Rex Ryan and his Bills staff had their clock management and challenge strategies called into question again on Sunday in a loss to the Chiefs that puts the team in win-out mode for the remainder of the season.
Ryan, though, was putting some of the blame on the staff at Arrowhead Stadium which, he believed, did not show enough replays of controversial calls on the stadium's video boards. This led to uncertainty about whether or not to challenge certain plays, like a Jeremy Maclin reception that would have been overturned, but instead led to a Chiefs touchdown.
"That's the first time you don't see any plays," Ryan said after the game, via ESPN.com. "I think there's a league rule that you need to usually get to see some. Maybe I'm wrong on that."
He added: "The (Maclin catch), I wasn't aware of it because again, I wasn't seeing the video on it, and again, so from my vantage point, I thought he caught the ball. That was from my vantage point. Obviously, I would have challenged it if I would have known there was any question whatsoever on a 37-yard play that flipped the game. We were in complete control of that game, and then they threw some balls over our heads. Obviously I would have challenged it."
Here's where Ryan is wrong. The coaches' booth for both teams includes a standard broadcast truck feed, which is pumped in via the instant replay booth. Even if it was not seen in the stadium, Ryan's team had access to a replay of the Maclin catch on the standard broadcast feed. Between the completion of Maclin's catch and the start of the next play, the Bills had roughly 34 seconds to decide whether or not to challenge the play (by my count). Even if there was a malfunction inside the booth with the broadcast feed, it was probably enough time to access a backup replay of the catch.
As for the rule book, here is the official word from the Game Operations Manual: "Instant replays can be shown at any time during the game, with the selection of plays at the discretion of the home club."
The other rule is activated only when replay is commenced: "If the game is stopped for a replay challenge or review, during the review the home team may choose to show the network feed or the live instant replay 'under the hood' feed, but may not show both. If the broadcasting network goes to a break during a review, the home team is permitted to show a previously recorded version of the play, as long as the play was recorded from the network feed."
So, there you have it. Basically, Ryan needs to get someone he can trust up there and in a hurry.