Raiders coach Jon Gruden threw his challenge flag after a Chiefs touchdown with seven seconds left in the first half on Sunday. Anyone who knows the NFL rules knows that such a play can’t be challenged, both because it was a scoring play and because it came in the last two minutes of the half. So does that mean Gruden doesn’t know the rules?
Not according to Gruden, who said today that he threw his flag not because he actually thought he could challenge the play, but because he wanted to send a message to NFL head of officiating Al Riveron that he thought the play should have been overturned on instant replay.
“I threw a challenge flag with seven seconds left yesterday,” Gruden said, via Matt Schneiderman of the Mercury News. “I knew exactly what I was doing, by the way. It wasn’t a very sensible thing to do. I wanted to challenge Al Riveron in New York City because I have people in the press box telling me that’s not a catch. Seeing plays overturned by somebody you can’t even see, I thought with three timeouts and seven seconds left I’d use one of my timeouts by giving Al a little extra time to look at that. But I knew exactly what I was doing.”
The penalty for throwing a challenge flag in that situation is the loss of a timeout, so Gruden didn’t lose much by throwing the flag. In his mind, it was worth it.