John Mara hears the cries to change the NFL’s replay system. He doesn’t think it has the votes.
After the New York Giants owner emerged from the competition committee’s annual meeting in Indianapolis, Mara told a handful of reporters he doesn’t anticipate significant changes coming to the system, which returned to the league in 1999.
“I just don’t sense a lot of support to use replay to call penalties. I don’t sense a lot of support for the expansion of it, either,” Mara said Tuesday. “We’re early on, so that might change, but that’s my sense of where we are right now. I’m not saying it won’t change.”
Any rule change requires a 24-vote threshold to pass. Right now, committee members continue to listen to those involved. On Tuesday, it was the game officials. Later this week, it will be the coaches and general managers. At Phoenix, in March, the owners will weigh in — and they are the ones with the power to alter the rules.
But no formal proposal or recommendation is on the table.
Fans and many media members have vociferously expressed displeasure with the system since a blown call late in the NFC championship game — officials missed a blatant pass interference penalty and a helmet-first hit by the Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman deep in Los Angeles territory. The non-calls helped Los Angeles force overtime and eventually win the game to reach the Super Bowl.
Mara knows all about that, too. And he also recognizes what repercussions can result from major alterations.
“I think you get into a lot of areas there, that there are a lot of unintended consequences, and I just don’t think there is a lot of sentiment for going in that direction,” Mara said. “We had a group of officials in there and I don’t think there was a lot of support from them about sending it upstairs or sending it to New York.”