Roger Goodell wants fewer, shorter replay stoppages

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The first question that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fielded during his pre-Super Bowl press conference in Minnesota on Wednesday had to do with officiating, including the way replay is used in the league right now.

Goodell noted that technology allowing plays to be broken down at a microscopic level has made the job harder for officials, who he said do an “extraordinary” job. Goodell did express concern about the amount of times that replay is being used and the way games grind to a stop when they happen.

“We did have more replay interruptions this year,” Goodell said. “I think that’s something we have to look at, we can improve on. … You know we spent a great deal of time in the offseason on game presentation. How do we make our game more attractive? Less stoppages, shorter stoppages when they do occur whether they’re commercial or otherwise. I think that’s one of the things we’re going to focus on how do we do the replay in a way that will ensure correcting an obvious mistake but make sure it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the game.”

Goodell didn’t outline any potential shifts in replay policy, although an obvious one would seem to be a time limit on reviews that calls for on-field decisions to stand if no glaring error is found in short order. There were several cases last season when people expressed a belief that replay procedures under first-year officiating head Al Riveron had moved away from looking for clear and obvious evidence of those obvious mistakes to re-officiating the plays based on the video.

That seemed to swing back the other way during the postseason, which may be a sign of where the league wants things to go in Riveron’s second season on the job.

56 responses to “Roger Goodell wants fewer, shorter replay stoppages

  1. During replay, have all the officials stay on the field, and let the booth official make the call. The ref running to the sideline, and then back across the field to confer with the coach on the other sideline takes forever. The fans at home know what the call should be 5 minutes before the ball gets put back into play.

  2. Don’t see this happening. If anything the refs need to let the play happen and review it after to make sure they got it right. I saw too many plays stopped too early which changed the outcome of a turnover or touchdown. The fact it takes 10+ mins to review is the real problem. Most of these plays I can tell in 15 seconds whether the call on the field was right or not. Fix the whole ref running to the sideline gimmick and just have a guy in a booth somewhere remote phone in the right call. These should take under 10 seconds most of the time.

  3. Why do the powers to be ALWAYS WAIT to listen to the fans….the NFL is in trouble and they know it. I’m not saying they’ll go out of business, but you’ve lost millions of die-heart viewers the last year

  4. Instant replay is so out of hand. Let the referees call the game, human error is and always was part of the game.
    Let the booth monitor the calls and only intervein if the call is totally wrong.

  5. I remember watching a Sunday night game where Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels took about 30 seconds of replay to decide the call on the field should be revered. It took New York for ever to come back with their call – so long in fact I began to wonder if the video was being transmitted to NY via dial up modem. When the ref ran out to the field to announce the decision, Al said something like “5 minutes later we are going to hear what we already know”.

    This tells me the process is broken and they need to review every step and see what adds value ad what wastes time.

  6. collectordude says:
    I loved the NFL before replay became involved.
    ———————————————
    Heck yeah! I was watching a classic game on NFL network the other night and it was amazing how different the game was just 20 years ago. None of the frustrations that come with the NFL today. No flags on every play. No constant stoppages for referee corrections. Hands to the face and blocks in the back everywhere – didn’t matter. No yellow flags to be seen. It was so beautiful I almost teared up a bit. It was so nice to see a score and then an extra point. Today, we see a score and we first look for a flag, stop for the review, THEN we celebrate…it’s not the same. The NFL needs to fix this.

  7. There’s 100 things critically wrong with the NFL as we know it today. But if future performance is the best indicator of past performance, Goodell isn’t going to do anything except continue to carry the torch of social justice…

  8. Hey everybody, here is an idea that will never fly… The fans want fewer, and shorter commercial breaks.
    In parts of Europe, they do the commercials in the middle of the show or at the end of the show…
    With NFL football, we could have 12 minutes of half time, and 30 minutes of commercials… For a 42 minute window……

  9. The NHL has this problem with coaches challenging offsides calls. Then they started giving a 2 minute minor penalty if you got the challenge wrong and the problem immediately disappeared. It’s amazing what competent commissioners can do.

  10. Have 9 ProFootballTalk fans sitting in front of a Big Screen TV and then take a vote after 90 seconds. Two guarantees:
    1. The judgements will be quicker than the current system
    2. The judgements will be just as, if not, MORE accurate than the current system

  11. Kill two birds with one stone, show commercials while review is taking place, then have less commercials the rest of the game.

