bill-swift - August 21, 2012
We have all seen countless NFL head coaches go nuts on the sideline whenever they think their team is on the receiving end of a bad call from the referees. So far this preseason that has happened a little more often each week since the NFL is using replacement refs (thanks to the referee lockout/strike).
However, there have been a few plays where head coaches are likely cursing up a storm, but they have no one to blame for the penalty flag other than themselves.
This year the NFL will be reviewing turnovers as well as scoring plays automatically. The idea is to make sure that games are not decided on plays that were called incorrectly, and next to scoring plays turnovers are the biggest game changers. It may increase the length of games, but if that means the right team will win the game, then the change will be deemed worth it.
Many coaches are likely to forget about the rule change and throw out the challenge flag when the ball is turned over. They've been doing it that way for years like it's second nature. When they do the team will be penalized 15-yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for delaying the game (its been called a few times during the preseason).
If your first response was something like,"What the ----?" you are not alone, but apparently the rule was in place last season as well. When coaches challenged scoring plays they were penalized accordingly (just ask Gary Kubiak and Jim Harbaugh about it).
The rule makes sense, but is it really necessary? The league would likely justify it by saying they don't want the game to last any longer than necessary, but if that is the case they shouldn't mandate reviews of any plays.
While it is the responsibility of the coaches to know and abide by the rules, it would be a shame to see a silly penalty like this actually be called and impact the outcome of a game.
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