Belichick explains challenge replay technology

Belichick explains challenge replay technology
November 4, 2011, 8:55 pm
Share This Post

FOXBORO -- Last week against the Steelers, Rob Gronkowski caught what looked like a touchdown right at the goal line. He was ruled down inside the one yard-line and the clock ticked away on the Patriots' chances at a comeback.

There was no replay shown on the CBS broadcast, likely because Tom Brady and the Patriots continued to run their no-huddle offense and the television crew would have risked missing the next play if they elected to show a replay of Gronk's catch.

Belichick elected not to challenge the play, which, replays later showed, probably would have been reversed and called a touchdown.

On Friday, Bill Belichick clarified once and for all how the challenge process works and what teams have to use when making the decision:

"There's no DVR capability," Belichick said. "There's a monitor in both coach's booths. It's the exact same feed. Whatever the networks feed it, that's what they see. Sometimes it's nothing. Sometimes it's what's on the big screen (in the stadium). Sometimes it's what the TV shows, which may be different from what the fans in the stadium see. We try to look at all those."

The best plays to challenge are the ones where coaches are provided multiple views. Between the big screen in the stadium and the TV in the coaches booth, there are sometimes multiple views of the same play. Belichick will look at the big screen while his assistants will look at the TV in the booth and they'll make a call based on those replays.

"The harder one is when you see the play with your own eyes and you say 'I don't think that's the way it should've been called,' " Belichick said. "But can you find another picture of it that confirms what you actually saw? That's a question."

Believe it or not, there are times when Belichick is guessing out there.

"There are the plays that, maybe you think you got a 25 percent chance of being right on, like, 'Maybe we can get this, I doubt it.' But it's such a big play in the game, maybe you don't need your timeouts. Maybe it's the end of the first half and your timeouts just arent that critical at that point, and it's a huge play in the game. Maybe you take that lesser percentage chance."

Other times, there's no replay at all to go off of, but Belichick will challenge anyway.

"Sometimes you make a challenge and then you see the play replayed," he said. "You're looking at it saying 'Oh . . . there was no point in challenging that play, we're not going to get this.' But you haven't seen the replay before."