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Belichick wants to be proactive on replay, but NFL remains reactive


Patriots coach Bill Belichick proposed a simple rule change this offseason: Instead of allowing coaches to challenge some officials’ calls but not others, simply let a coach throw a challenge flag on any play where he thinks replay will prove the officials got it wrong. Belichick wasn’t asking for more challenges -- each coach would still be limited to two challenges a game, with a chance for a third challenge if the first two were correct -- but he was asking for more opportunities to get wrong calls right.

Most NFL teams didn’t see it Belichick’s way, however, and coaches will still be restricted to a specified list of wrong calls that they can urge the referee to use replay to get right.

Still, Belichick hopes his ideas on replay will gain traction. Belichick noted that what the NFL usually does is add calls to the list of reviewable plays only after a high-profile mistake. What Belichick is hoping for is allowing the coaches to challenge a mistake before it becomes a big deal.

It wouldn’t give the coach any more challenges,” Belichick said on SiriusXM NFL Radio, via WEEI. “It would just give him a chance to challenge a play he thought was ruled incorrectly. In the grand scheme of things, I think what we all want is to get the play right and for the best team to win and for the game not to be decided by a missed call. To not have the opportunity to correct that type of play, it just doesn’t seem like it’s the right way to do it. We had a situation this year where we added another exception to the replay rule because of a play that came up during the season, and it seems like that’s kind of the way it goes — something happens, and then, we have something else to challenge or make another play challengeable that wasn’t in the past, and we’re just going to keep adding to that. I’d just like to clean it up and have a coach have two challenges, and if he gets them right, he gets a third, and that’s it. He can use it on whatever play he wants.”

Belichick got voted down this year, but he’s not done advocating for improving the replay system. He hopes that he can convince the rest of the league to go along with it.

“I think we probably would bring it up again — maybe change our presentation or try to assemble a little bit more support for it,” he said.

The bottom line is that there are too many bad calls in the NFL. Belichick is going to keep advocating for a rule that allows coaches to ask the referees to fix those bad calls.