Bill Belichick wants to see the NFL make this rule change
Several coaches have called for rule changes in the NFL over the years, most of which stemmed from a negatively impactful call or non-call made in a game their team was playing. But after this past weekend’s slate of exciting games, many around the league have expressed their desire to see a change in the rulebook that directly affects every team at one point or another.
The Vikings versus the Bills game captivated fans worldwide on Sunday, as both teams fought it out nearly through an entire overtime period. Although there are always missed calls in games, no matter who’s playing or the referees, a prominent and potentially game-altering catch caught the viewers’ attention, leading to the call for challenges within the final two minutes.
The play sparking the debate came after the Vikings recovered a fumble by the Bills and drove down the field for a touchdown. Taking a 30-27 lead leaving only 41 seconds remaining, the Bills needed to score a field goal to force overtime.
Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense trucked down the field easily and got into field goal range, causing overtime. But during their drive, a 20-yard pass to Gabriel Davis was called a completion, but upon review, it was clear the football had touched the ground. The referees did not call for a replay, and the Bills raced to get the next play off. Because there were only mere seconds left in the game, the Vikings were not allowed to challenge the catch, leading the Bills to tie the game.
Bill Belichick has consistently stood by his stance concerning allowing coaches to challenge plays during the last two minutes of a game. When speaking to the media on Monday morning, the coach was asked about the situation from Sunday’s game and if he still wants to see a change made.
"“Provided the team has a challenge, they should have the opportunity to challenge really any play. I’m on record on that.”"
Belichick used the Vikings at Bills game as the most recent example for his argument and doubled down on his opinion regarding a coach’s challenge.
"“In the two-minute situation with the Gabriel (Davis) catch on the sideline, that play could have been reviewed by the officials, but it wasn’t or they missed it. However, you want to characterize it. For me, that would be an example of a play where the team should have an opportunity to challenge if they want to and if they did have a challenge left.”"
The coach continued with his explanation, reiterating that missed calls, like the one in Buffalo on Sunday, could be the determining factor of a game and coaches should be allowed to challenge that type of play to be reviewed.
"“I get forward progress, and things like that, that you can’t challenge. I’m not talking about that. I’m saying not having the ability to challenge a play that could impact the outcome of the game — even calls like holding and pass interference and things like that — I don’t see why those plays can’t be reviewed [by a coach’s challenge].”"
Considering the number of calls missed by officials weekly and the league issuing a statement acknowledging the Davis catch was a clear incompletion, Belichick’s latest comments are not being received as controversial. Because every team in the league has dealt with this issue in the past, the idea of making the rule change has garnered a lot of support. Although nothing can be done until the season’s conclusion, it will be interesting to see how other coaches feel if presented with the chance to make the rule change during their annual meeting.