For NFL referees, it’s not enough to toss the coin. They have to flip the coin.
A new procedure implemented by the NFL this offseason mandates that on every coin flip before games and before overtime, the coin must turn over while in the air. If the referee tosses the coin and it doesn’t turn over, the ref is to toss it again.
The new rule, revealed on Twitter by former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira, is obviously a response to the situation that arose in overtime of the playoff game between the Packers and Cardinals. In that game, referee Clete Blakeman decided that his first coin toss before overtime wasn’t fair because the coin failed to flip.
Blakeman made up the determination that the coin had to flip on its own, but now it’s part of the NFL’s rules. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who complained after the Packers lost to the Cardinals that he should have been allowed to re-call the flip, will be disappointed to learn, however, that the new rule doesn’t allow for the visiting team captain to call it again: When the ref re-flips the coin, the original call of heads or tails will stand.