XFL’s challenge-anything rule could have minimized the James Bradberry Super Bowl controversy
The XFL has adopted an unprecedented rule that allows a head coach to challenge anything he wants to challenge, once per game.
In the aftermath of the first weekend of XFL 3.0, MDS raised an interesting point about this tweak to the challenge procedure.
If the NFL had this rule -- and if Eagles coach Nick Sirianni hadn’t previously used the challenge during Super Bowl LVII -- he could have thrown the flag after cornerback James Bradberry was called for defensive holding late in the fourth quarter. The visual evidence then would have shown that the call was correct, the ruling would have stood, the Eagles would have lost a timeout, and the controversy over the call would have been less spirited.
Sure, some still would have complained that the officials didn’t call similar fouls all game long. (I’m still waiting for someone to send clips of instances of uncalled defensive holding with obvious jersey pulls by the defensive back.) But the ability of Sirianni to challenge the play, and the decision on review that the call was correct, would have minimized the vitriol.
Of course, that would have resulted in more people complaining about the piss-poor playing conditions.
Regardless, there’s value in having the ability to challenge anything. It’s the ultimate break-glass-in-event-of-emergency option that could have a huge impact on a game, a season, and/or a championship.