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Andy Reid says Eagles weren’t seeing replays of questionable calls

Andy Reid

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid addresses members of the media during a news conference at the team’s NFL football training facility in Philadelphia, Monday, Dec. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


If the Eagles hadn’t managed to pull off the Miracle at the New Meadowlands, their head coach would be known as the Meathead of the New Meadowlands, based on his maddening failure to throw the red flag he was holding in his hand after the officials incorrectly ruled that receiver DeSean Jackson had fumbled in the second half.

Already up by 14, the Giants converted the turnover into another touchdown, pushing the lead to 21.

Reid said Monday that his staff wasn’t able to see a replay of key calls that may have been challenged.

“I should have just thrown the flag. That’s my responsibility,” Reid said, via “Now as it was all said and done it all worked out for us. But that’s my responsibility to do that. And we weren’t getting the replays, so I’ll look into that part too. But some of those were bang-bang shots that were a little tough to see a guy touch the back of his little hand warmer. So, unless you see a replay it’s tough to figure out.”

The question of whether and to what extent the coaching staff -- especially of the visiting team -- has access to prompt replay evidence represents one of the biggest flaws with the entire system. Obviously, the head coach of the visiting team won’t be seeing a replay on the videoboard when a challenge by the visiting team could succeed, because the home team’s video operator won’t be inclined to help the visiting team.

There’s also a troubling degree of discretion and/or delay that can be innocently exercised by, say, a Giants fan in the network production truck. (We’re not saying that FOX engaged in foul play on Sunday; we’re saying that the current procedure creates the possibility for any network -- including NBC -- to delay the availability of replay after a possible blunder by the officials.)

As we see it, this situation can easily be fixed. During the period in which the coach’s challenge procedure applies (i.e., the first 28 minutes of each half), each team should designate one replay coach who will be responsible for reviewing the replay and making a recommendation to the sideline. The replay coach would, during the first 28 minutes of each half, be in the replay booth, with the replay official monitoring whether a replay is available. And the replay official would have the power to instruct the referee to delay the next snap until the replay coach has had fair access to a replay of the prior play.

Yes, the approach could inject some additional delays into the game, but for the most part it would be only a few seconds. More importantly, this approach would ensure a degree of fairness that, currently, road teams sometimes don’t experience.