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NFL could make its instant-replay rulings more centralized

NFL officials could be aided in future replay rulings by members of the league office in New York (Photo by the Associated Press)

NEW YORK — The NFL is considering a change to the manner in which officiating decisions are made when instant-replay reviews are involved.

It is possible that members of the NFL’s officiating department who are stationed at the league’s offices in New York will participate in instant-replay rulings in the future.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday that the league’s competition committee will study the issue and make a recommendation to the owners of the teams.

“We think there’s plenty of room for us to improve the game of football and officiating in particular,” Goodell said during his annual Super Bowl week news conference. “What we all want is consistency, fairness in our officiating. And we believe that we might be able to achieve more consistency when we bring instant replay with us, more of a centralized version and decision-making process. And that’s something the competition committee is going to consider over the next two months and come back to a recommendation for the membership.

“I do believe there’s a possibility that some version of that will occur where our office can at least be involved with the decision—may not make the decision but at least can provide some input that would be helpful to the officials on the field to make sure they’re seeing every angle, to make sure they have the proper opportunity to make the best decision.”

Currently, all instant-replay decisions are made on site, in the stadium in which the game is being played.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he favors such a modification to the replay system.

“I personally like the idea of centralized,” Kraft said Friday after Goodell’s news conference. “I’m not sure how the league feels. I think games should be standardized and we should have the same people making the calls. We don’t ever want to lose a game based on an interpretation of a rule [being] correct or not. If we earn it, then we should get it. I just wouldn’t like to see it happen by poor interpretation of the rules. So the more it can be disciplined and structured and centralized, I would be in support of that. I hope it’s possible to do it.”


Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.



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Mark Maske · January 31, 2014

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