In American football (NFL), is it possible for both teams to challenge on the same thing for the same play?


No. Once one team challenges the play, that challenge covers all reviewable aspects of the play, at least as of the most recent rules (2015). From Rule 15, Section 2, Article 3:

Note 2: All reviewable aspects of the play may be examined and are subject to reversal, even if not identified in a coach’s challenge or if not the specific reason for a Replay Official’s request for review.

Thus, one review covers all possible reviewable actions. A second flag is not explicitly discussed explicitly; however, it would be unlikely that a referee would allow such a challenge (and if he did, it would almost certainly just be a wasted timeout).

  • I am not sure about this but the challenge rules/language changes year to year. I remember a spot being challenged last year or maybe year before on a short spot on 4th down. The call stood. During the review the TV crew noticed the 12th man on the field didn't get off on time. This was not noticed in the review. Turnover on downs. Mike Pereira mentioned that the defense could have challenged the 12th man if the spot was changed. I don't think there is anything in the books on not allowing both teams to request a review.
    – Coach-D
    Feb 10 '16 at 18:26
  • I agree there's nothing on the books. The question as asked actually specified the same thing - that I think is definitely not going to be allowed (despite there being no explicit rule regarding it). The rule adding the ability to review all matters, I think, was only added maybe 2 years ago - so maybe what you're thinking about was the year before that took effect.
    – Joe
    Feb 10 '16 at 18:27
  • I also seem to remember and maybe this was last year that the officials doing their own little double review where they came out, about to announce something and then one of the opposing coach was about to throw his flag, official talked to him, went back to monitor and reviewed again... I wish I could remember more details on that. I think if the referees didn't allow the opposing flag they would have to tread slowly before announcing something. But I know they did put language in as you have suggest but nothing clearly stating no opposing flags. Loophole for a bad review.
    – Coach-D
    Feb 10 '16 at 18:33
  • I'd bet it's something like a clock issue - came over told coach X that they were overturning a completion (into an incompletion), he said "okay, so I get my 15 seconds back now?", they said "Oops... let's go take a look".
    – Joe
    Feb 10 '16 at 18:34
  • Also there is only some very special cases where something happened that would not be noticed in the review - 12th man, illegal touch, leaving field (not sure that is reviewable)... so this would be a very weird circumstance to not be of the essence of the play.
    – Coach-D
    Feb 10 '16 at 18:35

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