John Mara favored the red-flag rule, now wants to see it reviewed


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.

67 responses to “John Mara favored the red-flag rule, now wants to see it reviewed

  1. When his team gets a TD call that goes their way, but wouldn’t hold up under review, he’ll wish he could throw the flag and have it then declared unreviewable. 15 yards is a small price to pay for 7 points.

  2. Of course he pushed for this new rule. Mara is all about himself and screwing over others. See the collusion and removing cap money from the skins and boys. He is also now going to push for no low blocks and bye bye skins running game. What a tool.

  3. How about ejecting the coach who throws the flag? This way, there’s still a punishment harsher than a fine, but the integrity of the game isn’t compromised.

  4. Mindboggling how a foolish rule like this came to be in the first place. If they want to give the coach a penalty fine but why negate the use of replay and let a bad call stand?? Bizarre!! Makes no sense at all.

    BTW a creative coach could use this horrible rule to his advantage. Let’s say the coach knows his team just scored a bogus TD that would be overturned on review – he knows the refs will automatically review it so he throws the red flag and gets the penalty but locks out any possible change in the ruling because the refs can no longer review it.
    A coach could use this rule when a bogus play benefits his own team.

  5. The rule needs to change, but a must larger issue must also be addressed. How could a professional referee miss that call by that much? It’s not like it was borderline or even close. Everyone of the the ref’s was out of position to make a simple call of runner down by contact? Is everyone of the officials waiting for the other guy to blow the whistle?
    Some of the calls that I’ve seen overturned by review this year were blown by a mile. Fumbles called when the runner was clearly down, out of bounds when the receiver clearly had both feet in…and then the exact opposite calls of no fumble when the ball was coming loose way before the runner was down and touchdowns called on clearly out of bounds runners.
    Look, I know the game looks very different at the real time speed that the calls are made, and we have the luxury of super slow motion reversible/ stop motion shots from five different angles but the refs have to do better. I think they have become to reliant on the review cameras and they just throw a call out there knowing the review will get it right.
    The real issue is we need better game calling and the red flag rule will become moot.

  6. The NFL game has become unwatchable.

    The league is run by lawyers and we have lost all common sense. A catch isn’t a catch. A clean hit isn’t a legal hit. A non-touchdown is declared a touchdown because someone dropped a red flag. The lawyers have ruined a once great game.

    There should NEVER be a rule that allows a non-touchdown play to be declared a touchdown for any reason – that is stupidity that could only be justified by the contortionist lawyers in the NFL.

    I used to watch every game available, now I can’t even finish watching my local team game. Time to give up on the NFL…

  7. Just because you’re filthy rich doesn’t mean you have an average IQ. The dopes running the NFL (Not For Logic) need to adopt the NCAA rules to save themselves further revelations on their dumbness.

  8. I’ve said for a while that the rule was misapplied on that play. The game and play clocks stop until after the next play (on scoring plays) so no delay occurred. There is no way the intent was to prevent an automatic challenge. Schwartz threw the red flag to challenge the play and that forces the official to listen to his reason. That last part does not happen on an automatic review. The replay official isn’t perfect as proven by the Trindon Holliday play and I do not blame a coach for wanting to make an argument on such a game-changing play. I can see a need to prevent situations similar to the London Fletcher strategy but the officials incorrectly applied that rule at least twice this season.

  9. can you believe the stupidity of a league that actually implements a rule like this. this is classic dopey rich guy stuff. instead of getting the call right they would rather do something spiteful like this. if there is karma the Giants will lose a game this year since dopey Mara wanted the rule cause he lost a game and was sad on his private jet that night.

  10. Just make the right call, without slowing down the game too much. Sometimes I wonder if the refs are paid off by gambling interests.

  11. 2nd grade kids won’t put as idiotic rule as this one when making rules on their daily plays. But hey, that is NFL, house the high degree idiots.

  12. hey boo ‘the redskins are lucky draft picks weren’t stripped.’ that’s what Mara said anyways shortly after stripping us of any free agent money the day the free agency opens.

  13. How about you have a change of heart John Mara and remove yourself from the NFL. And please take your crony, the commissioner with you. You are “violating the spirit of the game” with your actions and comments. Tool.

  14. What was happening was coaches delaying the game by playing naive (challenging unchallengable plays) so that their staff can review options.