  12. collectordude says: “I loved the NFL before replay became involved.”
    ——————

    And then the next day you’ll have 100,000 online fans complaining about a call and have video evidence that it was missed and even more complaining.

  13. How about this: every play is reviewable EXCEPT CATCHES. Catches must stay as ruled on the field, for better or worse.

    And stop reviewing EVERY scoring play.

  14. I’d like the NFL to do something about fake injuries. When a team starts playing no-huddle and is moving the ball, an opposing player goes down pretending to be injured. Then when they have replaced tired players, the “injured one gets up and runs off the field, and is back after missing one play.

  15. “Have 9 ProFootballTalk fans sitting in front of a Big Screen TV and then take a vote after 90 seconds. Two guarantees:
    1. The judgements will be quicker than the current system
    2. The judgements will be just as, if not, MORE accurate than the current system”

    Yeah……no. What you would get is 9 fans who always make judgements against teams and players they don’t like, and in favor of ones they do. No thanks.

  16. “Professional referee has to be one of the most thankless jobs in the world”

    Thankless to the tune of 175k a year and amazing benefits for part time work. I’d be happy to have millions of NFL fans hate me to double my current income and get the bennies.

  17. Better refs making the call would cut down on reviewing calls refs got so wrong to begin with.

    Doing something correctly the first time is always faster than doing something twice because you couldn’t be bothered to do it right to begin with.

  18. realpatsfan says:
    January 31, 2018 at 3:09 pm
    Instant replay is so out of hand. Let the referees call the game, human error is and always was part of the game.
    Let the booth monitor the calls and only intervein if the call is totally wrong.
    —————————————————————————————–
    Agree 100%, but if that were the case you wouldn’t have had home field for the playoffs 🙂

  19. And thanks for allowing players to have their say/way with TD celebrations.
    We know Coach Bill Cowher is not happy, but at least the tens of thousands of fans are…
    FANS DO MATTER!

  20. How about doing away with the anti-climatic review of every single scoring play? Force the HC to throw the flag to review it, why do they get a free review for every scoring play? That never made sense to me.

  21. “I’d like the NFL to do something about fake injuries. When a team starts playing no-huddle and is moving the ball, an opposing player goes down pretending to be injured. Then when they have replaced tired players, the “injured one gets up and runs off the field, and is back after missing one play.”

    I agree that is annoying. How about the have to stay off for the rest of the drive?

  22. We can all thank the Indianapolis Colts for crying to the league back in 2004 about their soft receivers getting pushed around. Flash-forward 14 years and now we see a receiver cry for a flag on seemingly every play.

  23. The pendulum is swinging back in the other direction now. Replay was introduced and it was so awesome. So they expanded the use and made it mandatory after scoring plays and turnovers. Now we are seeing it’s not so awesome and they don’t always get the call right, even with replay. Best to scale it back and simplify it. Retrain the refs. You call what you see on the field, if the replay doesn’t show otherwise with a high degree of certainty, you keep what you called. No more mandatory replays. Total replay time should be no more than 120 seconds.

  24. Goodell cannot singlehandedly change the rile of 2 challenges per team, but he can definitely write a memo to the replay officials to stop reviewing plays during the final 2 minutes of each half. That means we will likely have more games decided by bad calls in the interest of ending games earlier. Bad tradeoff.

  25. Stop the auto reviews of touchdowns and turnovers. Go back to those being challenges.

    That alone will help things. We were fine before they added this “feature.”

  26. If takes more than 60 seconds to come to the conclusion to reverse a call, then don’t reverse it! Problem solved.

  27. My thoughts which are entirely without pay or merit…

    1. Full time officials
    2. Have 3 officials whose job is to only watch the replay for 30 seconds and submit an uphold/overturn ruling after 30 seconds. 2 out of 3 is the call…either upheld or overturned. Then radio that down to the field and announce it.
    3. If after 30 seconds you can not deicide or it elapses, then the call is upheld.

  28. Overturn obvious calls. If it takes 5 minutes going frame by frame let it go. Got to much reffing from the booth this year. If booth gets involved it should be clear and obvious.

  29. No system will ever be perfect, but the college football replay process is more effective and less intrusive than the NFL system.

  30. bartpkelly says:
    January 31, 2018 at 8:16 pm
    My thoughts which are entirely without pay or merit…

    …..
    2. Have 3 officials whose job is to only watch the replay for 30 seconds and submit an uphold/overturn ruling after 30 seconds. 2 out of 3 is the call…either upheld or overturned. Then radio that down to the field and announce it.

    The standard is conclusive. If one out of three disagree the evidence is not conclusive. I like a “panel” but must take all three to overturn. But not going to happen.

  31. I can sit on my couch 2,000 miles away and usually know within 1.5 seconds what the right call should be. If I had the video technology that the NFL has, I’d be 100% correct in 2 seconds every time. Any moron could do a better job that what the NFL is now doing. Some kid comes out and holds up a box, and a ref goes over and watches. It’s a hand held box, so it’ shaking. C’mon people. The NFL isn’t really giving replay its best effort. I think they’re trying to sabotage it so everyone gets fed up and wants to outright eliminate it. It stinks of corruption.

  32. I have to say this has become high comedy. Each and every person asking for replays to be eliminated would be among the first to throw a brick through their TV the first time a call goes against their team when they can clearly see is wrong. In order for replays to be eliminated you’d need to eliminate instant replay altogether. Nowhere in their whining do they acknowledge the reason for replay challenge in the first place. You same folks whined about losing games because of bad calls. No pleasing some folks.

  33. Why do these billionaire idiots have to make everything so difficult? Fixing replay is super easy. How is it that the fans at home get the replay in seconds and can figure out the call, yet the ref has do go to the little booth and take 5 minutes? Get rid of the on-field officials being involved in replay! Take their bias (for not wanting to be wrong) out of it and just call it in from the replay booth. Problem solved! Should happen in seconds and not delay the game.

  34. I want every single play reviewed by some guy in an office on the other side of the country. If the game is in LA, the review comes from NY. If the game is in NY, the review comes from LA. Seattle, it comes from Miami, Kansas City it comes from somewhere in Afghanistan and so on. You guys want the games sped up, not me. Slow it down, take your time. Let’s make 1000% sure the winning team is the winning team.

  35. kwf484 says:
    January 31, 2018 at 5:03 pm
    Won’t happen…replay time is also Microsoft product placement time
    —————–
    Agreed. Gotta promote the surface pro. A referee should be in the replay booth. On field officials have no interaction with the process. Make it like college football. The nfl knows this but showcasing the surface pro being brought to the referee is just another $ grab.

  36. So start with a new, sensible catch rule. Not perfect – no rule can account for all possible situations, but simple and sensible:

    A catch is defined by control of the ball with two feet on the ground – or any of the body parts that constitute a player being “downed” if touched by an opposing player. (Extreme and almost impossible example: If the player’s butt is on the ground but feet in the air when he has control, that’s a catch)

    Only two situational refinements needed, and again keep it simple:

    End zone application: The moment a receiver has control with two feet or other body part down in the endzone, the play is over and it is a touchdown.

    Out of bounds application: If the has two feet or other body part down with possession, what happens when he goes out of bound is irrelevant. The catch was made with possession in the field of play and the ball is marked at the spot the player went out of bounds.

  37. upper23 says:
    January 31, 2018 at 8:36 pm
    Overturn obvious calls. If it takes 5 minutes going frame by frame let it go. Got to much reffing from the booth this year. If booth gets involved it should be clear and obvious.

    It was obvious to anyone who didn’t have money on the game or wearing a Steeler jersey that the ball was moving while touching the ground. Very obvious.

    Seems a lot of folks are OK with the NBA model where all fouls are subjective based on the ref and which player we’re talking about. Let’s face it, once the Jordan era began traveling, double dribble, carrying all became completely nebulous. The crossover dribble is a clear carry but it’s rarely called.

    I suppose some long for the Ben Dreith days, before replay, when refs could grant a win by calling say, rtp, just in time to save a team from elimination. I know these calls still aren’t reviewable but it always seemed to me that whenever a team was on top, Steelers, Cowboys, 9er’s, Giants, Raiders, Skins, they always had referee assistance in the clutch. Now THOSE are you asterisk games people.

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