November 28, 2020

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Pete Carroll explains his decision to challenge PI…

3 min read
Pete Carroll explains his decision to challenge PI...


With just under four minutes left in the Seahawks game against the Buccaneers on Sunday, Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston rolled to his right and completed a short pass to receiver Mike Evans, who promptly broke a tackle and scampered 23 yards across midfield into Seattle territory.

The Seahawks held a slim 34-27 lead at the time, and coach Pete Carroll – as he has been prone to do this season – decided to challenge the ruling on the field.

Carroll believed that Evans pushed off cornerback Shaquill Griffin, and he has made it clear this season that he wants to put the league’s new rule that allows coaches to challenge pass interference calls to the test.

The review lasted less than a minute, and despite video evidence showing contact initiated by Evans, the no-call was confirmed.

Carroll, even though he was the one who put forth the challenge, wasn’t surprised by the decision.

“There was like 20 seconds before the two minute warning, so I’m out of my challenges, so I just took a shot at it, to see what they would say,” Carroll explained after the game. “That looks like one for the books for them, to say we’re not going to turn these things over. So, that will probably be kind of a poster type of play. I didn’t think we had a very good chance. But, at the time I didn’t care. It didn’t matter to me to just go ahead and take a shot, just to see what would happen. We’re in the books again on it. There’s no doubt what they’re doing. They’re not going to change these calls unless it is really crazy.”

Carroll has been the league’s most active challenger of pass interference calls. The NFL seems to have made it clear that these calls – even in obvious situations – are extremely unlikely to get overturned.

In fact, there has only been one successful pass interference challenge all season – by Carroll himself, back in Week 2 against Pittsburgh.

“What I think, and this is just totally just one person’s opinion on this, I think the officials have adapted already, to the way we’re doing it, and they’re letting us play more,” Carroll continued. “It’s a good thing. I’m not opposed to it. I just think you can kind of sense that, and there’s not as many calls as we were kind of growing accustomed to, when there seemed to be a kind of a plethora of pass interference calls.”

Carroll’s role as the league’s beta tester for PI challenges seems to be intact, and his belief that these challenges will almost never be overturned is certainly accurate to this point.

While testing out the rules and seeing what you can get away with has always been a part of Carroll’s style, one has to wonder if using a precious timeout in a close game (a game that eventually went into overtime) in order to challenge a play that you fully believe won’t be overturned, just to send a message to the league, is wise.

Carroll was quick to dismiss anyone questioning his decision.

“We didn’t need it,” a coy Carroll answered when asked about the burned timeout.

Coach Carroll and the Seahawks will have plenty more chances to challenge PI decisions on Monday, when they face off with a physical San Francisco secondary that includes former Seahawks corner Richard Sherman.

Pete Carroll explains his decision to challenge PI call on Sunday

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