Watching the head official go ‘under the hood’ to take a closer look at the replay of a play on the field has become a ubiquitous part of the NFL viewing experience. There is a certain spectacle element to it that is easily identifiable. But starting with this upcoming season, there will no longer be a hood to go under, and Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II is on board with it.
Rooney in general has given a number of comments in the past pertaining to the replay process and has historically sided with whatever results in greater expediency. According to the Competition Committee’s package on the new rule proposal, that was as much a part of the rule change that passed yesterday as anything.
As a reminder, under the new rule, the on-field official will be given a hand-held device from which to review the play, at which point a 60-second clock will begin, upon the conclusion of which, ostensibly, a decision must be reached. But the decision will ultimately be made by the head official in the league office, rather than the on-field official, and he and his crew are able to review the play immediately.
The end result should be that the whole process takes a shorter amount of time, and that has been the finding of the Competition Committee. I believe they have projected that the new rule will shave off an average of a minute and a half or so to the average game time.
Said Rooney yesterday after the rule passed, “the new replay rule passed, so that decisions will be made in New York and the referee will only come over to the sideline with a tablet. So I think that’s one of the rules that will help speed up the game”.
The Steelers’ president said that “there wasn’t a lot of discussion” about the proposal, which if I recall correctly passed unanimously. “I think there were a couple of questions about who is actually in the room up there making the decision, things like that. But the truth of the matter is that I think the league office has been staffed to do this for the past couple of years”.
“For them, I don’t think it’s going to be a major change from what they’ve already been doing”, he continued. “It will just be the fact that they do have the final decision now”. As opposed to during the week, at which point they are often tasked with defending many questionable calls an on-field official made.
This was, I believe, the most significant rule that has been passed this offseason, and it is one that I am in support of as well. I already wrote about it previously when it was put on the table. It is interesting to see how virtually universal the support for it around the league among its owners has been as well, however, especially among those traditionally in favor of limiting the impact of replay.