INDIANAPOLIS — As promised, Martin Mayhew has proposed a change to the NFL’s instant replay rule.
The Detroit Lions general manager offered up his idea on Thursday at the NFL General Managers Advisory Committee meeting at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“Basically what it does is keeps the instant replay rules the way that they are. One issue with complicating that rule it’s already a difficult enough to understand what you can challenge and what you can’t challenge,’’ Mayhew said on Friday.
“It keeps everything the same as it is, it just adds one caveat that is if an official throws a flag you can throw your challenge flag, you can challenge that call. If he doesn’t throw a flag you can’t challenge it,’’ Mayhew said.
“So you may have a questionable call during the game, but if it’s not called a penalty you can’t challenge it.
“What you don’t want to have is, all of a sudden, a quarterback throws a 70-yard bomb for a touchdown late in the game and somebody challenges that somebody out there was holding,’’ Mayhew said. “You don’t want that.’’
Of course, the change was proposed following the bad call in the Lions’ playoff game at Dallas when officials threw a flag for pass interference on an attempted catch by Brandon Pettigrew, made the announcement and then picked up the flag.
This new rule would have allowed officials to use instant replay and get the call right.
“It doesn’t solve all the world’s problems. But I think one of the real travesties of the game, one of the things going on right now that could be a lot better — on Monday after the game people talk about the officials, the officiating and the bad calls, this call that happened, that call that happened,’’ Mayhew said. “I think they should be talking about the players on the field.
“I think Tony Romo played one of the better games I saw a quarterback play last year in that game. He was under duress, made decisions, put that last drive together,’’ Mayhew said. “I thought it was a valiant effort. The next week nobody really even recognized it or talked about ti. They were talking about the call.’’
He said at Thursday’s meeting about 60 percent of the members were against the measure and 40 percent in favor.
“I think what this proposal does it allows you to get more calls right. I think that’s what we really want to achieve,’’ Mayhew said. “I don’t think it slows the game down dramatically because the penalty flag has already been thrown. So the game is stopped at that point. That would be one concern people voiced is that it might slow the game down, but I think the big takeaways are it’s going to probably be used on game-changing plays, on big-time plays that impact the game.
“It doesn’t complicate the rule unnecessarily, it doesn’t allow a fishing expedition to try to find a penalty ... the official has to make a affirmative act of throwing the flag,’’ Mayhew added.
The NFL competition committee will look at the proposal prior to the NFL owners meetings in March.
“They’ll watch video of a lot plays this rule would have impacted, then they’ll make a recommendation to the ownership,’’ Mayhew said.