The NFL is constantly changing it’s rules — I mean just look at what the definition of a catch is and you’ll get a god idea of how all over the place the NFL governing body really is. Another thing the NFL has is an ego and that ego has literally been written into the rule book and the Detroit Lions are learning that the hard way on Thanksgiving.
Midway through the third quarter, the Houston Texans were down 10 points until Justin Forestt busted off an 80-yard run that should have never happened. It appeared that Forsett had been tackled but there were no whistles blown by officials so the Houston back popped up and kept running to the end zone without a single Lion realizing what was going on.
Caught up in the heat of the moment, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz threw the red challenge flag, which on scoring plays is illegal to do. Remember that NFL ego we discussed a moment ago, well that comes into play when a scoring play happens. The rule is that all scoring plays are reviewed upstairs, unless you throw the challenge flag which is basically telling the NFL to take another look.
Well the league doesn’t like to be told to do something they’re already going to do so not only do they penalize you 15-yards but by throwing the challenge flag the ability to actually review the play is wiped out. That happened on the Forsett run, and although his knee clearly hit the ground, thus making it not a touchdown, because he ran the distance anyways and because Schwartz threw the challenge flag the touchdown wasn’t reviewed and it stood as called.
Who’s blame here? Well Schwartz gets mad props for keeping his composure and actually taking blame by pointing to himself almost immediately after throwing the red flag. But the refs will get blasted for this as well, because they were way too timid on blowing the whistle which pretty much caused the situation in the first place.
Either way, the Houston Texans discovered the true meaning of being thankful on Thanksgiving. As for the rest of the NFL, Jim Schwartz just taught them all a lesson no one will forget.