Since the Broncos beat the Chargers on a last-play field goal, Vance Joseph’s decision not to challenge Case Keenum‘s 2-point run became a footnote. It would have become a far bigger deal if Philip Rivers and then the Broncos offense hadn’t bailed him out.
Joseph, though, continued to insist a day later that his coaches upstairs did not have a clear view of Keenum reaching the ball across the goal line before his knees hit the ground.
CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore, a former NFL referee, said during the broadcast he expected the league would have reversed the on-field ruling if the Broncos had challenged the fourth-quarter play.
The key was: Because it wasn’t a scoring play, it was not a booth review. Joseph had to initiate the challenge by throwing his red flag.
Joseph put the onus back on the officials to “get the call right” in the first place, or if they don’t, then err on the side of an automatic challenge.
“I’m talking to our staff in the press box because obviously I can’t see the replays,” Joseph said, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic. “Those guys give me the evidence to challenge, so if it’s not clear, they tell me, ‘Coach, it’s not clear. We can’t tell.’
“I would prefer if the officials are not sure if it’s a positive or negative play, just call it on the positive side because it’s a built-in fix for him. Once he calls it a score, it’s reviewed. If it’s not a score, I have to obviously challenge it. If my views are not clear to challenge it, I can’t because it’s 12 minutes in that game. If I lose that challenge, it costs me something. It was more important to keep our timeout there without having clear evidence. Now, if it was clear, absolutely we would challenge it. But it wasn’t clear to our guys upstairs.”