Goodell: Challenge change might come for playoffs


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.

11 responses to “Goodell: Challenge change might come for playoffs

  1. “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.” After weeks of evaluating the comp. comm. didn’t anticipate that the rule to take away an automatic review of a TD would take away an automatic review of a TD?

  2. Football is an emotional sport, and these coaches are not robots, particularly when witnessing a blatant injustice that could end your Season. It is a reality that makes the ‘red-flag’ rule even more ridiculous, not the violation of it. I’m sure back in his day even Einstein angrily kicked over a few plutonium beakers, when the Government told him they were cutting his budget and/or moving up the ‘Drop Day’.

  3. “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.
    If they spent weeks reviewing the potential impact and unintended consequences then the league needs to find new people for that committee. When most fans can see the stupidity in less than 1 minute of thought, there is something wrong with the process. Get rid of the lawyer mentality and stop trying to fix a small problem with a rule that generates much larger problems.

    That said, the rule is not written as poorly as has been reported. The interpretation of the rule is way off base. Schwartz was not trying to delay the game for a better chance at a review (the premise of the rule) since the review was automatically happening anyway. The rule should have never been applied in that situation. It still works in the London Fletcher strategic penalties but not in the Schwartz situation.

  4. This was a stupid rule to start with. I don’t even know why it was instituted. It was ridiculous that the refs missed the call on the RB being down, not only his enture forearm and elbow, but his knee hit, too. And, to fudge it all up the coach, pissed off because the non-replacement refs missed not one, but two points of contact, threw his flag in anger and is further penalized by not having an obvious blown call reviewed?

    No, this rule should be changed, “Not tomorrow. Not after breakfast. NOW!” – Warden Norton from The Shawshank Redemption

  5. ridiculous rule…ridiculous explanation as to why it wont be changed…just ridiculous all the way around….

    should be treated like any other time that a flag gets thrown on a play that cannot be legally challenged. take 10 seconds to tell him that he cant challenge it and tell him why, continue on with the game. the whole point of automatic reviews and challenges is to get the calls right, not to discourage coaches from being proactive about being sure the calls made on the field are correct. wasnt there an incident this year where a WR broke away and flipped the ball just short of the goal line? cant remember which one, but i’m 99% sure it happened. even with the automatic review, the error was not caught so i cant blame schwartz for wanting to challenge such an obvious error. the problem with the automatic challenge is that you cant be sure what exactly they are watching. are they watching the ENTIRE play or just looking for whether or not he was inbounds/out of bounds? making sure he broke the plane of the goal line? you just cant be sure if you dont tell the ref EXACTLY what you want reviewed, as you would if you threw a challenge flag yourself.

    as with the OT rules, if it’s good enough and fair for the playoffs, it should be good enough and fair for the ENTIRE SEASON.

  6. When some kind of committee can come together to decide to bounce Goodell for a good commissioner then then NFL can start cleaning up ALL of if it’s many problems. Start at the top and get the main problem out of there, and then begin the healing process to strengthen the game for the future. That was easy to figure out. Now the NFL just needs to do it.

  7. I was always a fan of Goodell being that he was from WNY but after reading and I see the shady biz that took place under his watch and the decsions that he made to hide the truth from the public on the Pats ONGOING cheating practices, I want to spit in his face. Literally. I can only still believe that Goodell and Kraft have a very very shady relationship.
    And BTW, the Pats are still, I repeat, still cheating.

  8. What about when a player crosses the goal line with the ball and it’s NOT ruled a touchdown on the field? All scoring plays are automatically reviewed, but what about this situation? If the coach of this team is out of challenges, then they are screwed. This is a huge gap in the review system and teams can lose games because of it. When the Competition Committee makes or changes a rule they need to think of it in terms of it happening during the biggest play of the Super Bowl, because inevitably that’s when it will happen.

  9. It really a shame that a bad rule like this can change the playoff picture for several teams, not just the Lions. This rule needs to be changed now!

  10. It’s a good rule. Keep it in. If the coaches can’t remember the one rule of throwing a red flag then they shouldn’t be coaching. Games are won and lost based on penalties, missed calls, bad calls, etc. Player and coaching judgements factor in also. Know the rules! Follow the rules!

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