One of the topics of this week’s 33rd Team Call was the ins and outs of coaches’ challenges in the NFL, and former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson summed up his philosophy on the subject very succinctly.
“Ya gotta have that shot,” said Pederson, noting the importance of having someone in a booth upstairs who can tell him definitively if there’s a camera angle that supports challenging the officials’ call on the field.
“It doesn’t matter if it happened or not, we don’t have the shot,” Pederson will tell the players and coaches around him if that’s what he hears from upstairs.
“I think the head coaches that have had the most success in challenges are the ones that can remove the emotional side out of it and think of it from the standpoint of, ‘Okay, how many camera angles did we have? Did we get the right look? Did we get the decision that we wanted?’ And they can just remove the emotional side of the game.”
Pederson also warned coaches not to get stuck on what they see on a video board in the stadium.
“That’s not what New York is looking at,” he said. “That’s not what these guys that are making the decisions on challenges are looking at. The fans might be looking at that, and yelling at Coach Pederson to throw the red flag. In all reality, I’m not throwing that red flag until I get the okay from my guy upstairs.”
Also on the call this week was former NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino, who was asked about the future of challenges and video replays.
“I think we’re heading toward that eighth official that’s going to be a video official,” said Blandino, who is now a rules expert for Fox Sports. “I think that eventually is going to happen at some point. The league right now, they’re testing some things out and keeping it limited, but … you can only keep it limited for a time. And then eventually, whether it’s a reaction to a play or the technology continues to improve… there’s going to be a push to get every play right, and that’s the balance that you have to try to strike between re-officiating the game in replay or just using it as an aid on obvious mistakes.
“I think we’re heading toward the former, where we’re going to see more and more officiating happening from video.”
Watch the Pederson video:
Watch the Blandino video: