During the Nov 22, 2012 Detroit Lions/Houston Texans game, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz challenged a scoring play where the runner appeared to be down by contact. Since scoring plays are automatically reviewed, Schwartz was correctly penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. However, it does not appear there was any review of the play at all. What exactly happened, and why?

  • While Mike is correct, it is worth noting that the rule has been written to keep coaches from stalling for time in late game scenarios.
    – Jerrod
    Nov 26 '12 at 0:25
  • So what if the other coach had thrown the challenge flag? Would that prevent a review???
    – user951
    Dec 4 '12 at 3:05
  • "[the replay official] cannot initiate a review of a ruling against a team that commits a foul." Nope, review still happens.
    – Brad Koch
    Dec 4 '12 at 3:12
  • By the way, answers are expected to fundamentally answer the question. If you get a bit of reputation, you'll have the privilege to ask things like this in comments. This would make a great new question though!
    – Brad Koch
    Dec 4 '12 at 3:13
  • @SteveGreen Welcome to Sports SE! Unfortunately, this would be more useful as a comment (and maybe a new question as the OP states) as it is not an answer, and this does not meet the OP's "best on the internet" standard. Here's more info on asking a question on Sports SE if you're interested. Welcome again!
    – user527
    Dec 4 '12 at 5:26
  • A coaches' challenge is not permitted on scoring plays.
  • Initiating a challenge when one is not permitted to do so is a foul.
  • On a scoring play, the replay official may initiate a review except when the team that the referees ruled against commits a foul that delays the next snap.

  • The illegal challenge by the coach was such a foul. Therefore, the disputed touchdown ruling could not be reviewed.

See NFL Rulebook rule 15 section 9.

  • It's important to emphasize initiated, Mike McCarthy dodged a bullet later that season. Either way, they fixed this rule for the 2013 season.
    – Brad Koch
    Oct 16 '13 at 17:27

Houston RB Justin Forsett touched the field (knee and elbow) and should have been called down. The play would have been reviewed, as are all scoring plays, and the ruling on the field would have been overturned.

Because Schwartz threw the challenge flag on a play he couldn't challenge by rule, the play could no longer be reviewed. Instead, The ruling on the field stands and the offending team also gets a 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

That's the rule.

  • 2
    Great, clear answer, but any chance you have a citation on that rule? Going for "best on the internet" quality here.
    – Brad Koch
    Nov 23 '12 at 6:13

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