GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy wanted to get the replacement referees some work with some difficult calls, so he made sure he obliged Thursday ngiht.
”It’s probably good that it happened because we talked about it before the game, they wanted to make an example of somebody,” the Green Bay Packers coach said after his team’s 35-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns. “So I cooperated.”
The call in question came after wide receiver Randall Cobb fumbled and Browns defensive end Emmanuel Stephens grabbed the loose ball and rumbled up the sideline. The new rule enacted for the 2012 season requires all turnover plays to be automatically reviewed on replay, but McCarthy evidently wasn’t clear on whether the entire play or simply the change of possession would be subject to review.
So, he threw his red challenge flag, believing replacement referee Ken Roan’s crew had missed Stephens stepping out of bounds. As it turned out, McCarthy was right – but wrong to throw the flag.
Roan and his staff correctly threw a yellow penalty flag on McCarthy, charging him with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for throwing a replay flag on a play already set to be reviewed. While McCarthy understood why the penalty was called, he would have appreciated clarification on the rule.
“The reality of it is the rulebook, it’s the correct call, but hopefully they can use that situation to talk about the mechanics of how it unfolded,” McCarthy said. “Because that’s really … frankly I’m not even going to get into it because I talked about it for four series with the referee, so hopefully we’re on the same page. It’s an experience that we can learn from. The new rule, obviously with all the turnovers being reviewed, if you throw the flag, it’s an unsportsmanlike penalty, so that was the correct call.”
What McCarthy seemed to be suggesting was that the officials could have simply informed him that the entirety of the play would be subject to review, and that his disagreement with the spotting of the ball after the return would have been covered by the automatic review. Thus, he never would have thrown the flag in the first place, because he would have been able to discuss the play before throwing it.
“I think if there was a little more cohesiveness to all of us, the communication would be cleaner prior to (throwing the flag).” McCarthy said. “We actually had the same situation earlier in the game on Cleveland’s turnover and the process of how the turnovers (are) being reviewed, whether the (referee) is going to go (under the hood), and the time frames, and things like that.
“Frankly, I don’t have a problem with it happening. (The penalty) put our defense in a bad spot and it obviously helped the field position for Cleveland, but I think it’s definitely something that people can learn about. To me, the most important aspect of officiating in the league as far as from the head coaches perspective is they have to communicate.
“You want them to get the calls right, you want them to do their job, no doubt. But is the communication, because nobody wants the call that’s going to change the game.”
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