So how does a coach decide to throw the challenge flag?

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The fateful decision of Bears coach John Fox to challenge a play that he thought was a touchdown but that turned out to be a touchback has resulted in plenty of criticism of Fox’s method for determining to throw the red flag.

And that reminded me of something Saints coach Sean Payton said last week during a PFT PM/PFT Live interview regarding his own protocol for deciding when it’s time to risk a time out by asking for replay review.

“That’s the six million dollar question,” Payton said regarding the number of people in position to influence him. “I think at home games there’s two upstairs looking, you know, offensively and defensively. Both have their eyes on it. Generally speaking over the years when you hear them saying, ‘Throw the flag.’ You hear this overwhelming, you know ‘Get it out,’ you know that they’ve seen what you haven’t seen yet. When it’s crickets and it’s kind of quiet then you’re kind of weighing what you felt you saw on the field and then what’s going to be the benefit of the review? Now on away games you’re relying on where the television monitors are up in the booth. That can vary per stadium. If it’s going to benefit you I mean certainly you’re not going to see it right away on the Jumbotron. That each stadium still to this day is wise enough generally to at least slow that process down. So you’re trusting the guys upstairs for the obvious ones. . . . I’m relying on the enthusiasm. I’m relying on what it sounds like.”

Fox may be asked plenty of questions this week about how he goes about making these decisions. Whatever the explanation, he clearly made the wrong decision on Sunday, potentially costing his team a touchdown in a game the Bears lost only by seven points.

14 responses to “So how does a coach decide to throw the challenge flag?

  1. Fox personifies loser. The dude would rather run the ball and keep a one score lead than throw a time or two and put a team away.
    He’s really good at making a bad team good, but unfortunately he’s also really good at making a great team good.

  2. Every Bears fan hopes John Fox will have very few more opportunities to throw a challenge flag or make any other decisions on the team’s behalf, for that matter. There were over 5,500 no-shows at Soldier Field yesterday — for a Packers game. Any bump Trubisky might have given fan interest has been squashed as they realize he has no chance to succeed with the dreadfully predictable playcalling, lack of talent at WR and on O-Line that has significantly regressed from last year. The McCaskeys are a generation behind the curve on virtually all things football but one thing they do notice is empty seats. Changes are coming to the coaching staff, it’s just a matter of how soon.

  3. Your really can’t blame Fox. There was really no way any coach could make that decision in 40 seconds. It took the third angle on replay to see it clearly.
    I doubt any defensive coach would have challenged the call saying it was a fumble out of the end zone.

    So the real question is do you trust your offense at the half yard line to score in 3 or 4 plays or do you through the challenge flag. Clearly Fox didn’t trust his offense.

  4. It’s time to move on from this dolt. Cutler was bad enough and now this guy is doing nothing to move this team forward.

  5. If you’re Mike Tomlin you do it when there is no chance of it being overturned but it will help you deal with your sadness.

  6. DolFan says:
    November 13, 2017 at 9:27 am

    refs got the call wrong though. His foot hit the ground out of bounds BEFORE the ball touched the pylon.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The call was correct. He lost control of the ball before his foot touched out of bounds. Think of it like this…. a runner loses the ball and it’s rolling along in bounds. Then the guy rolls out of bounds but the ball is still on the playing field. Is the play dead? Nope. That’s still a live ball.

  7. The rules call for the booth to call for any replays on TDs or turnovers. So, why can’t the booth call for replays on potential TDs or turnovers? Aren’t they essentially the same plays, except for possibly the call on the field?

  8. A ball that touches anything that is out of bounds ends the play instantaneously. The player was clearly out of bounds and touched the ball prior to it hitting the pylon. Possession of the ball is irrelevant.

  9. The Almighty Cabbage says:

    November 13, 2017 at 10:45 am

    DolFan says:
    November 13, 2017 at 9:27 am

    refs got the call wrong though. His foot hit the ground out of bounds BEFORE the ball touched the pylon.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The call was correct. He lost control of the ball before his foot touched out of bounds. Think of it like this…. a runner loses the ball and it’s rolling along in bounds. Then the guy rolls out of bounds but the ball is still on the playing field. Is the play dead? Nope. That’s still a live ball.
    ————————
    But if the guy touches the ball while he is out of bounds, the play IS dead.
    The question becomes when did he touch out of bounds, if at all, and when did he touch the ball again, if at all.

    To me, it was still the right call.

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