The football gods helped the NFL avoid days of scrutiny and criticism regarding what surely would have been known as “Fail Mary II.” Moving forward, the NFL may not be leaving it to fate.
Per a league source, the Competition Committee will consider in the offseason whether to expand the replay rules to include the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play.
Currently, the replay rules exempt such plays because every post-fumble pile up would entail a potential replay review. Still, given the ease with which replay review would have rectified the clear recovery by 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, the league should fashion an exception.
The easiest option would be to continue to make a fumble recovery at the bottom of a pile not subject to replay review, but to allow for replay review when there is indisputable visual evidence that a player was on the ground with possession.
Yes, it could slow the game down at times. But it also would lead to the right outcome in a key, season-deciding moment — without the need for luck or chance or destiny or whatever.