NFL quietly added new language to rule on reviewing forward progress in 2022

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots
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A controversial call took place during Sunday’s Patriots-Dolphins game, when Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert fumbled, the Patriots recovered, and the Dolphins kept the ball because the officials incorrectly ruled that forward progress had been stopped.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick pulled out his red challenge flag and talked to the officials, but they appeared to tell him he couldn’t challenge the play. On Monday morning, Belichick confirmed that.

“Not reviewable. Forward progress isn’t reviewable,” Belichick said.

But PFT checked with the league office today and was told that while forward progress is not reviewable, there are aspects that can be reviewed if forward progress is ruled.

And a little-noticed change to the rule on reviewing forward progress was made in 2022 that directly relates to the blown call in Sunday’s game. On page 7 of the Instant Replay Casebook, a situation similar to Mostert’s fumble is addressed. The three words in italics were added in 2022:

“If on-field officials rule forward progress, then replay can only review the position of the ball in relation to the line to gain or goal line and can rule that there is a fumble (with clear recovery) if possession is lost prior to or simultaneously with the defensive contact.”

Former NFL referee Gene Steratore, who now works as a CBS rules analyst, wrote on Twitter that Belichick should have been allowed to challenge, and would have won the challenge if he had, precisely because the Dolphins’ fumble took place simultaneously with the Patriots making contact.

“This specific instance is reviewable. Since the ball came loose following immediate contact and there was a clear recovery, I believe replay would have overturned and awarded the ball to New England,” Steratore wrote.

Those three words that were added to the Instant Replay Casebook made a big difference, but they were widely overlooked. Including, it appears, by Belichick and the officials who told him there was nothing that could be reviewed on the play in question on Sunday.

26 responses to “NFL quietly added new language to rule on reviewing forward progress in 2022

  1. And it was said as much during the broadcast. Awful call. Mostert fumbled at a crucial time last week when Miami was threatening to go up 3 scores on GB. He’s a good RB, but his fumbles, man…

  2. Those rules are so complicated I don’t see how anybody can be expected to have them all on instant recall with all the other action going on at the same time, especially when it’s just a part-time week-end job.

  3. They reviewed the Matt Ryan 4th down rush attempt against the Vikings, even though you can clearly see the official running in tomato forward progress. It confuses me at the time because I thought forward progress being called ends the play with no chance to challenge.

  4. That’s TWO things that will get an officiating crew downgraded. Blowing a play too early is a big no-no and should cost the officials points. But, ignorance of a rule should be enough to stop them working in the post season. That one is inexcusable.

  5. Hard to believe there was an aspect to a rule that Belichick wasn’t 100% up on.

  6. BB tried to challenge and the official told him he couldn’t. This one is 100% on the official.

  7. You could argue the call on Stevenson’s fumble that cost the Pats a game against the Bengals as well. Not to mention HHenry’s TD reception and KCole being out of bounds in the Raider game. I’m starting to believe that p-6 dude may be right….Nah, nevermind.

  8. The officials suck more and more each year. You have 70 year old fat guys trying to keep up with the greatest athletes in the world. The best officials seem to be the women. They never get shown up.

  9. Well you cant say it was overlooked by Belichick as theres nothing else he could do. He tried to challenge it and was told by the refs it couldnt be challenged so unless he wants to argue and get flagged then that’s the end of the conversation

  10. “if possession is lost prior to or simultaneously with the defensive contact”

    Everyone (except maybe the officials) seems to be looking at the “Jabrill Peppers defensive contact” that caused the fumble as what stopped forward progress. Look at the entire play. Mostert was hit hard, and stopped, by a #8 (Jones) hit BEFORE Peppers came in and hit Mostert again.
    Officiating on that play was bad. No doubt. Not bad because of a missed fumble or the play not being reviewable. Bad because of a quick forward progress whistle that may have occurred before the second hit. During the loose-ball scrum the side judge runs in pointing to a spot about two yards ahead of the scrum – close to the yard line where the first hit occurred.
    In other words, the play was likely over when Jones stopped Mostert. That’s why it wasn’t reviewable.

  11. Patriots got hosed twice. I don’t care about the explanation from the NFL.

    I knew about the challenge exception regarding the whistle prior to the broadcast mentioning it. Should have challenged it.

  12. This season is no different than the past 10 with the exception that gambling is legal now & 1 errant call can sway a points spread not to mention the entire game – there have been the most horrible officiating for what seems like forever & it’s only getting worse. The fans are not blind – most NFL Officials have a professional career besides being a referee,back judge,linesman or booth official once a week. So either some of these folks are incompetent or told to “look the other way” is a question fans would like answered because there are too many cameras & too many angles for which to see when these game officials screw up!

  13. This year the Pats have lost two games due to blown calls by the zebras and Park Av, this could have been the third one

  14. Mostert wasn’t tackled yet and was still moving forward on his own when the fumble occurred. Doubt that officiating crew gets the Super Bowl.

  15. tedmurph says:
    January 2, 2023 at 2:34 pm
    You could argue the call on Stevenson’s fumble that cost the Pats a game against the Bengals as well. Not to mention HHenry’s TD reception and KCole being out of bounds in the Raider game. I’m starting to believe that p-6 dude may be right….Nah, nevermind.

    34Rate This

    ——————-

    You of all people could admit being wrong once in a while just to show some maturity.

    Anyone questioning if 345 Park Ave doesn’t coach ref crews to favor one team over another, either doesn’t watch enough games or may be that naive in life in general.

    Matt Judon was held a wold record amount of times yesterday and I am not sure Miami was called once for a hold. It’s not possible to be held on every down never see a holding call.

  16. Pats screwed by forward progress 2 weeks in a row. Only difference is they didn’t get down by 20 points.

  17. The other very obvious tell in these games is how badly the refs spot the football. It’s sneaky. Anytime it’s close for NE, they move it back just a bit. It’s on almost every play near the sticks, every week.

    On the 3rd and 19, Stevenson fell/was tackled on the line to gain and the ball was marked a full yard behind where it should have been. The side judge came in at the right spot and the other ref out it down well behind the spot. I would have challenged it on principle alone it was so bad.

    It happened again on another play down near the goal line as well.

    When these games come down to 1-2 key plays, penalties, etc, the proper spotting of the ball is critical as well.

    These cannot be accidents with the frequency of it all.

  18. First of all, I’m wrong ALL the time. Probably about 49% But, instead of believing in Bigfoot, QAnon conspiracies or the league somehow rigging FB games to hurt the Pats, I tend to adhere to the Occam’s Razor approach. The simplest explanation is old men trying to moonlight refereeing NFL FB games invites ineptitude. And replay doesn’t really help very much. I’m not paranoid enough to believe Park Ave conspiracy theories.

    There is holding and PI on every play. They have to whittle it down to the ones that affect the play. Otherwise, every game would just be a flag festival.

    I think people that whine about the refs are just whiney babies. with some exceptions, those things tend to even out anyway.

  19. The NFL needs to do something about players assisting others with progress -this is turning into rugby. Player against player, your line against my line, but one guy into the line (or a tackle) with 2-3 others hammering in behind them has to stop

  20. “Turning into rugby”
    What a load of bull. But I’ll tell you one thing, perhaps a rugby coach might be worth employing given the incompetence of these players on last play laterals.

  21. The other very obvious tell in these games is how badly the refs spot the football. It’s sneaky. Anytime it’s close for NE, they move it back just a bit. It’s on almost every play near the sticks, every week.

    This is the way to negate any halfway intelligent posts and turn one’s self into a laughingstock. If I didn’t know better, I’d write it off as a goof.

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