Support growing for giving coaches power to challenge anything

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Patriots coach Bill Belichick continues to push the idea that NFL coaches should have the power to challenge any and all calls via replay review.  Per multiple sources who were present for Tuesday’s unsuccessful vote on the measure, Belichick’s position has gained significant traction.

While there’s not enough support among owners (yet) to make it happen, more and more of the coaches and General Managers believe that the two automatic replay challenges per game (three if the first two prevail) should be available for any error the coach believes can be overturned by indisputable visual evidence.

“Some people are biting tongues or shaking heads as their clubs vote against it,” said one source who was in the meetings on Tuesday.  The measure failed to get an endorsement from at least 24 teams, causing it to fail.

The confusion comes in part from the lack of a sufficient explanation regarding the reasoning for the opposition to it.  The NFL publicly says that it wants to get all calls right, but the NFL hasn’t adequately addressed why coaches can’t have the power to force the officials to get everything right, and not just the potentially bad calls that fall within the band of predetermined plays that can be challenged.

It’s possible that the NFL fears allowing coaches to challenge everything will eventually result in all potential errors falling within the scope of the automatic challenges that happen after scoring plays, turnovers, and within the final two minutes of a half and overtime.  It’s also possible that the NFL isn’t comfortable with a split standard.

Regardless, if folks in the room don’t believe the league is doing enough to explain the opposition to the proposal to them, it’s safe to say the league isn’t doing enough to explain the opposition to the proposal to the rest of us.

61 responses to “Support growing for giving coaches power to challenge anything

  1. Stupid Stupid Stupid.

    Football games will be as long as Baseball now. How is this a better idea than putting cameras on the Refs? 4.6 Billion in profits?

  2. LOL the owners will block this. No way they want the refs in the spotlight for bad calls which is probably why they don’t show replays over half the time on obvious missed calls and why they don’t want additional cameras.

    “We don’t have the money to allow coaches to challenge everything.”

    – John Mara

  3. Ref: “Indianapolis has challenged the location of Patriots ball boy during the previous TV time out.”

  4. They have to cap how many challenges a coach gets, but only because NFL officials are so useless that one side or the other could probably challenge every other call. Games would take eight hours.

  5. The NFL wants to talk about play-off expansion, Los Angeles and direct streaming of games in London.

    However, substantive discussions such as this approach, end zone cameras and the like get no consideration.

    Have we reached the tipping point when in 10-15 years the NFL becomes pro boxing where the sport is a farce and a few owners (think of Jerry Jones as Don King) become a caricature of themselves?

  6. Red flags with no limits = longer boring games. Unlimited red flags also poses the potential for coaches to stop the flow of the game (and an offense that’s rolling) for a potentially not legitimate reason. NFL coaches trying to bend the rules to serve their purposes (Belicheck)? No way!

  7. Of course!
    There are many examples of refs being on the take and influencing games (plenty public ones in soccer and basketball). In football, the easiest way to influence a game is to call a penalty on a scoring play or throw up a pass interference call.

    If you think refs are not rigging games in the NFL you are naive. This move would make it LESS likely to work and more high risk.

  8. The are not giving out more challenges, just changing what can be challenged.

    Everyone and their straw man argument about it taking more time. How will having the same number of challenges make the game tangibly longer?

  9. Why do people keep saying challenging everything will make the game longer. They have already said that coaches would still have the same amount of challenges. So, what does it matter if you challenge 2 fumbles or 2 pass interference penalties? It would take the same amount of time.

  10. njgiant1982 says:
    Mar 25, 2015 9:35 AM
    Stupid Stupid Stupid.

    Football games will be as long as Baseball now. How is this a better idea than putting cameras on the Refs? 4.6 Billion in profits?

    Every play in college is reviewed now they aren’t looking at penalties but really that wouldn’t add anymore time. The NHL has the best replay system by far.

  11. He’s not suggesting an increased number of challenges. IT WON’T CHANGE THE LENGTH OF THE GAME. Why is this so hard to comprehend?

  12. Here is the problem, most people would agree there is a penalty on every, single play. The offensive lines hold on every, single, play. There is illegal contact in the secondary on every, single, play. So, we now are going to open up penalties to challenges?

    This pursuit to “get everything right” will harm the game far more than it will help.

  13. @hessler317…the proposal doesn’t include unlimited challenges. It simply says that you can challenge any play, instead of having only certain plays that are challengeable.

  14. As long as they keep it to 2 red flags per game, I’m for it. Why should the last 2 minutes be any different than the first 58? And if you see a bad flag or a bad no flag, you should be able to challenge. At 2 per game, it’s hardly likely to be abused.

    If they remove that cap, every play could be challenged, as you can probably call holding on every play of every game. Then the games will take 6-8 hours. I would hope the NFL isn’t that stupid.

  15. Controversy keeps the NFL in the spotlight. If the game was perfect in every way, the vast majority of the fans would have nothing to whine about.

    People on both sides are still whining about spygate, deflategate, etc.

