NFL Considers Modifying Rules on Instant Replay in Wake of Chargers-Steelers Game

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NFL officials and members of the league's competition committee are discussing a possible change to the instant replay procedures following an officiating mistake that cost Pittsburgh a touchdown on the final play of its 11-10 win Sunday over San Diego.

The potential procedural modification would permit the referee on the field to consult with the replay booth more than once on a call. Under current replay rules, only one consultation is allowed.

Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president of officiating, said during a televised interview yesterday that the modification could be made before this season's playoffs and should prevent a recurrence of Sunday's gaffe, in which the officials ruled erroneously even after a replay review that a touchdown by Steelers safety Troy Polamalu didn't count.

"Once you leave the sideline monitor, you can't go back," Pereira said during an interview with ESPN. "The replay assistant can't buzz you back. I think that is the way we can look forward to try to implement a system to where it doesn't happen again."

Polamalu scored the touchdown after he picked up a loose ball on an attempted lateral by the Chargers. The officials called an illegal forward pass on the play and incorrectly ruled the ball dead. Referee Scott Green acknowledged the mistake in postgame comments made to a pool reporter.

The league issued a written "rule explanation" yesterday and indicated it wouldn't change the final score. There was an illegal forward pass on the play, according to the league, but the play should not have been ruled dead because the ball hit the ground on a legal lateral and not on the illegal forward pass. The officials confused the two during their on-field conversation, according to the league.

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