, 2013 1:38 PM

    In other news, Dean Blandino just changed his phone number.

  46. linemanguy74 says: Oct 21, 2013 1:42 PM

    Once again amateur officials controlling a billion $ business

  47. otis52gsh says: Oct 21, 2013 1:47 PM

    @stupid lions fan

    Because the coach should know their IS a difference between a forward fumble and forward lateral.

  48. f0rem4n says: Oct 21, 2013 1:49 PM

    joetoronto says:
    Oct 21, 2013 11:32 AM
    Head Coaches in the NFL should know the rules, ALL the rules.

    …but if the official doesn’t know them, what good does that do. Coach does not get final say.

  49. osiris33 says: Oct 21, 2013 2:03 PM

    Maybe the NFL just needs to have fewer rules, with less complex interpretations. You know, like the game used to be before Roger Goodell came along.

  50. melikefootball says: Oct 21, 2013 3:18 PM

    All you have to do is sit and watch numerous games and you see how bad the officiating is getting. They have no consistency from game to game. Can you imagine the guff the replacements officials would get if they told a coach this.

  51. lionshawk says: Oct 21, 2013 5:40 PM

    Bengalsucker

    In regards to the Calvin Johnson no call. The rules for a hit on a defenseless receiver are clear. You cannot blow up a guy that is reaching for the ball.

    This is from the NFL rule book on hitting a defenseless receiver which includes a player reaching for the ball to make a catch.
    (2) Lowering the head and making forcible contact with the top/crown or forehead/”hairline” parts of the helmet against any part of the defenseless player’s body.

    He buried the crown of the helmet into Megatron while he was airborne and it was a no call.

    I would be surprised if he isn’t fined.

    Megatron is like Shaq was. He is always being interfered with by DBs because they can’t cover him straight up and the refs allow it because his so massive and strong they see him differently that other receivers.

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