NFL Considering Rule Change, Allow Coaches to Challenge All Penalties

Tony Corrente
The Associated Press

It appears the NFL will consider a rule change involving instant replay, which actually makes sense.

According to Pro Football Talk, “A proposal allowing challenges to every officiating decision will be brought forward jointly by the Bills and Seahawks at next week’s league meeting. If the owners vote in favor of the new rule, all penalties — from holding to pass interference, facemasking to false start — could be challenged.”

If passed, this could mark the most significant rule change ever involving instant replay. All of a sudden, penalties that never got reviewed before would be on the table. And honestly, why shouldn’t they? When you have the benefit of instant replay, slow mo, fast mo, zoom in, and freeze frame, why not make every play reviewable? Should a wrong call get to stand when compelling visual evidence easily proves that it shouldn’t?

What sense does that make?

Now, some of you are thinking to yourselves, Great! Games that are five hours long, will get even longer.

Not true. The rule doesn’t say that coaches will have unlimited challenges. The rule makes no change to the current number of challenges available to coaches, it only gives them the freedom to challenge anything they want.

This rule might also have the benefit of encouraging referees to keep the flag in their pocket on borderline and ticky-tacky calls, knowing that coaches now have the power on any given play to embarrass them if they’re wrong. Officials would likely abstain from making a call unless it was truly egregious.

That dynamic might cut down on overall penalties and shorten the game. In that light, this rule change actually makes a ton of sense. Which is probably why it won’t pass.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn