Inside Todd Bowles Not Throwing The Challenge Flag

November 7th, 2022

UPDATED: 12:40 p.m. – Head coach Todd Bowles was getting clobbered on social media yesterday — and questioned on the CBS broadcast — for not challenging a Jake Camarda punt that was ruled a touchback in the fourth quarter.

Camarda hammered another bomb on 4th-and-12 with 13:34 remaining from the Bucs’ 34 yard line. The ball bounced near the goal line and was downed by the Bucs about the 5 yard line.

Replays and still shots (Twitter video below) appeared to show the ball never broke the plane of the end zone. And CBS was headed to a TV timeout, so there was plenty of time for Todd Bowles and his staff to study the situation and throw the challenge flag.

It never came.

The Rams lined up at the 20 yard line after a significant break and that was it.

So why didn’t Bowles challenge the call to pin the Rams in their own territory?

Very late last night, a trusted source of told Joe that Bowles was advised by a referee not to challenge the play because another game referee told the referee who talked to Bowles that official replay showed the punt hit the goal line.

In simple terms, Bowles believed what he was hearing on the ground from a referee and went with it. You know, inside information.

Obviously, this is a highly problematic scenario for the NFL. It would be unethical for a game referee to give his take to Bowles on a key replay review before a coach threw a challenge flag. Maybe it happens all the time; Joe has no clue.

But Joe can’t blame Bowles for following what might have been unethical insider information, if he indeed did that. If Bowles did, then perhaps he saved the Bucs a timeout they desperately needed to squeak out a win.

UPDATED 12:40 p.m. — Today, Bowles was asked about his decision not to challenge the touchback and admitted a referee helped him keep the red flag in his pocket. “When the ref came over and told me that they couldn’t tell and they watched the replay and couldn’t tell, they weren’t going to change it. So there was no reason to challenge it,” Bowles said.

Joe really hates the idea of referees helping coaches make key decisions. It seems outrageous. Joe wonders what the wagering police will have to say about this.


66 Responses to “Inside Todd Bowles Not Throwing The Challenge Flag”

  1. Rick Says:

    Hindsight is 20/20 but Arians challenges that on emotion and likely loses (was there enough to overturn?) and then we lose the game because we don’t have that timeout… so Bowles wins here.

  2. Brad Says:

    How is a Punter our best player?

  3. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    To me it was a tough call because we needed the timeout and all we are getting is starting field position out of it. Becomes a risk/reward question. What I will say is Camarda was our player of the game yesterday. I hope they have that kid a game ball

  4. Goatfarmer Says:

    I am a zealous Toad’s Bowels basher and the subsequent action in the game support the timeout being more important than 20 yards of field position at that point. Yeah maybe the defense could have scored, woulda coulda shoulda stuff.

    We sure needed the timeouts at the end though so it worked out.

    Note to Toad – talk to your people up in the booth, not some zebra who has self interest in the call on the field being right.

  5. Jonny Says:

    I felt that Bowles prioritized having timeout over field position. If that truly was the thinking, I cannot fault him for that.

  6. AMI_Chris Says:

    It was so close that I doubt it would have been overturned. It also saved us from the embarrassment of a 99-yard TD pass to Cooper Kupp…

  7. ZZbucs Says:

    If we lost that challenge for whatever reason, we would be on the final seconds with two time outs instead of three……Thx god we didn´t challenge that….

  8. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I saw a different side of Todd Bowles yesterday when we were losing. He was making some never before seen very creepy looking faces. I had quite a few people over for the game that also picked up on the creepy ugly faces Todd Bowles was making.

    I always figured Todd Bowles as a nice guy who could never lose his Locker Room, but now I am not so sure. Just wondering if anyone else here saw some of those creepy ugly faces Todd Bowles was making during this game ?

  9. Dooley Says:

    Way too close to call considering the initial call was touchback and there wasn’t enough in the replay to say the refs would overturn it with any confidence.

  10. Jack Sparrow Says:

    Bucs best players are the punter and the kicker…. hahahahahaha!!! SMH..

  11. Dooley Says:


    Wasn’t different, those “gas” faces he makes on the sideline have been there all season and if you ever notice, big defensive penalties he’s got the playcard over his mouth and I’d bet he’s swearing like a mf’er

  12. AmauryGuzman Says:

    Still not a fan of Bowles and co. This team desperately needs to win the next 3 games before the 49ers game.

