Schwartz Challenge Flag

Challenge rule to remain unchanged for the playoffs

Coaches headed to the playoffs beware; the NFL's challenge rule that cost the Lions a touchdown on Thanksgiving will not be altered for the playoff according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

For those of you that were unfamiliar with the Thanksgiving occurrence, Texans running back Justin Forsett was clearly down by contact, but no whistle was blown, and to Forsett's credit, he got up and finished off an 81 yard run. The play would have been overturned, but Jim Schwarz threw his red challenge flag before the replay had been initiated by the booth replay official. Since it was not a play challengeable by the coach, the Lions were penalized 15 yards, but more importantly, the replay was not allowed to happen due to the rules of the situation.

Don't blame the NFL for this one either. Just a week earlier, Mike Smith cost the Falcons a challenge by doing the exact same thing. Still, it's a bit strange that the rule wouldn't be changed for the playoffs, but then again, with it's level of publicity, no coach should make this mistake.

Even knowing the rule may not be enough in the heat of the moment. Coaches will have to restrain themselves from reaching for the red challenge flag following turnovers and scoring plays, because a mistake like Jim Schwartz's could cost a team an opportunity of winning the Super Bowl. If the itch is too great, I suggest throwing a headset as Mike Mularkey did against the Colts some time ago. After all, that's only a 15 yard penalty, but a replay can still be initiated.

Shane Clemons

About Shane Clemons

Shane Clemons came from humble beginnings creating his own Jaguars blog before moving on to SBNation as a featured writer for the Jaguars. He then moved to Bloguin where he briefly covered the AFC South before taking over Bloguin's Jaguars blog. Since the inception of This Given Sunday, Shane has served as an editor for the site, doing his best not to mess up a good thing.

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