According to media reports, there will be some changes to the nature of the replay system for this upcoming season, but whether or not it will actually mean anything appears still to be up for debate.
In a proposal originally brought forth by the Ravens back in March, it seems as though the Competition Committee is set to vote in favor of doing away with the cumbersome list of plays that are reviewable, but they will be replacing it with a new list, this one a perhaps less cumbersome list of plays and situations that are not subject to review.
In a Washington Post article written by Mark Maske, the intention appears to be to “modify but not overhaul replay rules”, suggesting that the proposal will “try to clean up and simplify some of the language” that has grown in an ad hoc fashion over the years as new elements of the game become subject for eligibility for review.
The suggestion from the article appears to be that the intention here is to produce roughly no net meaningful effect, but rather simply making the unwritten list of non-reviewable plays a written list, and vice versa for the written list of reviewable plays—for the sake of simplicity, of course.
But it is worth pointing out that all of the actual details of the proposal—which is a modified and scaled down version of the one the Ravens originally put forth a couple months ago—have not yet been made clear. In other words, it is not yet known whether or not there will actually be any meaningful expansion of replay.
But, like in the Bill of Rights, wherein all those elements of law not explicitly listed as falling under federal jurisdiction being reserved for the states, it would stand to reason that now everything not explicitly listed as non-reviewable is now reviewable, and that will inevitably include scenarios that were not conceived of or planned for in the list of non-reviewable plays.
The Competition Committee will convene tomorrow in Charlotte to weigh this and several other proposals, many put forth by themselves, and others brought to them through the 32 teams. Any proposal must be ratified by at least two thirds of the league’s representing teams, or 24 of the 32 teams.
Many teams appear to be resistant to the expansion of the replay system. Among those are the Pittsburgh Steelers. Team president Art Rooney II made his thoughts clear earlier this offseason. Saying that “there are a number of rules proposals…that deal with instant replay and challenges”, Rooney stated, “we are probably opposed to all of them”, citing concern for game stoppages, as well as specific team motivations spurred from particular instances from the year prior.
I personally am in favor of an expansion of the jurisdiction of reviewable plays, but I would also like to see is paired with a streamlining of the replay process. Other sports are able to conduct their replay procedures in a far more timely fashion. There really is no reason the NFL can’t accomplish the same feat.