Roger Goodell could change challenge rule for playoffs

  • Joe Ray

Roger Goodell could propose changes to the challenge rule on automatic reviews soon. (Credit: Associated Press/Elise Amendola)

The football world was shaken by Jim Schwartz’s challenge fiasco in the Detroit Lions’ Thanksgiving Day game against the Houston Texans. Schwartz threw his challenge flag to review a Justin Forsett run that went for a touchdown when Forsett was clearly down long before he reached the endzone. Unfortunately for Schwartz, he negated the automatic review of a scoring play by throwing the challenge flag and the touchdown stood. That score ended up being a huge difference maker in the game, as the Texans went on to win the game 34-31 in overtime.

The call enraged countless fans of the Lions and football fans everywhere. As ludicrous as the play was, the referees made the right call based on the rules they are meant to enforce. But according to Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk, commissioner Roger Goodell says that the league will look into changing the rule as soon as possible, and that means changes could be enforced for the playoffs.

I don’t expect it before the end of the regular season,” Goodell said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “We may evaluate it as it relates to the postseason. But it certainly will get consideration by the competition committee in the off-season.”

While another coach would have to be extremely bone-headed to actually make this mistake again, it could still happen. As such, it might not be a bad idea to change the rule as soon as possible. Goodell seems insistent on taking all the appropriate actions to make a sound decision, as he should be.

“When we make any rule changes it’s important to look at the unintended consequences of those rules,” Goodell said. “That’s why the competition committee spends weeks evaluating and trying to evaluate will it have an impact on the game that we’re not anticipating.

“We’re going to look at everything, but we’re definitely not changing it for the regular season.”

With the changes in the review process of every scoring play and every turnover, rules such as the one that afflicted Schwartz on Thanksgiving have to be taken into consideration for change. Given the large amount of attention that the play has received, don’t be surprised if the rule is revised sooner rather than later.

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