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Friday, August 26, 2011

The "Reid" Rule or "How Throwing a Red Flag Cost Me 15 Yards"

Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Defense. 15 yard penalty.

What? What did I miss? (rewinding DVR) I'm watching the TD play. I don't see any defenders making contact afterwards. I don't see any defenders acting a fool on the field. Wait - what did the announcer just say? The penalty is on Head Coach Andy Reid? Well heck, what did he do, punch an offensive player? No? He threw the Red Challenge Flag? I'm so confused.

TE Alex Smith made a great catch on a pass from Seneca Wallace that was batted around a bit. He caught, tucked, and rolled with the ball and the refs signaled touchdown. The TV camera angle showed him from behind so I was not at all surprised to see the Red Challenge Flag come flying from the Eagles sidelines. Even though it's preseason, the review crew needs practice too.
But apparently, that was the wrong call.

On his attempt to have a Cleveland touchdown reception reviewed which led to a 15-yard penalty and the play not being reviewed:

"I blew that one. The tough thing is that the referee has a little buzzer on him. The kicker is getting ready to kick the (extra point) and you're hoping that the referee knows the rule (that all scoring plays are automatically reviewed). I shouldn't have thrown (the challenge flag), but when you see someone step out of bounds, you expect the review to happen right now. You're sitting there waiting, and waiting. It's a new rule, and we're learning with it, so I should have just held onto the flag."

Along with the stupid new kickoff rule (don't even get me started on the emasculation of the national football league), there is a rule in place starting this year that ALL scoring plays are now Booth Review Only. Great. Awesome. Love it. But god forbid that after 19 years of coaching in the NFL you forget for just a moment and grab your Red Flag and whip it out there.... or you'll get a 15 yard penalty! Oy. How about a warning for the first offense? 15 yards is WAY harsh - even for the Browns opponent - on something that had nothing to do with the actual game. Again I'll say it. Oy.

I love the Booth Review for all Scores rule. Too many times the Red Flags have made a difference in the game. Instant Replay is important because we all want the same thing: to get it right. Whether the call goes for or against your favorite team, we all really just want it to be the RIGHT call. So as a coach, it must be hard to decide the throw the flag, knowing that you only get a limited number of challenges. Knowing that a bad challenge now could mean giving up a bad TD later that you CAN'T challenge. You have to weigh the risk/reward of every Challenge when you really just want the calls to be right. So I love the new rule. All scores will be reviewed by the booth. Yeah, most won't need review. But at least in the 4th quarter with the game on the line, I won't be crying in my beer because Mangini wasted a call on some stupid incomplete pass that wouldn't have given us the first down anyway (sorry, still have a bit of PTSD from last year).

So at the end of the day, it's obvious that the preseason isn't just for players to get back into the groove of playing the game. It's also for the officials to practice blowing calls and for the coaching staff to get smacked on the hand for not remembering the brand new rules. Yes, it's their job to know the rules. I totally get that. All I'm saying is that when you change something that had previously been such an ingrained habit - question the call, throw the flag - that you need to give people a bit of a break. A warning during the preseason would have been nice.

But then again, Football is not Nice. And I'm willing to bet that this is one of those calls that only gets made once. Meaning - Andy Reid learned a powerful lesson last night - one that ALL Head Coaches in the NFL will be talking about today. And I don't think we will see it called again for the rest of the season. Sometimes the harsh lessons are the ones that people all learn from.

Respectfully Submitted,


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