NFL looking to focus on replay issues, safety
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The next time Jim Schwartz or any other NFL coach throws a challenge flag on a scoring play, he might get a penalty.
Starting next season, he should get a replay review, too.
NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson emerged from Wednesday's competition committee meeting in Indianapolis and told The Associated Press the most important thing is getting the call right.
"The bottom line is that we will get resolution on that play where we will get it right, where the play on the field is correctly administered," Anderson said.
The loophole was exposed on the Lions' Thanksgiving Day game when Schwartz threw the challenge flag on an 81-yard touchdown run by Houston's Justin Forsett.
Replays clearly showed Forsett's knee and elbow touched the turf when he was hit by Lions defenders. But because all scoring plays are automatically reviewed, Schwartz was assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and it negated the review.
In the aftermath of that game, Anderson issued a statement that said negating the review might be "too harsh."
Though no formal proposal is yet on the table, Anderson and others expect the rule to be modified before next season.
"I think we need to clean up the situations about what is reviewed, with Detroit and I think it was the Green Bay-Minnesota game," Giants owner John Mara said, referring to the play that coach Mike McCarthy threw the flag and a player picked it up. "I think we'll address that. I'm not sure what the language will look like yet."
That's not the only topic on the committee's discussion list this week.
Player safety is yet again at the forefront.
The biggest potential change may be the way helmets are used in the future.
Currently, players can be penalized for hitting defenseless receivers and hitting players above the neck with the crown of the helmet.
One possibility is expanding the rule to make it illegal to target any player on the field and any body part with the top of the helmet.