Super Bowl Ball Spot Call Challenge

In the first quarter of the Super Bowl, Pete Carroll challenged the ball spot on a third down run by Russell Wilson. The original spot was about a yard short of a first down. After review the ball was respotted about a half yard closer to the “line to gain.” So, the ball is repositioned, but no first down.

The thing I don’t get is that the refs then said Carroll’s challenge was unsuccessful, and so charged the Seahawks a time out.

Given that the spot was changed, why was the challenge considered unsuccessful?

he specifically challenged that the ball was not short of the line of gain, but it was.

on challenges like this what is supposed to happen is they look at the video and then re-spot the ball where it is on the field without referencing the first down marker. then they re-measure

Was that a tactical error, then? Could Carroll have challenged the spot, without directly challenging it being a first down? Even if it didn’t change the down, it could still have made a difference in deciding whether to go for it on 4th down.

I don’t think you can just challenge the spot without challenging whether it made the line to gain

Is this just what you suppose or do you know it by reference to the official rules?

I tried to find it in the rule book at, but could not. In fact I couldn’t find anything about call challenges at all (which makes me think my research methods must be flawed).

that’s just what I think I remember the announcers explaining during a challenge

there’s too many rules not even us true fans (and sometimes the refs) can keep track of them all

your research methods may be flawed but also i think the nfl makes it hard to find the official long rule book with every nuance

I have a copy of the official NFL Rules for 2013:

Rule 15-9-5:
“Non-reviewable plays include, but are not limited to:

5. The position of the ball not relating to first down or goal line”

In other words, you can’t challenge the spot of the ball unless it would be (or, if you’re the defense, would not be) a first down or it is a question of whether or not it crossed the goal line.

You can, in fact, download the rulebook.

Thanks. That says it. I tried the rule book but didn’t find that one, or the whole section right next to it about coaches’ challenges :smack: