Bill Belichick’s Proposal Has NFL Considering Challenging Penalties

Bill BelichickOnly one of Bill Belichick’s proposals at the NFL Annual Meeting passed, but his idea to revamp the replay system has the league talking.

The New England Patriots proposed to allow coaches to challenge all plays — including penalties — besides scoring plays, which are automatically reviewed.

“Coach Belichick bringing it up this year, and the way he argued it, it really does bring the discussion of instant replay — the future of it — into the light, if you will,” competition committee co-chair Rich McKay said Friday on ESPN’s “The Herd”. “I think it’s a good thing, but not enough to make us, as a league and membership, want to change it [at this time].”

Belichick said at the annual meeting that his four proposals were meant to introduce concepts to the league – only his proposal to raise goal posts by five feet passed.

“Pretty cool discussion. The issues behind that are pretty tremendous,” McKay said. “Does that mean you could challenge a penalty that wasn’t called? Would that not mean, basically at the end of the game, you would always end games with challenges on big plays for any penalty, even a penalty that has absolutely zero impact on the play?

“It would be, in our mind, a fundamental change in the game. Penalties themselves have never been reviewable and the reason they haven’t is that they are completely subjective based on the person calling them. So you’re just going to have somebody else’s subjectivity, meaning the referee, substituted for the on-field official [who made the call]. Nobody has ever gotten comfortable with that.”

The New England Patriots lost two games in 2013 that came down to controversial penalty calls or no-calls. Defensive tackle Chris Jones was called for illegal pushing in the Patriots’ Week 7 loss to the New York Jets. The 15-yard penalty allowed the Jets to retry, and make, a game-winning field goal in overtime.

The Patriots lost in Week 11 after officials decided to pick up a last-second pass interference flag on Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, who pushed tight end Rob Gronkowski in the end zone. Quarterback Tom Brady’s pass was intercepted by safety Robert Lester.

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