UPDATE: The game effectively ended on another penalty and this game is going to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of Eagles fans.
The Philadelphia Eagles are in a tough battle against the Washington Commanders, and a huge missed call in the fourth quarter has Philly fans irate.
Dallas Goedert caught a pass from Jalen Hurts and Commanders defensive tackle John Ridgeway was able to strip the ball out. Linebacker Jamin Davis recovered the ball and while he thought he ran it back for a score, Goedert had a hand on him so he was ruled down by contact.
The fumble was clear, but at the same time Goedert was fumbling the ball, Davis was pulling on Goedert’s facemask. You can see how blatant it was in the video below, but unfortunately it was not caught by the referees.
The NFL has an instant replay system in place, but they do not allow for review of penalties or missed penalties. Coaches can challenge the following:
- Plays involving touching of either the ball or the ground
- Goal line plays
- Plays at the sidelines, line of scrimmage and line to gain
- Number of players on the field at the snap, even when a foul is not called
- Game administration: Penalty enforcement, Proper down, Spot of a foul, Status of the game clock, Disqualification of a player
They can challenge mechanics of penalty enforcement, but they cannot challenge the underlying penalty.
There have been proposals to the owners to allow for such challenges. Notably, Bill Belichick regularly asks for all plays to be reviewable and is regularly denied. People will complain that more challengeable plays will result in longer games, but there are two counters to that. The first is that you would still leave coaches with the same number of challenges. It would increase the final two minutes of each half, but not by all that much. The second is that the NFL should want to get things right.
One option would be that only penalties of 15 or more yards can be challenged. Those are significant game-changers, more so than many five or ten-yard penalties. I’m of the belief that all plays should be able to be challenged, but the league has to start somewhere soon.