  13. lambeau Says:

    Gene Steratore called it down inside the 1 yard line–he’s always right.
    The Bucs don’t have someone upstairs telling Bowles what to do?
    It was a mistake that cost 20 yards of field position.

  14. ts1212ts Says:

    I like Bowles, but feel he is hand-cuffed to Byron. If he fails, it will be because he doesn’t address the Byron problem. Arian’s transition scheme didn’t give Bowles much room. You tell me which side of the ball is executing more consistently.

  15. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I think it would have been overturned. The video was pretty obvious.

    That said…it still would have cost us the game.

  16. D-Rok Says:

    I dunno, man. Over the last 3+ decades of watching pro football, especially on those NFL Films segments where coaches are mic’d up, I’ve heard quite a few coaches discussing with the Zebras plays like that punt.

    And, I really don’t think it’s a big deal IF the zebra told Coach, “Hey man, our replay already showed it’s a touchback, don’t waste a challenge.” I am missing the point as to how this is unethical; again, since I’ve heard so many similar exchanges through the years. Maybe I’m missing something, Joes?

  17. mark2001 Says:

    Frankly, in retrospect, I’m so glad he didn’t. If he had, and we had lost the challenge, what would have happened? We would have lost a time out. And as you remember, we needed all 40 seconds we had. And if we had one less time out? We probably would have had the clock run down to almost nothing when we got the ball. So sometimes things work out for the best.

  18. D-Rok Says:

    PS: How’s Evans feeling today after that Gronk-like catch and resultant (apparent) rib injury?

    The Rams seem to thrive on crushing ribs. Sorry, Gronk and Mike.

    Huge Kudos to Mike for taping up his guts (literally!) and getting back out there to able to gut out that huge PI for us.

    Good stuff!

  19. orlbucfan Says:

    Hochuli was the head ref of this crew. Any Bucs fan who’s been around knows this ref is no Buc fan. Bowles did the right thing. Camarda is unbelievable and so’s the ST and D. Let’s see if the team can continue to prop up the 45 y.o. ‘wonder,’

  20. PSL Bob Says:

    I have to disagree with most here. Don’t the friggin’ coaches have TV monitors in the booth? How many times did CBS show that ball in slow mo and from various angles. That call would have been over turned and we wouldn’t have lost a time out. Sure in hindsight, we needed the time out for that last minute of play. But, no one knew that was coming. We would have backed the Rams up and the way our defense was playing would have had excellent field position on our next drive. Sorry, that was a poor coaching decision from my perspective.

  21. Deeez NATZ Says:

    How about the catch that hit the ground in the first quarter and Stafford knew it and the hurried the next play off.toilet bowl butthole is lost out there sadly. Seems like a great dude but not so much a head coach.

  22. PSL Bob Says:

    Do they have sensors in the football? They have them in player’s equipment. If there was a sensor in both ends of the football and a laser beam across the front edge of the goal line, there would be much less controversy on whether or not a TD was scored, or in this case whether there was a touchback.

  23. Snoman Says:

    orlbucfan Says:
    November 7th, 2022 at 10:42 am

    Hochuli was the head ref of this crew. Any Bucs fan who’s been around knows this ref is no Buc fan. Bowles did the right thing. Camarda is unbelievable and so’s the ST and D. Let’s see if the team can continue to prop up the 45 y.o. ‘wonder,’

    That 45 year old wonder saved the job of probably 20 people. It’s amazing what happens EVERY time he is uncuffed from Byron and Todd and does his own thing in the hurry up and 2 minute drill. You’re just a troll man.

  24. Deeez NATZ Says:

    I wanted to batch slap hock a luggy in his punk azz face..Dude threw alot of bs flags in the begging. Starting to think the nfl is rigged

  25. BucsFanSince1996 Says:

    Given what Bowles was told by an official he made the right call not to challenge or risk losing a time-out.

    That said, that was a GREAT punt, and shouldn’t have been a touchback. Camarda got a game ball which was very well deserved.

  26. macajubav Says:

    Deeez Natz, we are starting a collection to get you basic english reading and writing lessons. Who is in with me ?

  27. macajubav Says:

    ok , so Casey Phillips is the hottest beat writer in the NFC south. Stumbled on the saints site and saw their writer, then went to check the others. No contest there Casey !!!

