Review of penalty calls on table when NFL owners meet
By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer
Reviewing penalty calls, including pass interference, will be among proposals NFL owners will hear to expand replay when they meet next week in Phoenix.
Greater use of replay has become a scorching topic since the NFC championship game, when a non-call on a blatant pass interference and helmet-to-helmet hit by Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman likely cost the Saints a Super Bowl trip.
The league's competition committee will present one proposal to make reviewable pass interference plus all scoring plays and turnovers negated by penalty. In a second recommendation, pass interference and fouls for roughing the passer and unnecessary contact against a defenseless player would be reviewable. Both would be one-year trials.
But members of the powerful competition committee that reviews the rulebook each year don't sense strong support for a major expansion of replay.
"They are always sharply divided, people have very strong views on replay," Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons and co-chairman of the competition committee said Friday. "We wanted to get proposals that we worked on a lot based on data and based on a system we could be comfortable around. We know how tough replay is to get 24 votes for a league that from 1992-98 didn't have replay."
For any rule change, three-quarters of NFL teams must vote yes.
Several teams also made replay proposals.
Washington suggested making all plays challengeable by coaches or reviewable by the officiating department in New York. The Redskins also want to add reviews of personal fouls.
Kansas City took that a step further by proposing potential personal fouls not called on the field be reviewed after a coach's challenge.
Philadelphia suggested adding scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul as subject to automatic review, no challenge needed. Denver proposed all fourth-down plays that are spotted short of the first-down marker be subject to automatic review, and also all extra-point attempts.
The Panthers, Rams, Eagles and Seahawks want to add review of designated player safety related fouls whether called or not called on the field to what coaches can challenge.
NFL operations chief Troy Vincent, a star defensive back when he played, said the committee met with everyone involved in such calls: players, coaches, officials, team owners, administrators.
"Officials have to live this out in real time," Vincent explained. "This was about working to keep a system in place from a mechanical administration standpoint on game day, and the flow (of the game). The officials felt just expanding the current replay process, what is reviewable, that this is the best start for possible solutions on some of the issues."
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