WE AGREE: Bill Belichick Wants To Change How Calls Are Reviewed

  • Jake O'Donnell

Have you ever found yourself screaming at your television because a replay clearly showed the refs blew a call? Of course. But have you ever found yourself screaming at your television because your team WAS NOT ALLOWED TO CHALLENGE A PLAY? Because we have — and we think it’s stupid how the NFL limits challenges.

So does Bill Belichick.

The basic reason: An arbitrary distinction between reviewable and non-reviewable plays that also seems contrary to the point of reviewing calls in the first place. If the crime is on camera, go to the tape for justice.

The basic distinction between reviewable and non-reviewable plays centers around the vague concept of “judgement calls.” What is a judgement call? It seems to be a call that is too complicated to make based on facts alone (thus, you have to use some judgement to determine what happened). For example, determining the motive of a player (was he going for the ball) or the affect of the penalty on the play (was the ball catchable). The problem is, this stuff is made clearer with the same HD video footage they use to review the spot of the ball.

For some clarity on what said distinctions are, let’s go to “How Stuff Works” and see how they break it down…

What is reviewable:

– Calls involving sidelines, goal lines and end line. This includes whether a runner broke the plane of the goal line, whether a player stepped out of bounds, whether a player recovered a loose ball in or out of bounds, or whether a loose ball hit the sideline
– Calls involving passes. When the ball was knocked loose, was the player passing or was it a fumble? Was a pass completed or intercepted? Did an ineligible player touch a forward pass? Did a player cross the line of scrimmage before passing?
– Other detectable issues. Was a runner down by contact prior to fumbling? Were there more than 11 players on the field at the snap? Was the ball spotted correctly when a first down was at stake? Was a kick that passed the goalpost lower than the uprights successful?

What isn’t reviewable:

– All judgment calls, such as pass interference, holding and roughing the passer
– A play where a runner is ruled down by defensive contact, not involving a fumble
– The recovery of a loose ball in the field of play
– Inadvertent whistles and down calls
– Time on the clock can only be reviewed at the very end of a half.
– Kick attempts can’t be reviewed if they sail higher than the uprights.

Got it? Good. Here’s our take…

The same rules always apply when reviewing a call — no matter how much judgement was (or wasn’t) used by the official when he threw his flag. A review is called “a review” because you review what happened. Reviewing a judgement call (Pass Interference) should be no different than a cut-and-dry call (“Was he in-bounds?”). Can referees not practice “judgement” when looking at a screen in one of those silly little booths? Are they incapable of correcting split-second judgements they may have incorrectly made in the past? As long as you’re granted two challenges, the fundamental ethos for video review remains intact: Fix the call. Sure, if you had unlimited reviews and could challenge everything, it’d be ridiculous. But that’s not what we’re talking about.

We’ll let Belichick take it from here.

[Via NESN]“When you have two challenges, I don’t see anything wrong with the concept of ‘you can challenge any two plays that you want,’” Belichick said. “I understand that judgment calls are judgment calls, but to say that an important play can’t be reviewed, I don’t think that’s really in the spirit of trying to get everything right and making sure the most important plays are officiated properly.”

“If you get a situation where they call a guy for being offside, and you don’t think he was offside and you’re willing to use one of your challenges on that to let them go back and take a look at it — I understand if the evidence isn’t conclusive that the call stands. If it is [conclusive] then they’d overturn it. “If it’s offensive holding, if you think one of the offensive linemen tackles your guy as he’s rushing the quarterback, and the ball hasn’t been thrown, they go back and look at it and if it’s that egregious of a violation they would make a call. If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t. We have to live with that anyway but now it’s only on certain plays and certain situations.”

“It’s kind of confusing for me as to which plays are, and which plays aren’t challengeable. I’m sure it’s confusing to the fans to know what they all are. There are multiple pages explaining what you can and can’t challenge. Then you have the officials come over to you in a controversial type of play and say, ‘Well, you can challenge this, or you can’t challenge it’ which is helpful. But I’m just saying the whole idea of simplifying the game and trying to get the important plays right, I wouldn’t have any problem if any play was open to a challenge, understanding that if it’s not conclusive, then it’s not conclusive and the ruling on the field would stand. That’s the way it is anyway. You have to make it a lot simpler in my mind.”

What do you think? Do you stand with us and big Bill, or the refs and Goodell? Sound off below…