Part of being a football game is the “Cheer gap.” When your team’s quarterback heaves an incredible deep pass that is caught for a go-ahead touchdown, or the running back breaks through the line and down the field into the endzone, you can’t help but cheer. Then, the yellow bar comes up at the bottom of the TV, with that dreaded (And sometimes celebrated) word: flag.
Then, the questions come flooding into your mind: “Did someone on the line hold? Did the receiver push off? Was it a pick play?”
Sometimes, the penalty call is more nerve-racking to watch than the play, and the league is reportedly considering rules that would further that fact. It is a possibility that a coach, after seeing an instant replay of a play, could challenge the fact that no judgment penalty was called. Here’s a summary of what sources are saying this new rule could look like:
1. If, after a play, a team’s head coach believes that a “Judgement penalty” should have been called (Mainly pass interference), they will be allowed to challenge a said play. Each coach will have a fixed number of chances to challenge this type of play.
2. If the coach is deemed to be incorrect about the potential penalty, the consequences will be worse than just losing a timeout. The way it looks now, the challenging team will incur a penalty and/or lose time off of the clock.
It is a known fact that, often, players (Both offensive and defensive) get away with a lot of contact on passing routes. Theoretically, a coach could challenge any play, arguing that there was a missed penalty. For a coach to challenge, the penalty will have to be borderline obvious upon review, and the return on the penalty will have to outweigh the risk (i.e., a 50 yard pass interference penalty near the end of a close game will be more likely to be challenged than a 10 yard route midway through the first quarter).
This news will substantially affect sports betters, as spreads that would have otherwise been covered by garbage time touchdowns caused by poor coverage and/or the officials “Letting things go” because they won’t affect the final score. Now, with the consequences of a challenge being minimal with a team having a comfortable lead near the end of a game, not much would stop the winning coach from challenging a garbage time touchdown if there is a push off that would have otherwise gone uncalled.
It will remain to be seen what the NFL’s competition committee comes up with regarding the matter.