The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Packer Question

I was at the game on Sunday and I was confused by a particular play. Perhaps one of you can shed some light on the subject. At some point in the third quarter (I think), the Packers challenged the spot of the ball. The Rams had been awarded a first down on the previous play, but the replay showed that the Ram receiver was probably short. The refs, upon reviewing the play, moved the ball back the length of a ball and then measured. The Rams were still awarded a first down, but the ball was moved backward. Despite the fact that the replay resulted in the Rams being worse off, the Packers were still charged a timeout as if they had lost the challenge.

I strongly disagree with this ruling. Did the announcers have anything to say?


  • I don't remember if the announcers did, but I think that a JS article said the rule requires the first down to be changed.
    Otherwise every movement of a ball by a yard or two could be challenged without losing a timeout. I don't know what the minimum distance without a change of down or score is to preserve a timeout, but I suspect there is one.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 5:23 PM  

  • I didn't see the play, but it's important to remember that the spot of the ball is technically not what a coach can challenge -- a coach can only challenge whether there was a first down. So if a coach challenges a spot, he's really challenging whether or not the play was a first down. The spot could be wrong, but if the wrong spot doesn't change whether it was a first down, it's considered a failed challenge. Theoretically, it could be third-and-20, a play could actually gain one yard and an incompetent official could spot it as a gain of 19 yards, and the opposing coach couldn't challenge that.

    By Blogger MDS, at 9:10 PM  

  • Huh, I'll take mds word for it, but that doesn't seem right. I think a team should be able to challenge that a guy stepped out-of-bounds after 11 yards on a 60 yard non-touchdown run.

    Unless that is different than challenging the spot of the ball.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 10:23 PM  

  • Yeah, Scott H, you can challenge that -- plays having to do with the sidelines are reviewable. But on a play where everyone agrees the player was tackled, and the only thing they're disagreeing about is where the player was tackled, the only aspect of the play that can be challenged is whether or not it got a first down.

    By Blogger MDS, at 2:39 PM  

  • That makes sense. And that play wan't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. I wish the refs would have explained it a little better, there was a great deal of booing.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 3:41 PM  

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