Coaches Told McCarthy To Challenge

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Mike McCarthy

Huh? What?

One last item on Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy’s lost challenge in the Monday night loss to the Chicago Bears before we move on.

As you know, it was the wrong move to challenge, and we detailed the consequences yesterday. McCarthy threw the challenge flag on James Jones’ fumble — which was recovered by the Bears Tim Jennings — almost immediately. He was right in front of the play, as were the officials.

Initially, we questioned why McCarthy didn’t wait for word from his coaches upstairs, who had the benefit of replay, to chime in. Well, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

Boomer Esiason, announcing the game nationally for the Westwood One radio network and seated in the booth next to the Green Bay coaches box, said later that the Packers coaches had advised McCarthy to challenge the call. But McCarthy, in this instance, has to trust his eyes and not be talked into a challenge. Unless the evidence is clear-cut, a rational decision must be made, not an emotional one.

What the coaches in the box were looking at we may never know, but the blunder dramatically changed the final two minutes of the game and helped ensure the Bears victory.

Ultimately, the call was McCarthy’s and it was the wrong one. Michael Lombardi summarizes.

Yes, it was an important play, but there was more game left to be played, and keeping your team’s chances alive is as important as anything. Also, he has to know that once he throws that flag, he has to be one 100 percent certain he wins the challenge.

The last point is key. McCarthy had to be 100 percent certain he would win the challenge in that situation. Judging by his post-game comments, he was not.

“I was standing right there and I had a pretty good indication of what happened. I did see the defensive back’s foot swing out of bounds, so I was just hopeful that the officials maybe saw that his foot may have hit,” McCarthy said. “It was 2:18 [left to play], I had two challenges left, and that was obviously a huge play in the game that maybe we could swing our way.”

Hopeful, in my book, does not equal 100 percent certainty. Obviously, the blunder was costly, but that’s par for the course in the Mike McCarthy era.


About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

12 Comments on "Coaches Told McCarthy To Challenge"

  1. iltarion

    This posting makes no sense. If you need to be 100% certain to challenge, there would be no challenges. You are NEVER 100% certain. We have all seen challenges, multiple challenges, where the replay appeared conclusive, but the refs blew it anyway and called it the other way. It happens.

    That big of a play, that close of a play? It was a no brainer to challenge it. No surprise the coaches advised it. I can say with a lot of confidence that nearly every coach in the NFL would have challenged it.

    • jeremy

      I’m not as down on McCarthy about this challenge as many other seam to be either. Nine times out of ten when there is a fumble like that the ball or the player is out of bounds. It was a questionable challenge but not totally irresponsible.

      What bothers me is the overall tone of the game. It’s McCarthy’s primary job to have his team ready to play professional football, and to take appropriate action during the game if they are failing. He did not, and that’s a much bigger problem than any single replay challenge.

  2. chitter

    Jeremy which players are you speaking about? Who do you think should have been pulled out? Just interested in your take on it.

  3. chitter

    Oh and in regards to the challenge in question, watch the replay. John Kuhn is literally 18 inches away from the play watching it all go down, as were several other players and coaches. Every single person in the frame of that recovery was saying, “Fuuuuuuuuck!!!” There wasn’t one person there that immediately started calling for a challenge. They were all acting as if they knew we were fucked…because they did…and we were.

  4. iltarion

    Right, chitter, and with the naked eye at real speed, those players could see it better than with a slow motion, frame by frame, high definition instant replay. If so, why do we have replay again?

    Are you saying MM should challenge or not challenge based off what the players say? Hahahaha…

  5. Jeremy

    How about Tauscher, Colledge and Clifton? Mark’s spoken quite honestly about his performance and how he is disappointed in himself. If the Head Coach were available he could help deal with the disaster going on with the Offensive Line instead leaving Campen alone to sort out the problems. 60% of the unit was blowing it. Joe Philbin is up in the booth, he can’t help with those situations.

    I’m not a football coach so maybe I’m slightly off base with this one. But it seams obvious that there are situations during the game that are not being dealt with substantively. Pretty much every time I see McCarthy he’s staring at the playbook. I almost never see him talking to the players or other coaches.

    • Abe Frohman

      I don’t disagree. I mean he pulled Clifton the week prior. Why not see what bulaga, lang, and spitz can do? If Rodgers gets pressured, put ’em back. At least you’re sending a message.

      the Johnny Jolly head butt last year essentially cost us momentum and the game. It basically gave the Vikes a TD. The maroon is on tv afterwards saying “thats’ the way I play” the way you play is cheap and stupid!!!! He should have been yanked for at least a series. I mean they have a DLine rotation. Send that idiot a message that stupidity will not be tolerated. Control yourself. Limit the mistakes and the penalties. THAT is the essence of the problem that MM has failed to address and it pisses me off.

  6. chitter

    Players will generally be more biased towards calling for a challenge on behalf of their team if there is any doubt at all. In this case though all Packer personnel threw their heads back in disgust at the sight of what just happened. Maybe no one asked their opinion on it either, but no one standing there thought there was any chance of a replay being overturned.

    Personally if I’m the head coach there I ask an official immediately whether there will be a TV timeout for the change of possession. Well scratch that actually. As the head coach I would already KNOW and understand every intricacy of a game broadcast and wouldn’t need to ask. But let’s say I want to be sure, so I ask a referee. If there is a TV timeout which is standard for a change of possession, that gives our guys roughly 90 seconds more to review, communicate, confirm, and abort. Thus saving a time out and perhaps giving us a fleeting hope at a last gasp.

    Incidentally…once the challenge was issued, they cut to commercial as is standard in a change of possession.

  7. chitter

    I hear you Jeremy and I totally agree. I guess that’s why I struggle with the notion that McCarthy is great at developing talent when I’ve never seen him speak to a player other than ARodg.

  8. chitter

    Oh and on a totally different note, when we were backed up on our own goal line wouldn’t it have been awesome if we sent some scrub in to punch Urlacher right in the nuts. Half the distance? Serve it up.

    • Abe Frohman

      LOL! That’s awesome (and totally against the grain of the mutual admiration going on prior to the game) I love it! Bring in the goon squad. The players all chip in and pay the fine.

  9. iltarion

    The NFL goes to a commercial break during every challenge now. The NFL was getting fleeced on their TV deal so they needed to add another commercial break.

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