NFL to consider allowing challenges to judgment-call penalties, report says

NFL had 'intervention' with seven teams over 2017 concussions

The NFL reportedly is considering implementing a new rule that would allow for coaches to challenge judgment-call penalties amid continued backlash from the no-call on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman during the NFC championship game. 

The league is mulling adopting a rule that would allow coaches to have the ability to challenge judgment calls on either penalties or uncalled penalties in a limited basis, according to ESPN, which cited unidentified league sources.

However, the rule would include disincentives if a coach’s challenge fails. The reported proposal indicates that a team would be penalized or have time taken off the clock if its challenge is unsuccessful. The disincentive was included with the hopes of preventing overuse or abuse of challenging judgment calls, ESPN notes. 

The new rule proposal comes after Robey-Coleman hit Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis before a pass arrived during the playoffs. Lewis was knocked down by Robey-Coleman not only early for pass interference but also on helmet-to-helmet contact, both judgment calls, but the officials did not call a penalty. Saints coach Sean Payton later said NFL head of officials Al Riveron told him the officials “blew the call,” and the NFL fined Robey-Coleman $26,739 for the helmet-to-helmet hit.

ESPN notes there likely will be more proposals the competition committee considers, but the belief is this particular rule has the attention of NFL  commissioner Roger Goodell and the “committee will figure out a way to get a rule like this passed.”