    The idea of challenging any play is unbelievably stupid. In a league where most people acknowledge that holding can be called on just about every play, the last thing this sports needs, is some HC throwing a flag for offensive line holding in an effort to over turn a touchdown due to his DB getting burned by a country mile.

  16. Folks, read the article.

    It will not affect the length of game at all.

    The proposal was to be able to challenge anything but still have the max of 3 challenges per team.

    Will not cause more red flags nor will it change the length of the game…..

  17. As a football fan and not just a Bills fan, when we played the Broncos that game was an absolute farce. The Refs completely decided the out come of that game. 8+ No calls in favour of the Broncos and a penalty any time Buffalo had a play over 7 yards. The owners do not want their ability to have a sure thing.

  18. Just adopt the college system! They have a replay official in the booth who looks at EVERY play. If he thinks a play needs a closer look, he tells the field officials the play is under further review, and he makes a decision MUCH quicker than the NFL’s overly-controlled “command center” (or whatever BS name they gave it) review. It doesn’t affect the flow of the game, and they get more calls RIGHT! This is probably the ONE thing the NCAA does right! The NFL should take notice.

  19. Reading comprehension in this country is awful.

    There is no suggestion to increase the number of challenges, just to expand what can be challenged.

    Length of the games won’t change at all.


  20. My proposal: All calls are eligible to be challenged. A coach gets one challenge per game with this caveat–if the coach is successful with his challenge, he keeps the challenge and can continue to challenge as long as his challenges are successful. Once his challenge is unsuccessful, he has no more challenges for the rest of the game.

  21. It’s amazing how people continue to claim this will make the games longer. At least read what is actually proposed before spouting your incorrect rhetoric.

  22. harrisonhits2 says:
    Mar 25, 2015 10:13 AM
    Reading comprehension in this country is awful.

    There is no suggestion to increase the number of challenges, just to expand what can be challenged.

    Length of the games won’t change at all.

    It probably will. The number of allocated challenges a coach enters the game with may not change, but if the scope of what he can use them for is expanded, more will be used over the course of a season.

    You would need to know how many challenge flags were NOT used over the course of a season, and then see if there were plays that a coach would have challenged given the opportunity in those games.

  23. Articles like these make me chuckle.

    NFL games are fixed? Really? Have you seen the egos of the owners in this League? Do you really think that Jerry Jones would actually agree to let his team lose a game?

  24. As someone above stated, the refs could basically call a penalty on almost every play. So, if I’m a coach, I’m saving my challenges for the end of the game. If I’m on defense at that point, I’ll challenge any big pass play…..cause there’s always holding that could be called. If I’m on offense, I’d challenge any pass play that ended in an incompletion……as there is probably some sort of PI that happened.

    If they let these guys challenge penalties, it will ruin the game.

  25. Have you ever questioned a bogus pass interference call in the end zone that gave a team 1st and goal from the one? Have you ever said, ” Hey ref, why not just give them the TD?”

    This new rule would prevent that.

  26. No close game will ever end without a challenge. If a team throws a winning touchdown, the opposing coach will throw a flag contend holding, or pushing off, or whatever just to get the play reviewed.


  27. I’m against coaches challenges. I think it puts the onus on the coaches to make the right challenges instead of the refs to get it correct.

    The coach has to make sure he has enough time outs, that he got his previous call right, to make sure he had a good enough view, etc.

    When a play is challenged the announcers talk about the coaches percentage of challenges won, whether it was the right call to make a challenge, etc.

    Instant replay shifts the focus off of the refs and onto the coaches.

    If in the last two minutes of each half challenges come from the booth then the whole game should be conducted in that manner.

    Don’t tell me getting the call correct is what’s important then tell me the coach only as two challenges, unless he wins both, but he has to have a time out, etc.

    Quit shifting focus/responsibility NFL!!!

  28. Challenges make refs lazy. They can afford to miss a call knowing that a coach can correct it. Better idea. Get rid of replays altogether. If an officiating team misses five calls, they sit out the next game without pay. Watch how quick missed calls get fixed. Bad calls happen to everyone and it all comes out in the wash anyway. Nothing more boring than challenges and game stoppages.

  29. Fans will love it until their team has huge plays taken away due to the opposing coach challenging that there was holding at the line of scrimmage.

  30. Ever watch a college game? I see calls being corrected instantaneously, without disrupting or delaying the game one second. It all happens as the players are jogging back to the huddle. It’s done by radio from the booth to the field. There’s no need for a referee to run over to the sideline and get under a hood. Coaches don’t have to be involved. Don’t be afraid of technology. The referees on the field should be in constant communication with referees in the booth. It’s just like driving down the road talking on your Bluetooth. I can see bad calls from my coach the second they happen. If I had a radio in the ref’s ear, I could make the correct call from my living room in one second, even before the ref makes his original call. Precision refereeing doesn’t need to slow down the game. The real question is whether or not the NFL wants presicion refereeing. Most fans want the right team to win, especially if it doesn’t slow the games down. It’s a heck of a lot easier and faster to referee a game from a monitor than it is from the field.