    The rule change, in spirit was needed and badly needs to be in the rule book. It simply shouldn’t relate to a play that is going to be reviewd irregardless of a coach or player delaying the game. That the Competition Committee got lazy and or stupid shouldn’t way into whether or not the spirit behind the rule was spot on.

    Resolving this isn’t brain surgury. SCORING PLAYS and TURNOVERS are automatic reviews! Anything else that takes place should be dealt with separtately. Competition Committee should be ashamed that they left the opening to misinterpret (the spirtit) of the rule implementation and will need five minutes to tweak the rule/interpretation (if need be).

  15. That really was the thought process in implementing this rule???
    Doesn’t make sense…once the ball is spotted isn’t it considered “the next play”? So if a penalty was commited after the ball is spotted then you wouldn’t be able to review the previous play.
    I guess I’m wrong about that?

  16. That has got to be the dumbest, most spiteful rule ever! Who’s on the competition committee, a bunch of 5 year olds?

  17. jaxdolfan, it doesn’t work that way. You just cannot benefit from a review if you are flagged with a penalty that delays the game. If the review was to benefit another team, that can still happen.

  18. Cut the drama.

    The rule has a purpose….it just clearly wasn’t thought out in its entirety. It has been around 2 years and this is the first time this type of thing has occurred.

    Go back….revise the rule to eliminate that the play then “can’t be reviewed” and this is done with.

  19. So I see John Mara is still looking for ways to screw over the Redskins. This is just stupid. Even if you want to punish intentional penalties, why make the act of throwing a red flag a penalty? If you challenge a play that was already going to be reviewed, why not take away a challenge. Why make the punishment the exact antithesis of replay? Replay was invented to get it right but this dumb rules says “if you commit a penalty, we’ll punish you by not getting it right”. So stupid.

    But am not surprised that this guy was so mad at a Redskins bit of gamesmanship that he decided to punish the entire league and fans. Question is why does this moron hold so much power?

  20. People like Mara really underline the need for an neutral governing body. It has been proven again and again that Mara influences rule changes and decisions to benefit his own team.

  21. Mara isn’t worried about the redskins. Are you seriously that dumb people? The redskins haven’t won a title in 21 years. Last year while your team was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the last title won the giants were winning their 2nd in five years. I swear you get your first back to back wins in about 2-3 years and your fans come out in hoards on the comments section for every article. Give it a rest. And yea talk about the Monday night game coming up bc then we will see who still runs the show. And while you Internet diehards are on here commenting ill be in the front row with my giants gear on.

  22. What most seem to be missing is that the rule isn’t probably written about red flags being thrown. Its most likely written about ANY illegal act that is committed to delay time after a play and before another to get the benefit of a challenge. It would be the same had Detroit been out of timeouts during the final 2 minutes and Houston lined up quickly after a play to snap the ball before a review could take place and Detroit committed a penalty to stop them.
    I find it funny that Washington is also known as a the team to get penalized for calling back to back timeouts.

  23. cahootie says:
    Nov 24, 2012 8:46 AM
    I would automatically charge the team with a review and time out, but still do the review. /quote

    I actually like that idea.

    Referee: “Since the idiot threw the red flag on the play that was going to be reviewed anyway, the team is charged with one review and timeout. I now will review the play like I originally was going to before someone interrupted me with their stupidity!”

    Jim (in nelson’s voice): “Ha-Ha!”

  24. After initially beating up on Schwartz about this, I’m going to give the guy a little slack. Easy to call him dumb or for people to say, even sitting at home (Teddy Bruschi), that they knew the rule. Ya. You were sitting at home. You weren’t in the heat of battle, fighting against the #1 team in your league and the refs hand them an obvious gift.

    Schwartz still committed an error that cost him team egregiously, but, that doesn’t make him an idiot—just a bit of a hot head. Chill coach. But, NFL, fix a rule that feels PGA Dumb, where players lose tourneys on technicalities.

  25. It didn’t cost anyone a game; that’s ridiculous revisionist history. It allowed a touchdown to stand in what was eventually a close game. To say the Lions lost the game because of this controversy is short-sighted.

  26. I watched no football on turkey day and it was great, but I live in the country with a thousands of things to do. It’s a shame people have nothing better to do then watch a diminished product.

