Seriously, just one. I want one sensible reason for why it makes sense for us to limit the plays coaches can challenge.
Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio officially threw his support behind that idea this week, joining Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers.
“Bill Belichick brought up a great point in our owners meetings last year about allowing a coach to challenge any play if he decided it was worthy enough,” Del Rio said, per Pro Football Talk. “So I’m in favor of that. If we have an opportunity to get something right, let’s use that opportunity and let’s get it right. That’s what he was saying. It doesn’t really matter if we can make it right. If it’s wrong, and we all know it’s wrong, and we have an opportunity to make right under the same criteria — indisputable — then why not? So makes all the sense in the world to me and I’m supportive of something along those lines and we’ll see where it goes.”
The NFL has made concessions in this area over the years but “judgement calls” continue to be non-reviewable, as do many other calls for no clear reason. The league continues to be reactive rather than proactive in this respect, only making certain calls reviewable after hell has been raised or after a great injustice has taken place as a result of a botched call being set in stone.
It’s time for the league to finally get ahead on something. It’s time for the NFL to allow coaches to challenge whatever the hell they please.
It really couldn’t hurt.
It won’t theoretically slow the pace of play or lengthen games because coaches would of course still be limited to two challenges — three if they get each of the first two correct.
And what the hell is a judgement call anyway? Every call is technical to an extent. Either a catch was made or it wasn’t, either holding occurred or it didn’t, either it was an illegal bat or it wasn’t. There are specific guidelines stipulating what is and isn’t pass interference. Same for every other rule in the NFL’s stupidly massive book. Why not give officials a chance to pause and take a second look at a potentially bad call? Wouldn’t that actually help them avoid criticism?
Making all calls reviewable would give coaches the chance to ensure they aren’t getting screwed. It would give officials the chance to correct potential errors made at breakneck speed. And it would give everyone a better chance to get it right and avoid controversy.