Roger Goodell: NFL executive, not refs, has final OK on every replay

If not, what about this past year when Shea McClellin leaped over the line to block a kick against the Ravens?

Well, such plays, even though exciting to watch, may no longer exist.

At next week's league owner meetings, the NFL Competition Committee will present the option to extend the one-year experiment to at least a two-year one. But...they belong out of the game. Clear the line, and it's good.

The NFL's in-game concussion-detection protocol includes having an unaffiliated neurological consultant on each team's sideline, with team medical personnel; two "eye in the sky" athletic-trainer spotters in the press box, who with the aid of binoculars and video replay can identify head injuries missed by those on the field and are so empowered to stop the game if necessary; and game officials similarly now empowered and encouraged to stop play if they feel a player might be concussed.

Officials cited safety as the primary motivation to make the play illegal.

"That is a significant change to our current replay rule and it is something that will be on the floor and will be debated next week", National Football League officiating chief Dean Blandino said.

"We looked at a lot of video of receivers who were really in a defenseless posture - [where] they were tracking the quarterback looking back for the ball and were contacted in the head or neck area forcibly by a defender", Blandino said. "So I think that's probably the biggest thing, and we have seen that on tape as to why the proposal will be voted on", Blandino said.

It was also noted that coaches are now game-planning to defend leapers, which adds to the scenario Blandino described.

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Commissioner Roger Goodell mentioned some of the methods by which this would happen in an open letter to fans Wednesday, but Blandino got into the nitty-gritty of these proposals Thursday on the NFL Competition Committee's conference call.

"That is a significant change to our current replay rule, and it is something that will be on the floor, and be debated and voted on next week". Vincent said coaches have begun scheming how to defense it, which can "create a real safety issue".

Goodell wants officials to "get going, be ready to play".

Other proposed changes are meant to speed up the game, including officials announcing the replay decision when it happens, instead of waiting for TV to return from commercial break.

Added Vincent, a former National Football League defensive back: "When you see the plays, they are catastrophic". And if there's still just the two challenge flags per game, there's little chance that it would slow the game down. The proposal has the backing of the competition committee, which considers the play unsafe.

Despite these steps, there still were a handful of incidents last season when seemingly woozy players were either not pulled from the field, or were quickly allowed to resume playing. There, three executives - Blandino, Al Riveron (senior director of officiating) and one of the NFL's officiating supervisors - would render all replay verdicts.

"We're not taking the referee out of the equation".

"It's certainly a concern".

  • Douglas Reid