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NFL to Change Challenge Rule

Touchdown Challenge

An NFL official promised that a controversial rule that prevents a coach’s challenge will be changed in 2013.

Ray Anderson, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, told the Associated Press that the NFL competition committee will review and amend the rule that penalizing coaches for challenging automatically reviewed scoring plays. The process factored into the Detroit Lions’ 34-31 overtime loss to the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving Day.

In the game, Texans running back Justin Forsett ran for an 81-yard touchdown, but replays showed his knee had been down by contact earlier in the run (pictured above). Detroit coach Jim Schwartz reflexively threw the red challenge flag even though all scoring plays are automatically reviewed. The result was a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Lions that nullifies the review process and allows the play to stand unreviewed, while penalizing the team challenging the call.

Anderson said the process will be changed to continue with a review, but the league could keep the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

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