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NFL approves 'Jim Schwartz rule'

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The rule that cost the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving last year has officially been changed by the NFL.

Leon Halip

The NFL has officially changed one of its more ridiculous rules. Owners voted on Wednesday to approve a change that will now allow automatic reviews to happen even if a coach mistakenly throws the challenge flag.

This change has come to be known as the "Jim Schwartz rule" given what happened on Thanksgiving last year. The officials blew a huge call by not blowing a whistle when Houston Texans running back Justin Forsett was clearly down. Forsett ended up scoring an 81-yard touchdown, and Schwartz angrily reacted by throwing the challenge flag. Since all scoring plays are automatically reviewed, this was a penalty, and it prevented officials from reviewing the play and getting the call right. As a result, the Detroit Lions surrendered the touchdown despite the obvious blown call.

Under the altered rule, coaches will still be penalized if they throw the challenge flag on a play that is automatically reviewed. However, the penalty will not prevent officials from reviewing the call. This is what the rule should have been in the first place, as the main thing is to get the call correct. What Schwartz did on Thanksgiving was a huge mental error, but the NFL rules shouldn't have allowed for such a ridiculous thing to happen in the first place.

The NFL also passed some other major rule changes on Wednesday. Go here for more on them.