Bill Belichick has long advocated for making everything reviewable
In all the years that the NFL has used instant replay to aid the officials, one constant has been that only certain plays could get reviewed. The league has always allowed instant replay to determine whether a player stepped out of bounds, for instance, but has never allowed instant replay to determine whether a player committed pass interference.
Bill Belichick has long asked: Why?
In Belichick’s view, everything should be reviewable. Coaches get limited challenges and have to risk a timeout to make a challenge, so why not let them challenge anything they want to challenge? If a coach is sure that the other team’s big play was aided by a penalty that the officials on the field didn’t see, and he’s confident that the replay will show indisputable visual evidence of that penalty, why shouldn’t he be allowed to throw his challenge flag and get the referee to take another look?
And if there’s a penalty on a key play in the last two minutes of a half, or in overtime or on a scoring play that coaches can’t challenge, why shouldn’t the replay assistant be allowed to tell the referee to review it?
“When you have two challenges, I don’t see anything wrong with the concept of ‘you can challenge any two plays that you want,’” Belichick said in 2013. “I understand that judgment calls are judgment calls, but to say that an important play can’t be reviewed, I don’t think that’s really in the spirit of trying to get everything right and making sure the most important plays are officiated properly.
“If you get a situation where they call a guy for being offside, and you don’t think he was offside and you’re willing to use one of your challenges on that to let them go back and take a look at it — I understand if the evidence isn’t conclusive that the call stands. If it is [conclusive] than they’d overturn it.
“If it’s offensive holding, if you think one of the offensive linemen tackles your guy as he’s rushing the quarterback, and the ball hasn’t been thrown, they go back and look at it and if it’s that egregious of a violation they would make a call. If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t. We have to live with that anyway but now it’s only on certain plays and certain situations.
“It’s kind of confusing for me as to which plays are, and which plays aren’t challengeable. I’m sure it’s confusing to the fans to know what they all are. There are multiple pages explaining what you can and can’t challenge. Then you have the officials come over to you in a controversial type of play and say, ‘Well, you can challenge this, or you can’t challenge it’ which is helpful. But I’m just saying the whole idea of simplifying the game and trying to get the important plays right, I wouldn’t have any problem if any play was open to a challenge, understanding that if it’s not conclusive, then it’s not conclusive and the ruling on the field would stand. That’s the way it is anyway. You have to make it a lot simpler in my mind.”
Saints coach Sean Payton is surely wishing the NFL had adopted Belichick’s proposal, as a replay clearly would have penalized the Rams for pass interference on Sunday’s crucial missed call. But for some reason, the league has never adopted Belichick’s proposal.