On Tuesday the NFL teams voted on the various rule changes submitted by the competition committee. One of the rules that passed was that now all scoring plays will be subject to confirmation by the replay booth, just like every play currently is within two minutes of the end of each half. Meaning it will be another booth challenge. This presents the question of how it may or may not have helped the Steelers in 2010 against the Saints this past season. Perhaps one of the most memorable plays that this new rule might not have helped the Steelers on in 2010 was a second-down play from the 2 early in the second quarter against the Saints. The officials ruled that running back Rashard Mendenhall didn't break the plane of the goal line before he was brought down. The NBC video replays appeared to show the ball touching the goal line before Mendenhall was tackled, but Tomlin never challenge the call of the field. Evidently the Steelers assistant coaches in the press box couldn't see the same replays that were being shown on the NBC feed, because the televisions in the Steelers booth apparently were tuned to the Superdome's scoreboard feed, which failed to show the NBC replays. Tomlin went on to say, "There wasn't a bunch of video evidence available to us." Tomlin also noted that Mendenhall never gave a sign from the field that he may have possibly scored and that Tomlin should challenge.
Let me again clarify now as I have re-written this post after getting a further understanding of the rule. that this rule denotes scoring plays ruled on the field evidently. So in this case it seems the Steelers would have had to still challenge that play. Why not include those calls that are close that the officials might get wrong as well? Where do you draw the line on scoring plays? Now it is of course foolish to say the Steelers lost the game because of that one play, but the new rule, as I understand it would not cover that because it was not ruled a touchdown on the field.
ETA: The NFL's former Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira clarifies this in a post here. So indeed, this new rule would not have helped the Steelers against the Saints.
I am not OK with the fact that this only applies to a ruling of a score and not if a runner is ruled down short of the goal line or if a field goal is ruled no good. The rationale for this is when a score is ruled, the clock stops and there is no action until the try or the kickoff.
There are a couple of things that I don’t like about this, and overall I think this proposed rule change will extend the length of the game.
I don’t like the fact that the only time the replay assistant will get involved outside of two minutes is if a score is ruled.
What if a runner is ruled down short of the goal line with three minutes to go in the game and the coach is out of challenges or timeouts? Sorry. No review, even if video shows conclusively that the ball had broken the plane. If the official had ruled touchdown, the replay assistant could initiate a review, but since the official ruled the runner short, nothing can be done.
In addition to all of the above, I have listed below in table format the regular season challenges from the 2010 season along with plays overturned and the success rate just to serve as a FYI. In the last table I listed the type play reviewed. During the regular season Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin challenged 5 plays, 2 of which were overturned. Not that big of deal. The worst part of this new rule will be perhaps the added breaks in between calls that are close on touchdowns. I guess they consider it a kickback to the networks to enable them to show more commercials.
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