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Until red-flag rule changes, coaches should hand them off


NFL executive V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson said on the Black Friday edition of The Dan Patrick Show that the rule that wipes out replay review if the head coach has the audacity to ask for that which he already is entitled could be changed not after the current season but during it.

Regardless of when the rule is changed, coaches need to be more careful until it does.

While it’s inexcusable for any coach or anyone who covers the NFL to have not known about the red-flag rule on Thursday, given that the issue was one of the major talking points emerging from Week 11, coaches are human. They surrender to impulse in the heat of the moment. They throw the red flag without necessarily thinking that they shouldn’t, especially since until last year the only time the red flag couldn’t be used came during the final two minutes of either half or in overtime.

The safest approach would be to give the red flag to someone else, like the guy who holds the nuclear football for the president. When the coach feels the urge to throw the red flag, he turns to the keeper of the red flag, who is charged with knowing the rule and knowing when the red flag can and can’t be thrown.

And if it can’t be thrown, the keeper of the red flag should shake his head like he’s turning down a piece of pizza made by a guy who didn’t wash his hands after going to the bathroom.

It’s an easy fix to a potentially game-altering blunder. And when even the smartest of coaches can’t think clearly through a cloud of piss, vinegar, and adrenaline, it’s a critical one, too.