  27. It really wouldn’t be a bad rule if it were written and enforced exactly (and only) as Mara explained he intended. In my opinion, all such plays that are ordinarily reviewable, should be reviewed anyway, regardless of circumstances; then let the officials determine if a penalty is warranted based on those extenuating circumstances. Baseball uses the EC theory quite successfully. NFL won’t eliminate the rule, but they should and (no doubt) will tweak it. Too much is at stake. Each game is literally a little over 6% of a teams season; and when play-off calculations are made, it is often a zero percent differential (requiring a tie-breaker) that makes the difference. Mara had the right idea, just did not exercise due diligence in following up with the language of the rule. Bad rule as presently written, so he does deserve some egg on his face for that. Benedict would be appropriate.

  28. @rcb0424

    Mara is most definitely worried about the Redskins. If it wasn’t for the refs calling a phantom leg whip and an imaginary illegal formation, Skins are in first place. The Giants are the worst team to ever win a SuperBowl.

  29. Mara didn’t write the rule you knuckleheads, the Competition Committee did. I love how anytime the NY media asks him a question, it turns into a conspiracy against the Skins and Cowboys because the owners smacked them down for being not part of the group.

  30. @rcb0424

    You really think this is about the Giants and Skins?? Wake up.

    People are upset with the NFL governance structure because Mara has an office at 345 Park Ave. He is pushing his agenda, no matter the consequences.

    Ask yourself this, if the game in 2010 didn’t include the Giants, does Mara bother with this rule?

    If you actually read the post on this site, none Skins and Cowboy fans are equally upset with Mara’s actions – even when the cap penalties actually added extra cash to 28 other teams.

  31. It all comes down to the definition of “unsportsmanlike conduct”, mistakenly throwing a red flag should not qualify for that.

  32. I hope all of you realize that nothing gets passed without a majority rule from all of the owners. Before all you geniuses post about how greedy and selfish the maras are, do some research about the family. The nfl would be non existent had it not been for this family.

  33. Gravy

    Just because you’re filthy rich doesn’t mean you have an average IQ.


    How about rostering up 2 SB winning teams? Your jealousy brings a smile to my face EVERY time. 🙂

  34. It’s a great rule. It’s an IQ test for coaches… Schwartz… FAIL. Smith… FAIL. What do these coaches have in common? Their teams will never win with them as coaches.

  35. Taintedlombardis


    Mara is most definitely worried about the Redskins. If it wasn’t for the refs calling a phantom leg whip and an imaginary illegal formation, Skins are in first place. The Giants are the worst team to ever win a SuperBowl.


    Twice! Hahaha
    They’re the worst and the luckiest right???

    I love reading the jealousy of other fans of inferior teams. It’s like a reminder of not only winning the SB twice but also how much it negatively impacted other fans for years to come. Keep crying and maybe they won’t count…..

  36. I’m glad none of you guys run the league. Also why I don’t comment here much. You wouldn’t have the NFL as it is today without the likes of the Mara’s, Rooney’s, Davis to name a few

  37. Too bad this ill-conceived rule had to ruin the entire season for the Lions. They were playing a really good game against a very good team that did not need a gift TD. I feel bad for them and their fans because of this foolish debacle.

  38. technology is better than human error…just eliminate the refs entirely….i mean when ever they want they can throw a flag on any given play at any given time…….take the human element 100% out of the equation.

  39. What I don’t like is that the replay officials for some reason miss plays that should be reviewed. For example holliday a week ago dropping the ball before the end zone… Replay officials weren’t/didn’t review the play. But if the coach throws a flag to challenge they still can’t?

  40. These guys already reviewed this rule and they liked it! Despite the fact that you could hypothetically create a situation like this to test it out in theory so presumably they like it despite how it played out in Detroit. These guys do not know how to make rules to make the game better, and there are tons of things that need to be changed.

    How about reviewing the guys that are in charge of reviewing the rules, and get somebody that has great ideas about ALL of the problems with the rulebook?

  41. Then why approve a rule if it didn’t specify that if a penalty occurs then its non reviewable? So that rule created an actual penalty that nullified the review…seems the intent it was for wasn’t clarified.

  42. Old school ownership trumps all other. Sorry to those who can’t acknowledge and/or appreciate. Maras go way back.

  43. yeah but it IS a delay if you throw the red flag on a scoring play:

    this game is a business and TV time is BIG money per minute…

    when they throw the red flag, even if the ref is already going to the hood…. he’s gotta stop, go to the coach concerned have a conference to ask what the coach is challenging, talk with the other refs to make sure everyone agrees it’s within the rules and reviewable, THEN move on….

    maybe it’s 45 seconds… maybe it’s 1:30… but whatever it is, it delays the game and costs a bunch of money unnecessarily…

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