It’s not easy to make Tony Dungy mad, but the NFL managed to do that this week after another debacle involving the league’s new interference rule that allows coaches to challenge any potential pass interference play on the field whether or not a penalty flag was actually thrown.
Through the first nine weeks of the season, the rule has been a total disaster with coaches winning just five out of 53 challenges (9.4%). Dungy’s problem with the rule is that interference calls aren’t being overturned even if they should clearly be overturned.
To make his point, Dungy shared a screengrab from the Cowboys-Giants game on Monday night. During the fourth quarter of the Cowboys‘ 37-18 win, Dallas cornerback Chidobe Awuzie clearly made contact with Giants tight end Evan Engrambefore the ball arrived on a pivotal second-and-10 play from the Cowboys’ 11-yard line. At the time, the score was just 23-18 and a penalty would have given the Giants a first-and-goal at the Cowboys’ 6-yard line. However, no flag was thrown.
Although Pat Shurmur eventually would challenge the no-call, the officiating crew refused to overturn the ruling on the field to pass interference, so the Giants lost the challenge and a pivotal timeout.
The day after the game, Dungy ripped the NFL on Twitter for making its own “officiating department look inept” for not changing the call on obvious penalties like the one from the Giants game. Dungy also called for the league to end the pass interference rule if they’re not going to enforce it.
That’s an especially harsh critique for the NFL since it’s coming from Dungy, who was known for keeping his cool during his 13-year head coaching career, which included one Super Bowl win. When a Hall of Fame coach, who has no dog in the fight, starts calling you out, that means you’re probably doing something wrong.
After watching that game play in the Giants game, Troy Aikman also expressed his displeasure.
The bottom line is that the NFL needs to make a decision: If the league is going to keep the rule in place for the rest of the season, then they better enforce it or everyone looks stupid, as Dungy noted. On the other hand, the best move at this point might just be to scrap the rule because it’s almost as if the rule doesn’t exist anyway since can’t seem to win a challenge, even when they have a legitimate gripe.
Sources from: CBS Sports