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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

Challenge This!
During an NFL contest, each team has a total of two replay challenges, and possibly a third, if one of the calls on the field is reviewed and is then reversed.  So the prime question is, when should we toss that challenge flag.  The obvious answer lies within determining what calls would result in the greatest impact upon the game.  Since what determines whether you win or lose a contest is points, then by its very definition, the challenge flag should be reserved for primary events only.  The only primary event to challenge is a touchdown that can add points to your tally or one that can subtract from your opponents ill-gotten tally.  

After a touchdown is scored, the following play is a dead ball any way.  Why the league allows any team to kill the opportunity to review a pivotal play by enabling a quick PAT is beyond reason.  In fact, its like stealing from the fans.  I don't mind getting beat ... just don't tell me that my team went down on a technicality.         

If on average each team scores 3 touchdowns per game then the average is 6 total touchdowns per game.  It also a good bet that 1 of the 6 touchdowns will be scored in the final two minutes of ether half, which will be subject to an automatic booth review.  This means that both you and your competition will be scoring anywhere from 2 to 3 touchdowns per game.  If this is true, one of the two challenge events should be reserved for one of your competitors touchdowns.  

If I were a head coach, any time the other team scored a touchdown I'd set myself up right behind or next to that sideline judge, with that red flag already pulled and ready to be thrown.  First I'd wait for the call from the booth to see if a replay was available.  If your the away team, you can pretty much assure yourself that there will be no replay available.  This leaves only one tool in the tool box and that is to read the body language of my foe.  

I'll never forget my time dealing with umpires.  As a head coach I did my best to develop a good sound relationship with any umpire that would give me their time, in that everything that I did with them was respectful.  On a call, I'd ask them what they saw, and if I didn't understand something, I'd ask their opinion or for clarification; if I needed an education.  As long as you approached these guys in a respectful manner, and they weren't having a bad day, they were always very helpful ... regardless of the call.  It was then that I was exposed to the universal rule.  Too often, it was apparent that these judges missed way too many calls, which used to bother me, mostly because they were out of position.  That is until I learned the hard and fast rule which was that umpires read body language where the runner or the fielder always always provided the tell.  In short, a great base runner would probably be a great facilitator (salesman).

So there I am, standing behind that sideline judge, holding onto that flag, blowing sweet nothings into his ear.  "Get that whistle ready baby, cause I'm getting ready to toss this flag."  Then I would watch the other teams body language.  When something is wrong, everything, and I mean everything speeds up.  The other team starts falling all over themselves and their body language is going to scream at you.  It's a good bet that its time to toss that flag.  The question is ... will you throw it?    

In that after game interview, there is going to be one of two results.  Either you made a brilliant call by catching your foe trying to sneak ill-gotten points onto that score board, or you will get caught wasting a challenge and a time out.  Either way, when they are going to ask that question and there will be the same answer with either result, "A little birdie on my shoulder told me to toss that thing."  Don't you think that was a bit brash?  "Nope! Not with this team ... all we need is a blade of grass to defend!"  What about the time out?  "With Brett, they really aren't as important as they once were."          

Over the years, its been quite difficult to watch way too many of these challenges that have resulted in absolutely nothing.  Isn't it about time we take a brass bearings approach ... calling out the brashness in response to the tempest of this team.

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: October 8, 2009

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