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#pounditThursday, February 2, 2023

Report: NFL considering penalizing teams for losing challenge on judgment call

Roger Goodell

The NFL is in the process of exploring ways to potentially make judgment calls like pass interference reviewable, and one possible solution involves penalizing coaches who challenge such plays and lose.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that one proposal being floated would allow limited challenges of judgment calls for coaches, but losing such a challenge could result in a penalty or some sort of clock run off. The argument is that the potential consequences would prevent coaches from challenging a judgment call like pass interference just to see what happens. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is said to be open to the idea, and one source told Schefter that is the direction things are headed.

One of the biggest arguments against reviewing pass interference or personal fouls is that there is some type of holding or interference on almost every play. If you give coaches the ability to throw a challenge flag on any play where there’s contact, it seems likely that a referee could find something that would constitute a penalty. Disincentives might help take care of that.

Some feel that reviewing pass interference or other judgment calls should only apply to plays where a flag is thrown, not non-calls. While that makes sense, it would not have given officials an opportunity to overturn one of the most costly blown calls in NFL history during the NFC Championship Game. If the league does decide to make such plays reviewable, the goal would be to avoid situations like that one going forward.

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