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Bills push ‘challenge every call’ rule to NFL

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Two bad calls by officials, two losses.

In a nutshell, that’s what is motivating Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills to push the NFL to allow coaches to challenge every call made during games besides scores and turnovers, which are automatically reviewed.

“We got beat, in my opinion, on two calls last year that really contributed to us losing games,” Ryan told reporters Tuesday at the annual AFC coaches’ breakfast with the media at the NFL meetings. “And it was more than that.”

Ryan wouldn’t specify the calls, because he doesn’t want to be fined by the league. But he subtly referenced what looked like a terrible pass-interference penalty on Nickell Robey in the 34-31 loss against Jacksonville in London.

If Ryan is right, the Bills would have at least finished 10-6, rather than 8-8, and quite possibly reached the playoffs.

“So I just want to get it right,” he said of the Bills submitting the proposed adjustment to the NFL’s replay system that limits what coaches are allowed to challenge. “This is the New England rule (proposal) from last year. I was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t need that rule,’ until you were personally affected by it. So now, obviously, we’re a proponent of it. Either we were going to submit it, or New England again, so we went ahead and submitted it.”

The Bills’ proposal, along with others, was expected to be voted on (or possibly tabled to a later meeting) on Wednesday before the meeting is adjourned.

“We’ll see if it gets legs or not,” Ryan said. “It probably won’t. All we want to do is it to be right. I think that’s the main thing. You don’t want to lose a game based on a call.”

It could be argued that the Robey penalty, which came on fourth down and helped set up the winning touchdown, was as much a reason the Bills lost to the Jaguars as EJ Manuel’s first-quarter meltdown at London’s Wembley Stadium. In his own, sneaky way, Ryan got that point across.

“Where this (challenge-all-plays) rule makes sense is let’s say a guy gets a pass interference call,” he said. “Let’s just, hypothetically, say on a third-and-whatever, 15, third-and-12, overseas or something. When this happens, and you get a pass interference call that shouldn’t have been called or whatever, at least that gives you the ability to challenge that.

“These guys are human, they make mistakes, and you know what, it’s just a way of getting the call right. So I think that’s good for the game.”

email: vcarucci@buffnews.com

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