In close game situations in the NFL, if for example the opposing quarterback completes a pass to one of their receivers, can you challenge the ruling on the field with no timeout? This is questionable, as you can call a timeout and then the officials will review that play. Also, you lose a timeout when you call a challenge, so why wouldn't coaches always challenge outside the 2 minute mark if you did not have a timeout to lose (assuming that the challenging team has a coach's challenge left)

  • You should be more specific about what level of football you are talking about as college and the pro have different rules.
    – Joe W
    Dec 31, 2018 at 4:59
  • I was meaning the NFL level, the pros, but thank you for that suggestion
    – Ginge
    Jan 1, 2019 at 17:17
  • The tags on this are still for both levels (collegiate is for college level sports) and amercian-football is for all levels.
    – Joe W
    Jan 1, 2019 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


A challenge with no timeouts left is not possible. And it will cost the team 15 yards, if the coach tries to do so.

Section 2 - Instant Replay

A team may not challenge a reviewable play:

  • after the two-minute warning of each half;
  • throughout any overtime period;
  • after committing a foul that delays the next snap; and
  • after exhausting all of its challenges or timeouts.

Trying to challenge a call without permission is penalized as follows:

If a team initiates a challenge when it is not permitted to do so, it will be charged a timeout.

For initiating a challenge when a team has exhausted its timeouts: Loss of 15 yards.

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