One last item on Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy’s lost challenge in the Monday night loss to the Chicago Bears before we move on.
As you know, it was the wrong move to challenge, and we detailed the consequences yesterday. McCarthy threw the challenge flag on James Jones’ fumble — which was recovered by the Bears Tim Jennings — almost immediately. He was right in front of the play, as were the officials.
Initially, we questioned why McCarthy didn’t wait for word from his coaches upstairs, who had the benefit of replay, to chime in. Well, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
Boomer Esiason, announcing the game nationally for the Westwood One radio network and seated in the booth next to the Green Bay coaches box, said later that the Packers coaches had advised McCarthy to challenge the call. But McCarthy, in this instance, has to trust his eyes and not be talked into a challenge. Unless the evidence is clear-cut, a rational decision must be made, not an emotional one.
What the coaches in the box were looking at we may never know, but the blunder dramatically changed the final two minutes of the game and helped ensure the Bears victory.
Ultimately, the call was McCarthy’s and it was the wrong one. Michael Lombardi summarizes.
Yes, it was an important play, but there was more game left to be played, and keeping your team’s chances alive is as important as anything. Also, he has to know that once he throws that flag, he has to be one 100 percent certain he wins the challenge.
The last point is key. McCarthy had to be 100 percent certain he would win the challenge in that situation. Judging by his post-game comments, he was not.
“I was standing right there and I had a pretty good indication of what happened. I did see the defensive back’s foot swing out of bounds, so I was just hopeful that the officials maybe saw that his foot may have hit,” McCarthy said. “It was 2:18 [left to play], I had two challenges left, and that was obviously a huge play in the game that maybe we could swing our way.”
Hopeful, in my book, does not equal 100 percent certainty. Obviously, the blunder was costly, but that’s par for the course in the Mike McCarthy era.