Football Zebras™

Tag Archive for coach’s challenge

Seahawks catch curiously upheld

Week 9: Buccaneers at Seahawks A five-yard completion to Ricardo Lockette at the end of the third quarter was challenged by Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano for what appeared to be a fairly pedestrian overturn. On the play, it appeared that Lockette was able to complete to process of the catch aided by the ground. This…

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Week 7: Bengals at Lions

Lions coach Jim Schwartz is very cautious now about launching the red challenge flag, after being burned by a since-overturned rule last season. On Sunday, he asked if he was allowed a challenge, and, according to Schwartz, he was told he had nothing that he could.

The play in question was a blocked field goal that was recovered and run back by the Bengals (video). The mantra of “all turnovers are reviewed by the replay official” creates a misleading gap. The turnover rule for replay applies to:

  • interception
  • fumble (or a muffed backward pass) recovered by opponent or going out of bounds in the end zone
  • muffed scrimmage kick

A blocked field goal is not muffed, because it has not cleared the line of scrimmage. Even though there is change of possession, the Lions would have to use a challenge if there is any dispute on this play.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports Schwartz believed that there was an illegal forward pass when the Bengals fumbled forward. “They had forwarded the ball,” he said. “I thought it was a forward lateral.” Schwartz said that an official told him there was nothing to challenge.

“They said that there’s no such thing as a forward fumble on a blocked kick.” 

Schwartz was not told he could not challenge, but mindful of the high profile red-flag incident last year, no doubt, he hedged his bets after talking to the official. (Schwartz also thinks that it is still a 15-yard penalty for challenging a play that he is not entitled to. That rule was changed to charge the team a timeout instead.)

The league office says that there was a challengeable aspect to the play — well, kind of. The statement from the NFL provided to Football Zebras would only indicate that this was not subject to an automatic review (that Schwartz would have to initiate the challenge) and that this play was governed by replay rules of standard running plays. They did not comment on the validity of the forward fumble, the merits of a challenge, or about the coach’s conversation with the official.

We will examine the play with our roundtable of experts this week.

Image: Gavin Smith/Detroit Lions

Ridiculous red-flag rule burden on referee

Week 17: Packers at Vikings Fortunately, there are likely only 11 more games where the rule for prohibited coach’s challenges is in effect. The Competition Committee is all but certain to modify the rule in the offseason. Basically, the rule has two aspects, which we have already explained in detail. If a coach challenges a…

Odd ruling saves Cruz from being NY goat

Referee Jerome Boger has his hands full with some controversial calls, most notably, a rarely used call on the Giants drive for the game-winning  touchdown (video). Giants receiver Victor Cruz lands to the turf and walks back to the huddle as if the play was over. However, he was not contacted on the way to…

Quick calls: Week 4

Look for updates later in the day. If you see something, you can add a comment to this post or reduce it to 140 characters or less (@footballzebras). Giants at Cardinals Victor Cruz’s catch has become its own post. Jerome Boger’s crew had a simultaneous timeout call from the Giants’ sideline and a coach’s challenge…

Bouncing fumble near sideline is tight call

Week 3: Redskins at Cowboys 1st quarter | 2:09 remaining | video. It was like threading a needle, but the Redskins very carefully recovered a Cowboys fumble near the sideline. Good collaborative call from line judge Adrian Hill (#29) and field judge Craig Wrolstad on the initial call. It wasn’t until the fourth replay angle…