  28. JimbobBucfan Says:

    The unethical behavior by the refs was because the network did not want to delay their schedule for prime time Sunday night TV. This has been legitimately confirmed elsewhere. It is all about money. Pro sports is also about the bottom line. No one should be shocked in our society.

    Go Bucs!

  29. BucBrady Says:

    Anyone with even half a brain could see that it was not going to be overturned. There was simply no conclusive evidence. The only reason people got incensed is because the commentators tried to make it a mountain when it was clearly a molehill.

  30. BucFanForever Says:

    The gain from challenging it wasn’t worth risking the time out.

    Even though it was two epic punts in a row.

  31. mark2001 Says:

    The good news is that when you get a great punter in this league, you might not need another one for a decade. Or more.

  32. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    I’m starting to think the problem is Bowles w the offense not Byron. He’s the head coach, what he wants goes. His halftime comments were about runs and screen plays. Something has to change and it has to start at the top.

  33. BigMacAttack Says:

    I agree with Bowles because it would have stood as called on the field. It was too close to overturn the call. It could have touched a blade of white grass. Defense held and Coach made the right call IMO.

  34. BigMacAttack Says:

    Without that timeout we may have lost the game

  35. mark2001 Says:

    BMA. With just one less time out, the chances are we would have lost the game. Subtract about 35 seconds from the 42 seconds we had when we got the ball. Hail Mary time.

  36. orlbucfan Says:

    Snoman Says:
    November 7th, 2022 at 10:57 am
    That 45 year old wonder saved the job of probably 20 people. It’s amazing what happens EVERY time he is uncuffed from Byron and Todd and does his own thing in the hurry up and 2 minute drill. You’re just a troll man.
    Yeah, and you’re a troll and a yahoo. Plus, you a Buc fan?

  37. DmanTX Says:

    At time I was thinking challenge but in a close game, do you want to risk losing timeout? Turns out Bowles made right call. His D was playing awesome and do you really want to risk it for 20 yards?

  38. alton green Says:

    Rick says: Joe Biden got 80 million votes

  39. alton green Says:

    As Aunt Bea said on Andy Griffith, FIDDLE FADDLE!!!! So you’re telling me that a ref on the field could see better than a freak’n JUMBOtron?????????????? Todd Bowles and Lefty are going to send me straight to Hell for cursing at the TV. I’m screaming why in hell isn’t that idiot throwing the red flag? worst case he would lose a timeout. Surely you’re not saying Tompa wouldn’t know what to do with 1 less timeout. Did you watch the game? Tompa took the Bucs approx 60 yards in less than a minute with no timeouts. Sometimes there’s a very thin line between us playing great and the other team playing like s^%$ I think Tom told Lefty “HOLD MY BEER” and told Bowles to get his sorry a^^% on the bench. “I’VE GOT THIS”

  40. alton green Says:

    I was in Munich in 1972-73. Great place. I would love it if our coaches got on a plane to Siberia ONE WAY ticket

  41. Bucman Says:

    I heard that yesterday too; Bowles had the Challenge flag out, but the referee told him New York had looked at it and you will loose the challenge.

  42. alton green Says:

    to all of you that says Todd made the right call, we have a great vision plan.
    which looks better A or B? A or B? let me know when you see clearly hahahaha

  43. Letsbucinggo Says:

    Looks like Jake is the best draft pick in two years.

  44. EEK Says:

    needed that time out at the end
    if that call was the difference in the game then there was no hope

    it sure did look like it landed right in front of that line though

  45. Listnfrmafar Says:

    I’m pretty sure I saw some white chaulk kick up when it landed.

  46. AbucAway Says:

    Not calling a challenge was the correct call.

  47. snookman Says:

    Lock that Punter up long term………..Bradly Pinion was good but this guy is elite……….and when you have a team that goes 3-out often…….”hidden Yardage” is important………………Lock him up. Lock up Succup…….Kicking game is set………….Build around the kickers.

  48. HC Grover Says:

    Coach Sluggo is a total Football Imbecile.

  49. Eric b Says:


  50. 941bucsfan Says:

    Lol TB12 has been calling the plays. We watch him check in and check out of plays every game… not all them work lol. Stop pretending like tb12 calls the 1 good play per game that works

  51. Dooley Says:

    LOL @941 that’s exactly how some of the commenters on this site see thing. Brady is being “held back” by his coaches, nut not by being 45, getting divorced midseason, the drastic difference in talent he lines up with, or just being a part of an offensive unit that that’s been struggling since pretty much the end of last season.

  52. Browsing from DC Says:

    In a perfect world the refs would have called it on the field as being downed inside the 5 and force LA to challenge. The play was sooooo close that it’s doubtful it would have been overturned either way (unless they can freeze it and zoom in enought to see green or not).

    As for unethical? What’s a ref going to say? “We got it wrong. Throw the red flag”? That said, the only time a ref should chime in about a challenge should be to tell a coach if something can or cannot be challenged by rule. Otherwise, they should zip it. That’s what teams have replay ppl for in their booths. Listen to your ppl and ignore the refs.

    I think it was a good non-challenge based on risk/reward. The replays looked like it “might” have been reversed but maybe not. As Joe said, they had ample time to view it upstairs and even beam down a screenshot to their sideline laptops if it showed conclusive evidence either way for Bowles to make the decision.

    It worked out in the end. I just hope Evans’ ribs are ok and someone will tell Miller to toughen the fork up. That end zone drop was him going up, curling up his legs and body like he was expecting to get clobbered instead of putting 100% of his energy and attention on catching the damn ball. Glad he made some big catches later.

  53. Says:

    The results seek for themselves. If c the Bucs loose…everyone here would be criticizing Biwles!!

  54. Darin Says:

    Stoopid not to. Don’t care who told him what. If not for his bone headed decisions games wouldn’t come down to the final drive

  55. Chuck Stevens Says:

    Maybe Bowles can be a referee after his short stint here !
    With probably the season on the line he just goes with Bob said Jim said it touched the line so no worries !
    Please !!!!!

  56. Rob Singer Says:


    This is the difference between Patriots fans and Bucs fans. They are much smarter in NE.

    Jesus f’ing Christ.

  57. Paul Bready Says:

    Guy is close to clueless ! I really think his headset ain’t working ! It’s like he’s in his own little world during a game ….. referee smeferee that’s time when you talk with your spotters upstairs looking at a 70+” hidef tv and you make a real-time quick decision …. regrettably I don’t think he’s capable ….. and don’t get me started on 2nd and 8 clueless leftwitch

  58. mark2001 Says:

    Guys, you never know how the challenge would go. One thing we do know is that it went against us, we would have lost that game because we wouldn’t have been able to stop the clock twice in the Rams final possession. I’m no Bowles apologist. But yeah, it worked out to be the right decision.

  59. Davenport Says:

    Nice to see that there is a team ownership that doesn accept mediocrity. Good on the Colts

    If only the Glazers had the same commitment to winning.

  60. Dooley Says:


    Irsay is a pill-popping billionaire Colts haven’t recovered from Luck and Costonazo retiring, your best OT & QB retire in the first 3 seasons of Reichts’ career and he still left with a 40-33-1 record. Indy’s problems start in Irsays’ office.

  61. Mike Says:

    I think it was not worth the risk of losing the timeout. The Bucs D was going to get the stop regardless. Turned out to be the right decision.

  62. Brandon Jeff Says:

    It was a close call so arguing either way is fruitless. My concern is what a referee is doing telling a coach or influencing a coach on how to handle a call. So what happens now, do the Rams say that a ref influenced an opposing coach and cost them the game?
    Anyone would say that was a conflict of interest.

  63. Chris l Says:

    Went to the game. Camarda was a true star and his punts got the crowd Fired up.

  64. View from 132 Says:

    All these challenges for this kind of thing are stupid. It’s time for the NFL to put sensors in the ball. It should take 500X zoom to know if a ball hit a line.

  65. matthew a veal Says:

    Tennis, for example, can get calls like this right with shot spot or whatever they call it, and pro football is an exponentially bigger spectator sport.
    The NFL can do better. The fact that what was probably the best punt in years was mishandled by the officials should be something the league should be taking far more seriously than the way this is being handled.
    This kid should be all pro if things stay the way they are going.
    Its a shame JL has to listen to the bs about kickers etc, he has a knack for finding good ones, just the one time went badly in a world when 80% of all draft picks re busts

  66. Mr. Editor Says:

    The Packers claimed that they could diagnose the Bucs plays using the stadium jumbotron. Why can’t the team use it for an advantage?