Even the NFL’s competition committee has proposed two versions of a modified expansion of immediate replay, based on documents published Thursday night. Both telephone for a one-time trial prior to any permanent decisions are made but might still require approval of 2-4 owners to become implemented.
The first proposal would add fouls for pass-interference to the list of reviewable plays. The second would contain fouls for pass-interference but in addition would add fouls for roughing the passer and unnecessary strikes against a defenseless receiver. Importantly, neither would allow review of drama in which no fouls were called, meaning that they could not be used in the foreseeable future to deal with the kind of contentious missed pass interference call that occurred late in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game.
Owners will begin discussing the competition committee’s suggestions next week in their yearly meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. There are also seven golf proposals regarding replay, for example one by the Washington Redskins which will get all plays entitled to review. Nevertheless given an option, owners often prefer competition committee proposals over those from different teams.
Throughout meetings last month at the NFL scouting combine, countless members of this committee voiced pessimism about addressing re-play in a purposeful way for 2019. They said that they were concerned about adding judgment calls into an otherwise objective list of all reviewable plays and thought there would be much aid on the list of entire ownership group.
“I presume there is still a concern about reviewing judgment calls,” Green Bay Packers CEO/president Mark Murphy said during the moment. “We’ll study it, but I don’t think anything is imminent that something will change. … alas, the stark truth is that officials are human. Trainers make mistakes. Players make mistakes”
Whether there is enough ownership support, then the committee apparently felt pressured to reply in some way to the NFC Championship Game fiasco. In that game, two officials neglected to call pass interference on la Rams corner back Nickell Robey-Coleman on a play which could have contributed the New Orleans Saints a down and a chance to run off precious time off the clock when leading late in the fourth quarter. The Rams won 26-23 in overtime.
The committee left the combination having a mandate to study the idea of a skies judge, in character an eighth member of the officiating team who would sit at the press box and have jurisdiction to fix clear and obvious mistakes. But there is internal league concern about the viability of finding enough officials to engage, and the committee is not making a recommendation onto it to get 2019.
One of other rule proposals that owners may think about next week: