NFL discussing review changes

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin throws a red flag to ask for a review of a play last...

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin throws a red flag to ask for a review of a play last season. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

John Kryk, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:45 PM ET

PALM BEACH, FLA. - Before the 2011 season, some 60% to 70% of the coaches' challenges in NFL games were used to try to overturn a scoring play or a turnover.

Last year the league addressed part of that by mandating that all scoring plays be reviewed. This week at its annual meeting, the league will vote whether to add turnovers to the auto-review list.

"We've put a lot of challenges back in (coaches') pockets," Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons and chairman of the NFL's competition committee, told reporters.

"We just think this system works better, as far as interference with the game, which we don't want replay to do."

The proposal from the Buffalo Bills to have a replay official in a booth upstairs decide reviews, rather than the on-field referee, is intended to further reduce delays.

On other matters:

• McKay said the new kickoffs rule last season — moving them up to the 35-yard line, from the 30 — resulted in fewer returns, of course, but also a 40% drop in concussions suffered on such plays. That was the impetus for the change — player safety, which has primary importance under Roger Goodell's commissionership.

• McKay said that after experimenting the past two pre-seasons with an eighth on-field official, there are no such plans to do so again. There wasn't a compelling argument in favour of it. Seven it is.

• He said there are a few teams that feel quarterbacks are over-protected, but said those teams probably have been penalized more than most for roughing the passer.

• Asked if he was concerned about the spike in yards-per-passing-attempt last season, and rookie quarterbacks racking up impressive passing numbers from the get-go, McKay quipped, "I'm concerned when they're in my division."

 


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