“NFL-Lots to Discuss-Decide”
It may be March Madness week. It may be the opening week of the baseball season. But it’s a busy time in the NFL, possibly a controversial time too.
The NFL owners meetings start Monday in Phoenix, and all attention will be front and center on the owners and the Competition Committee, where the faith in the officials and the credibility of games is in question.
The NFL has mandates to make the game safer, with radical rule changes on tackling, late hits, head blows and changes in the kickoff rules.
There’s more work to be done.
And now they must also fix the leakage from blown officials calls that seriously impacted games at the most important times of last year, post season play. End result, the Saints lost a chance to the Super Bowl on a terrible non-call.
Now significant proposals to change instant replay, with proposals from the Competition Committee and from clubs. Here’s the list of ideas and my reactions.
OVERTIME…Proposed-Each team gets a guaranteed possession to win the game. If the score is tied after the two possessions, it goes to sudden death. Eliminate the coin toss now since each team gets a possession. Good call-balance the playing field. (Vote Yes.)
INSTANT REPLAY-PASS INTERFERENCE…Allow a coach to challenge a flag that is thrown for pass interference. Replay, using slow motion can show who initiated the contact. It is a gray area, but the proposal is “only” for flags thrown. If there is no call, you cannot challenge to have a late flag thrown. (Vote Yes.)
INSTANT REPLAY-PERSONAL FOULS….Allow coaches challenge to flags thrown for hits on QBs-WRs and defenseless receivers. Again can be used only for flag thrown, not for a player where a call is missed. (Vote Yes)
INSTANT REPLAY FOR ALL PENALTY CALLS….Coaches say it would not slow the game down because they can only risk replay challenges at cost of losing timeouts. Don’t think this would ever work. (Vote No.)
ONSIDE KICK RULE…A team would be permitted to use this in final 4-minutes of game, having a 4th and 15 play instead of the dangerous on-side kick. If they get the 15-yards, they retain possession. If they do not make the play, other team gets ball at original line of scrimmage. It’s a radical rule change, but it is being discussed to remove another dangerous play where injuries are high.
SKY JUDGE…Add 8th official to each crew in the booth, with the power to tell referee to pick up flag or throw a flag for a missed call. It sounds logical to help officials on the field but the NFL is leery of making calls from booth that then make refs on field look bad, or intimidate them by having someone look over their shoulders on each play-they’d get gun shy. Real concern it would slow the game down a lot. (Vote No.)
INSTANT REPLAY-NON CALLS…This involves pass interference, helmet hits, personal fouls. This is the aftermath of what happened in the Rams-Saints game. A coach will be able to challenge to review a play that should have been flagged but did not. Again, coaches have only so many challenges or timeouts to risk, but at the most important time of the game, its biggest plays, this should be implemented. (Vote Yes.)