Unraveling missed replay challenge mystery

It didn't really matter Sunday, that the Eagles failed to challenge a 36-yard Packers completion to Jarrett Boykin, because the Birds' Brandon Boykin ended the possession with an interception. But nobody knew there would be an interception when the catch went unchallenged; it could just as easily been the pivotal play of the game, which is why reporters have continued to try to get answers about the team's process over the past few days.

On Monday, Chip Kelly said his coaches in the press box Sunday told him they "got one clip" to review and "saw both feet down. Couldn't really tell where the elbow was. Then they were snapping the ball and going."

Actually, FOX showed clearly that Boykin landed on his hand -- not his elbow -- out of bounds before his second foot came down. And it was 58 seconds from the catch to the next snap, including the announcement the Packers were declining an offside penalty. FOX analyst Troy Aikman even remarked that the Packers must not realize the play was questionable, because they were taking so long to snap the ball. The play ended up being their longest gain of the day.

Tuesday, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur more or less stuck to Kelly's line, saying the Eagles' booth did not have the extensive replay views offered on the network broadcast -- even though league rules mandate that the network feed be available in both coaching booths.

"I'm not saying there's any conspiracy or anything. It just didn't happen," Shurmur said. "We were getting TV feeds. In this case here, we didn't get it in a timely way where we could have done anything about it. That's it."

"Why don't you guys text me?" Shurmur asked, smiling. Then he reconsidered. "Don't do that."

Defensive coordinator Bill Davis gave a more detailed explanation.

"On that particular case, it was late. I kept asking, 'Is it in? Is it in?' (the other assitants answered) 'We haven't seen it yet, we haven't seen it yet.' When they did see it, nobody was positive. We always say, let's not make Chip throw this red flag if we're not positive.

"The one clip that we saw was right up at the tail end (of the break between plays). We had to make a judgment call, we were wrong. Obviously, everybody saw a lot more views than we did at the time. We made the call and moved on. We'd love to have it back now that we know ... the one thing that caught me, I glanced up and saw two feet in. Without seeing the whole clip, you see two feet in ... that's the first thing I was looking for ... In a split-second, we had to make the call, we made it, and we missed."

Davis didn't advocate changing the convoluted challenge system.

Here's what seems most likely to me: the Eagles got the same replays at the same time as everybody else, but they had the audio down and were looking at Boykin's feet. Nobody noticed the hand. The fact that Kelly, Shurmur and Davis keep talking about the "elbow" reinforces that notion. It was an odd play.


The Eagles confirmed they have signed KR/WR Brad Smith, and released wideout BJ Cunningham, who might end up back on the practice squad.