Martin Mayhew: Flags should be eligible for challenges, not calls that weren’t made


Shortly after the Lions lost to the Cowboys in the playoffs in a game that saw officials pick up a flag for defensive pass interference on Dallas, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino shared that the team has made a proposal to expand replay so that coaches could make challenges involving penalties.

General Manager Martin Mayhew outlined the proposal on Friday and revealed that the suggested change wouldn’t have allowed the Lions to challenge the fateful no-call on the pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew. Mayhew wants coaches to have the ability to challenge penalty calls made by officials, but not for infractions that went uncalled during the play.

“You may have a questionable call during the game, but if it is not called a penalty then you can’t challenge it,” Mayhew said, via “You don’t want to have — all of a sudden, a quarterback throws a 70-yard bomb for a touchdown late in a game or something and then you challenge it and say, ‘Well, somebody was out there holding.’ You don’t want that. If they throw a flag, you can challenge it. It doesn’t solve all the world’s problems, but I think one of the travesties of the game — one of the things that’s going on right now that could be a lot better — is on the Monday after the game, people are talking about the officials and the officiating and the bad calls and this call happened and that call that happened. I think they should be talking about the players on the field and what the players did in the course of the game.”

Others have suggested that everything be reviewable, but Mayhew is adamant that the official should make the “affirmative act” of throwing the flag for any review to take place. The next step for the proposal and any other proposed rules changes is for the competition committee to take a look and decide whether or not to recommend adoption to ownership.

31 responses to “Martin Mayhew: Flags should be eligible for challenges, not calls that weren’t made

  1. As long as the amount of challenges doesn’t go up, otherwise there will be a challenge on virtually every flag and the games will last for 5 hours…

  2. One of the great aspects of SB 49 that got little attention was how the refs just decided to let the Seahawks and Patriots settle it on the field. The flow of the game and the crowd involvement was so much greater than having a cheap holding or PI penalty every 3 plays. Given how awful the refs generally are anyway, having them make less calls can only improve things.

  3. He makes a good point. It’s frustrating as-is when a big play gets called back for a penalty on the other side of the field from the play that had no impact. It would be awful if a big play got taken over by a fine-tooth comb to find any minor infraction like a lineman grabbing a jersey for a brief instant.

  4. What is wrong with iPads on the sideline with quick reviews?

    2 challenges per team, per game, with 2 penalty challenges as well.

    Have some technology with an official on the sideline for review to speed it up.

  5. Not to be negative, but wouldn’t that just encourage the refs to throw more flags if they aren’t sure of something? Especially late in the game when it would just go to a booth review?

  6. Cue the Dalles fans who say the Lions fan are still crying about the non called defensive pass interference call in 3, 2. 1………

  7. Some non-calls should stand as challengeable. 12 men on the field comes to mind. Yeah, it can be a ticky-tack call at times, but it is part of the game (ask the bruins about too many men on the ice).

    Egregious penalties that were not called and do affect the play should be fair game. Of course, this becomes a very slippery slope.

  8. As long as pass interference becomes a call that can be challenged, then things will be much better.

    Too many games suffer because a poor interference call has been made and the resulting field position changes the complexion of the game.

  9. Centralized real time review like the NHL uses would improve officiating… a lot, also allowing the coaches to use their challenges however would not impact the time considerably if coaches do not get more challenges per game. Both the Lions and Cowboys got screwed.

  10. If that rule was in place … The Seahawks would have won the SB.
    Butler tripped Lockette … How in the world did the refs miss that.

  11. Also, could a challenge be made for a player running on to the field without a helmet to challenge a penalty call? So the referee could be asked to go under the hood and confirm whether or not Dez Bryant had his helmet on or off. In TWO CONSECUTIVE GAMES?

  12. a flag was thrown, then picked up.

    Because of that, it should be able to be challenged.

    In my opinion at least. They acknowledged it could be (was) a penalty, then decided not to. That should be challenged.

  13. Why don’t we just have a bunch of a-hole,d-bag lawyers argue every nuance of everything in every game(from the dept. of redundancy dept.),its ridicurus,leave the game alone already.its long enough with all the commercials jammed in already.

  14. “If that rule was in place … The Seahawks would have won the SB.
    Butler tripped Lockette … How in the world did the refs miss that.”

    Keep dreaming.

    For one thing the refs called the 5 yard version of roughing the kicker at the end of the Pats first drive when it clearly was the 15 yard variety since the Hawks player nailed the plant leg.

    They also didn’t call the helmet to helmet on Edelman in the 4th quarter.

    The Butlter “trip” of Lockette was debatable as something that was totally unapparent at full speed, but only at one fraction of a second of the massive slow mo replay did it look like a trip. But even it if was, that’s 1 missed call against the Pats and 2 against the Seahawks so you still came out ahead.

    And the weakest most whiny excuse in the world is “its the refs fault we lost the game”.

  15. Marvin in Lewis threw a challenge flag when the officials didnt catch the Buccaneers having 12 men on the field. 2 plays in a row. What do u do in that case? Especially if you dont have a timeout?

  16. Since you can challenge almost anything already I say just simplify it and review every play after the play is played. you already only get 10 minutes of actual game play so you might as well slow it down more and throw in some more wacky tv ads

  17. The game has enough challenges as it is and has slowed to crawl. How about investing in competent full time officials instead of part time old geezers supplimenting their fixed incomes.

  18. @harrisonhits2

    Lol … No excuses just wondering why the refs started calling more penalties when the pats were losing. Only 4 penalties called 2 of them were offsides when the game was tied or Pats winning.

    I wish they did call the helmet to helmet hit … Edelman would have been out of the game.
    What about the intentional grounding with Brady they missed. The penalty to Sherman on Brady ‘s INT was laughable hitting below the waist call when he used his hands. The out of bounds hit on Vereen would never have been called if the Pats were winning. How many times were the Pats DBs were holding.
    Face it the refs helped the Pats more than the Seahawks but that’s no excuse because at the end the seahawks lost the game by a bad play call.

  19. Cue the Packers fans who say the Dallas fans are still crying about a bad call on a Dez Bryant complete the process in 3..2..1…

  20. Well now I think the Refs had to make the Lions lose, you know they would not been able to stand it. What someone new wins a playoff game instead of Dallas or Green Bay we can not have that lol.

    Look the review does not work because if the officials don’t want to admit they errored they are the one that determine it. Now I know it been several years but I will never forget the GB Packers play the MN Vikings and Shako does summersalt in the endzone with the ball he had full control of that ball. It never movedand he came with afterward. Refs said oh it touched the ground imcomplete. Then they upheld it after reviewing. Now remember the ball can touch the ground if the player has full control and it still a touchdown. Vikings should have won that game. Instead they lost and Packers instead of the Giants got in playoffs and won the Superbowl. Nevermind that the following the league admited yes it was a touchdown and the call was wrong. You see there should be a third party to review not the refs

  21. The CFL experimented with challenges on PI calls last year. Still 50/50 as to the success of this experiment.

  22. Why don’t they get rid of the challenge system all together, and just have a replay crew in a booth monitoring each play just to make sure the call isn’t completely blown? We can see it, as drunk or stoned idiot fans. Trained, professional, not inebriated officials should be able to determine at least whether a play warrants a look within a few seconds. They don’t need to analyze every second of the play in the short time between plays, but if something glaringly stupid pops up, buzz. Is that so unreasonable? As long as it’s not abused, let the on field officials ref, let the players play, but the stupid crap has got to stop. There needs to be some over sight. The calls have been embarrassing the past few years

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