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Competition Committee to focus on Schwartz challenge rule

Feb
20
2/20/2013 7:09:04 PM
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Ray Anderson, the league's vice president of football operations, vowed that the NFL's Competition Committee would review the challenge rule that played a major role in the Detroit Lions' 34-31 overtime loss to the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving of last season, Chris Wesseling of NFL.com reports.

Anderson went a step further Wednesday, promising that the rule would be fixed before the 2013 season.

During the Thanksgiving game, replays clearly showed that Justin Forsett's knee touched the turf upon being hit by Lions defenders. Referees missed the call in real time, rewarding Forsett with an 81-yard touchdown.

Schwartz's knee-jerk reaction was to throw the challenge flag even though scoring plays are automatically reviewed. The Lions were not only punished with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty, but were also prevented from reviewing the touchdown on replay.

Anderson acknowledges that the priority is to get the call right. While the Competition Committee may opt to keep the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, the infraction should not wipe out any chance of reviewing a potentially game-changing play.

Other changes to be considered by the Competition Committee include a so-called "Jim Harbaugh Rule" that will prevent coaches from wandering onto the field as well as a more proactive supervision of playing surfaces, such as the Washington Redskins' much-derided FedEx field.

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