NFL’s Expanded Replay System Will Improve Accuracy, Extend Length of Games

The NFL's use of instant replay has expanded.

Now, all turnovers will be subject to review by the replay assistant in the stadium booth, just like scoring plays were in a rule that was put in place last season. The turnover rule includes interceptions and fumbles, but not turnovers on downs.

Basically, when there's a turnover, the replay assistant will review the play upstairs. If it's determined to be a clean play, the assistant will buzz the head referee to continue with the game. If the replay assistant believes the play needs further review, the head referee will go under the hood to make the call. Note that the replay assistant is not in charge of making any final determinations on the play in question.

The Bills proposed an additional replay rule that did not pass. They wanted all replays to be viewed and determined by a replay official in the booth, but they couldn't get enough backing in the ownership vote.

Analysis: Head coaches won't have to challenge turnovers and touchdowns anymore, which increases the likelihood that the game's momentum-swinging plays will be called correctly. This is because coaches won't have to live with the sickening feeling of running out of challenges and watching the game get determined by a botched call on the field. In that sense, the strategy of the coach's challenge will change, and it's good for the NFL's peace of mind that games won't be determined by an officiating crew that missed a call.

What to Watch: While it's great for peace of mind, this new rule will extend the length of games, and that will continue to infuriate fans. Obviously, not all turnovers will be reviewed on the field because some are cut and dry, but the ones that head to the booth will be met with a collective groan.

And as previously mentioned, this will change the strategy for head coaches, who can be more liberal with their challenges now that they don't have to save them to review a potential game-altering turnover in the fourth quarter. Now, plays that looked to be harmless could turn into a lengthy production. That's become the price of accuracy.

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