Colin Cowherd has made a career out of being a bombastic radio and TV host who at times comes up with some out-there ideas and suggestions, sometimes just to get publicity and have people talking about him and his shows. Cowherd recently came up with a suggestion on how to fix the problem with NFL replay that may actually make sense.
Is Cowherd onto something in regards to the league’s broken replay system? Let’s examine what he had to say, as well as some of the worst examples of replay’s recent failures and controversies.
Colin Cowherd suggests an “umbrella” rule for NFL replay
Cowherd suggests the league institute an “umbrella” rule for replay in which any play in the last two minutes of a game would be able to be reviewed. He says such a rule would be “insurance” for the NFL, which can be used when there is an egregious call late in the game that could decide the outcome.
This came in response to the Lions losing a Monday night contest to the Packers following multiple hands-to-the-face penalties on the Lions’ Trey Flowers that kept Packers drives alive and allowed them to get the game-winning field goal with all zeros on the clock to win, 23-22. But that’s not the only game in recent memory with controversial calls that weren’t corrected by replay.
The Rams-Saints NFC Championship game
When you think of bad calls in the NFL, the first one that jumps to mind for most fans is last season’s NFC Championship game between the Rams and Saints in New Orleans. The Saints were in the red zone in a 20-20 game. It was third and 10 with under two minutes to go, and Saints QB Drew Brees threw the ball to WR Tommylee Lewis, who was taken down to the ground by Rams CB Nickell Robey-Coleman in what appeared to be a classic example of defensive pass interference.
In fact, both players seemed to be expecting to see a flag thrown after the play, but there was none. That prevented the Saints from getting a first down that would have allowed them to take time off the clock before attempting the go-ahead field goal. Instead, they made their field goal but the Rams had enough time to match it and force overtime.
Los Angeles eventually won in the extra period. The NFL eventually admitted pass interference should have been called on the defender, and the no-call on the play was so egregious that this season the league instituted challenges and reviews for pass interference, which never used to qualify for replay review.
The ‘Fail Mary’ in 2012
Another example of a notable blown call came in Week 3 of the 2012 season, when replacement officials were being used instead of the regular game officials, who were involved in contentious collective bargaining negotiations with the league, which had locked out the officials.
The Seahawks hosted the Packers in that week’s Monday night contest, and with the Seahawks down 12-7 with time running out, Russell Wilson threw up a Hail Mary pass that appeared to be intercepted by Packers CB M.D. Jennings, who got tangled up on the ground with Seahawks WR Golden Tate. The officials ruled the play a touchdown — which was upheld upon replay review — and the Seahawks ended up winning the game, 14-12.
That was one of several bad calls by the replacement refs, which led to the league quickly reaching agreement on a new contract with the officials, who returned to the field the following week. Being a nationally televised game with a team as popular as the Packers likely led to the return of the regular referees.