Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have discovered what the NFL's most head-scratching rule is.
In the third quarter of the game between the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans, running back Justin Forsett was given credit for an 81-yard touchdown run. But as you'll see below, Forsett should have been ruled down on the play.
Without thinking, Jim Schwartz threw his challenge flag. And that's when things got messy.
You see, touchdown plays are automatically reviewed, meaning they can't be challenged. Because Schwartz attempted to challenge the play, the Lions were not only penalized 15 yards, but the play was no longer reviewable.
Had Schwartz not attempted to challenge the play, it would have been reviewable like any other touchdown.
Now, there are two ways to look at this. The first is that Schwartz should absolutely know about this rule as a head coach. This same scenario played out for Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons just last week, except it came on a turnover.
Like touchdowns, all plays resulting in turnovers are automatically reviewed. Smith made the mistake of throwing the flag before the automatic review was initiated by the officials, thus preventing the play to be reviewed at all and costing the Falcons 15 yards and the ball.
There's a second way to look at this, and it goes a little something like this—it's the dumbest freaking rule ever.
It's one thing to penalize a coach for throwing a challenge flag on an automatically reviewed play. I totally get that, since it falls into the realm of a delay of game. It's like trying to call a timeout in basketball when you don't have any left and being charged with a technical foul.
But to no longer review the play as well? That seems incredibly harsh. If the idea of the automatic reviews is to ensure the play is called correctly in the first place, does it really seem fair to allow a wrong call to stand as a form of punishment?
Sorry, but I find that to be incredibly counterintuitive. If you replay every touchdown and turnover, replayevery touchdown and turnover, even when the coach screws up and throws his challenge flag.
Penalize them, yes. But get the darn call correct. Otherwise, what's the point?