  31. “No close game will ever end without a challenge”

    I don’t think the proposed rule will allow challenges on non-calls, only on plays that a penalty is called on. Besides, coaches will have no doubt used up their allotted number of challenges well before the final whistle. I don’t have a problem with the proposal, as long as the number of challenges per game isn’t increased from what it is now. I don’t think anyone wants longer games.

  32. This is stupid easy. If we have the technology to show 20 million people that a mistake was clearly made, that technology should be used to get the call right.

  33. Please… Don’t give Andy Reid this power… All he thinks about on game day or any day is cheeseburgers and tacos…

  34. A lot of gambling money out there – don’t want to take away any opportunity for the ref’s to make a few extra dollars on the side.

  35. Great idea, but put a limit on the number of challenges. Say 5 per half. Let the coaches challenge anything, including blown or missed penalties. Anything.

    Make it so the coach has to pinpoint the exact infraction and exactly who did it. It can’t be something vague like “I think there was holding on the DL, go ahead and check it out.”

    If their challenge is upheld, they don’t lose a TO.

  36. …believe that the two automatic replay challenges per game (three if the first two prevail) should be available for any error the coach believes can be overturned by indisputable visual evidence…

    That would be great for all of 1 year. Then everyone would be lobbying for more challenges per game because they used one earlier for something that originally wasn’t reviewable, then they needed it later for something that was. Then you have serious delay in the game because you have too many challenges being called.

  37. How will this make the games longer? They’re not asking for more challenges – just that all items be available for challenge.
    And how can an $8B/year business with a $40M/year commish not be able to afford endzone cams? How stupid do they think we are?

  38. You can’t challenge most penalty calls–it’s impossible. Can you imagine officials reviewing a pass interference call–or holding? Actually, now that I think about it: holding might be easy to review. Officials could call holding on every pass play and yet seldom do, so when they do call holding it is usually (but not always) pretty blatant. There is a certain amount of subjectivity involved when an official assesses ‘holding,’ and lots MORE subjectivity with pass interference. How much contact is too much? The replay/review system is pretty good as is.

  39. So, we now are going to open up penalties to challenges?
    Yes. That’s the proposal.

    The catch is that only a dumb coach would use his challenges over a missed penalty on a low leverage play (like a play that results in a second and 6 between the offenses’ 20 and 50). Smart coaches will hold their challenges to make the officials call holding on big gains late in the game.

  40. A good example would be the personal foul call for a blow to the head. A very harsh 15 yard penalty. Well if replay shows it was NOT a blow to the head but to the shoulder pad instead, shouldn’t the call be corrected? I believe so. How about a personal foul for roughing the kicker. Replay shows that the kicker flopped and no contact was actually made (or the call should have been the less drastic running into the kicker, a 5 yarder penalty and not an automatic first down), another 15 yard penalty will be rightly fixed, this time making the change of posession accurate. Belichick is right, these things need to be corrected. The Refs need to be held accountable for a poor call. We see these bad calls often, and frequently in critical game situations. There is no valid reason not to allow these to be reviewed.

  41. That’s what the NFL needs…something to slow the game down even more. Dumb idea.

  42. I believe it is a call to allow the coaches to challenge called penalties that they think were not penalties, not throw a challenge to get a ref to CALL a penalty.

    Like a few people and most announcers say during the games, holding can be called on every play.

  43. So, it looks like the opposition to the plan is not only not understood by the proponents, but also the people that oppose the plan.

    1) allowing every play to be challenged does not mean allowing a challenge on every play

    2) trying to have a touchdown at the end of the game reviewed is a moot point, all scoring plays are already reviewed

    3) being able to overturn a penalty that was incorrectly called is not the same thing as having a penalty called when there wasn’t one

    4) forcing referees to perform at a higher level will speed up the game instead of having a ten minute huddle after every play to see if everyone agrees on what happened

  44. They’re not proposing giving the coaches more challenges just making every ruling challengable. So how would that slow down the game? Calm down. Change is not always bad.

  45. I believe it is a call to allow the coaches to challenge called penalties that they think were not penalties, not throw a challenge to get a ref to CALL a penalty.
    There were seven proposals regarding penalties and review. The first subjects all officials’ decisions to challenge. The second subjects all penalties to review. The third and fourth had to deal with personal fouls being reviewed. The fifth through seventh deal with first downs and defenseless players.

    While you’re correct that six of the proposals only deal with called penalties, the first allows challenge of any decision by an official. Unless “decision” is defined noun in the NFL’s law book excluding an official’s choice to regard a player’s action as not a foul, that proposal would seem to allow challenging an official’s decision not to call a penalty.

  46. God forbid having human error in a sports game. Man are the owners killing the NFL.

    It’s all about $$ now a days. Way to go Rober Kraft you hook nose!

  47. The college idea seems to be working. Actually, it makes a ton of sense, now that I think about it. It takes a lot of the pressure off the refs on the field, who are in public view. Some invisible dude works in tandem with the refs throughout the game to ensure everything is right – to just plays the coach challenges. I don’t see any reason not to adopt this asap.

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