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After three underwhelming games featuring teams badly weakened by key injuries, the NFL finally got an exciting game with the Cowboys dramatic comeback win against Detroit. Unfortunately for the league, more people are talking about the questionable officiating from that game than the fantastic on-field play. In this case, Dallas's comeback was aided by a picked up flag for pass interference, a non-call that negated a key Detroit first down and allowed the Boys to get the ball back and eventually score the winning touchdown.

If only they'd listened to Bill Belichick. As Grantland's Bill Barnwell notes this morning, the whole situation could've have been prevented had the league implemented Belichick's offseason proposal for an overhaul of the replay and challenge systems.

In case you've forgotten, one of Belichick's four rule change proposals at last year's league meetings was an expansion of the challenge system. Coaches would still have two challenges under Belichick's proposal, but there would be no limitations on which types of calls could be challenged and subject to replay review. Thus, coaches would finally be able to challenge judgment calls, such as personal fouls and, yes, pass interference.

So, in the case of yesterday's game, Detroit could have challenged the officials ruling on that critical play and sent it to replay, where it would be tough to see the non-call standing. At the very least, there would have been some clarity on how the officials came to their ruling.

Here's what Belichick had to say about the proposal back when he made it last spring:

“When you have two challenges, I don’t see anything wrong with the concept of ‘you can challenge any two plays that you want. I understand that judgment calls are judgment calls, but to say that an important play can’t be reviewed, I don’t think that’s really in the spirit of trying to get everything right and making sure the most important plays are officiated properly.”

Alas, Bill, some things just make too much sense for the NFL.

Ned Brady 1/05/2015 12:54:00 PM Edit
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