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mesaSteeler
01-25-2011, 09:53 PM
Should Teams Be ‘Penalized’ for Challenging Bad Calls?
By GEORGE BRETHERTON

http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/should-teams-be-penalized-for-challenging-bad-calls/

N.F.L. Rule, Section 9 Instant Replay, Coaches’ Challenge In each game, a team will be permitted two challenges that will initiate Referee Replay reviews. Each challenge will require the use of a team timeout. If a challenge is upheld, the timeout will be restored to the challenging team. A challenge will only be restored if a team is successful on both of its challenges, in which case it shall be awarded a third challenge, but a fourth challenge will not be permitted under any circumstances. No challenges will be recognized from a team that has exhausted its timeouts. A team that is out of timeouts or has used all of its available challenges may not attempt to initiate an additional challenge.

Most football fans I know approve of the N.F.L.’s coaches’ challenge rule. Its spirit seems to be that a coach should be allowed to have an official’s call overturned if it is incorrect, but there have to be limitations. A coach can’t be allowed to challenge every questionable call or a game would take 10 hours to play. But getting the call right should be a top priority.

So is it fair for teams to be “penalized” for using and being successful with coaches’ challenges? On two recent occasions — one involving Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin in a divisional round game against Baltimore and the other involving the Jets’ Rex Ryan in the A.F.C. championship game against Pittsburgh — teams were forced to decide whether a possible bad call early in a game was worth trying to overturn. In Ryan’s case, it may have affected the outcome.

In the Steelers’ 31-24 victory over Baltimore, Tomlin faced his predicament after the opening kickoff. The Ravens’ Lardarius Webb reached the Baltimore 49 with his return, but replay showed he should have been ruled down by contact at the Baltimore 35. The difference of 14 yards would hardly qualify as game-breaking. But the replay showed he should have been ruled down. For Tomlin, it was a question of what to do. Replay challenges are precious. But Webb was down at the 35. Was the play important enough for Tomlin to throw his challenge flag?

Tomlin decided it was, and the Ravens’ possession started correctly at the 35. But Tomlin was on the hot seat later in the first quarter when Baltimore scored a touchdown on a 13-yard fumble return after Terrell Suggs knocked the ball loose from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. If Tomlin challenged whether it was a fumble or an incomplete pass and was wrong, he would be out of challenges for the game. Did it matter that his first challenge was correct? No.

Tomlin lost his challenge and the Steelers had to play the rest of the game without the replay safety net. The Steelers’ victory made the challenge issue a moot point. The Jets weren’t so lucky.

Ryan’s challenge-or-not-to-challenge choice occurred less than three minutes into the game. The Steelers had a third-and-5 from their 47 when Roethlisberger completed a pass to Mike Wallace that looked to be short of the first down. A successful challenge by Ryan would have resulted in a fourth-down decision to be made by Pittsburgh. Was it the right situation for Ryan to burn one of his challenges? He was heavily criticized for challenging a spot on the Jets’ first drive early in their 45-3 loss to the Patriots in December. Ryan lost that challenge and still went for the first down on the ensuing fourth-and-1 play.

Against the Steelers, Ryan opted not to challenge. But five plays later, he successfully used one of his challenges on a play that was ruled a 21-yard pass reception to Heath Miller to the Jets’ 2. The ball was returned to the Jets’ 23. Had Ryan also challenged the spot earlier in the drive, the Jets would have been either out of challenges or down to one for the remainder of the game.

If Ryan decided not to challenge the spot because it was an early-game situation, wouldn’t that be against the spirit of the rule? Had Ryan challenged the call and gotten the Steelers’ first down overturned, Tomlin would have been forced to make a difficult decision. Maybe he would have gone for the first down. But Tomlin could have decided to punt, and if he had, the Steelers’ 15-play touchdown drive that took more than nine minutes off the game clock and set a tone never would have been completed.

Extra point Would you like to see a system in which a coach doesn’t lose his challenges until one of his challenges is rejected? Shouldn’t there be a reward for being right?

lionslicer
01-25-2011, 10:42 PM
A reward for being right? They get the play-over turned, thats a reward.

And how is a team going to get penalized because the coach makes a bad challenge or doesn't make a challenge at all? This guy is sniffing too much glue.

SteelCityMom
01-25-2011, 11:02 PM
I always thought that you shouldn't be charged with a challenge unless you were wrong....or if you got two challenges right and they give you a third, and you win that challenge too...I think you should get another, because at that point the refs are just screwing up big time.

El Nino
01-25-2011, 11:04 PM
losing a timeout can be critical