John Fox challenges, thinking he’ll get a touchdown, actually loses the ball


Bears coach John Fox had the costliest replay challenge of the year today in Chicago.

After Chicago’s Benny Cunningham was ruled down just shy of the goal line on a 23-yard catch and run, Fox challenged, saying Cunningham had scored.

But replays showed Cunningham lost control of the ball before he reached the goal line, and the ball hit the pylon. That means not only was it not a touchdown, but it was actually a fumble out the end zone, which meant the ball went to the Packers. Instead of first-and-goal, which the Bears would have had if the ruling on the field had stood, it was Packers ball.

Complicating matters is that it’s questionable whether the league’s officiating office actually should have changed the ruling on the field. Cunningham’s foot may have touched out of bounds before he lost possession. Former NFL V.P. of Officiating Dean Blandino said he didn’t think there was enough evidence to change the ruling on the field.

So Fox clearly made a mistake by challenging the ruling on the field, but the officiating office may have made a mistake by reversing the ruling on the field. It was one more case of a highly questionable replay review. We’ve had a lot of those in this NFL season.