According to former Vice President of Officiating Mike Perriera, who currently pulls an Emporer Palpatine and materializes on FOX every time there is a controversial call, there will be new replay rules, leading to longer games, when the season gets underway [FOX Sports]
The change in replay involves scoring plays. If an official rules a score (touchdown, field goal, safety or extra point) during a game, the replay official will automatically review the play. If there is any question as to whether the ruling is correct, they will buzz down to the referee and ask him to come to the monitor to review the play. If the replay official confirms the ruling is correct, they will buzz the referee indicating he is clear to let the scoring team attempt the extra point, or kick off if the scoring play was a field goal, safety or extra-point attempt. A coach will not be allowed to challenge the ruling of a score. The intent is to save the coach from having to challenge the ruling of a score and, thus, increase his chances of not running out of challenges or timeouts.
Sounds good, but there will be an unintended consequence. There will be a lot more replay stoppages in 2011, and the length of games will increase. Neither of those is good for the game.
I like it. Something tells me Andy Reid does, too. His challenges exhibit the purpose of a monkey throwing feces- somewhat consistent, but always random and often destructive.
But let me offer two further improvements (one plausible, the other delicious): Let an official in the booth or league office make the call. Instead of having the referee scamper his way over to the sideline and duck under the proverbial hood, just make the decision for him. Though I hesitate to implore anyone to emulate the NHL, that practice works in hockey. It can't possibly be that difficult to have an experienced official (cough cough, Mike Perriera) sit in a war room in New York and make decisions. It works fine for our financial system.
Or better yet, turn the decision over to an Around The Horn type show and have pundits debate the call with a 60 second time clock. An arbiter – Jim Nantz just looks like he would do – decides the outcome. Tell me you wouldn't watch that.
The Vikings conquer the call! Or A Patriot revolution! New England gets a new Bill of Rights.
For now, however, it looks like we'll be dealing with lengthy replays.