NFL touts impact of “replay assist” on reducing formal replay challenges

NFL touts impact of “replay assist” on reducing formal replay challenges

It is known by various names, several of which are used by the league. Expedited review is more common. Replay assist is the term used in a tweet posted today by the NFL Officiating account.

“The NFL has expanded its replay rule to allow replay officials to assist on-field officials in specific, limited game situations to prevent stoppage time and improve call accuracy,” a proclaimed the league.

The tweet included a graphic touting that “replay assistance” prevented 254 stoppages during the 2021-22 season, half being pit critics who were prevented and the other half being challenges from the coach who were avoided. (The tweet does not contain stats for 2022-23.)

The post includes a link to an article regarding the 2021 replay assist extension to encompass questions such as whether a catch was made or a touchdown was scored. The total categories allowed for expedited review without challenge are: application of sanctions; confirmation of good down; no fault; administration of the game clock; possession of a loose ball; complete or incomplete success; loose ball touching a boundary line, goal line or end line; position of the ball or a player in relation to a boundary line, line of scrimmage, line to cross or goal line; and player down by contact (when not knocked out on the field).

The numbers are impressive, but they obscure questions raised earlier this week about the transparency and consistency of expedited review. Three specific cases from the conference championships prove that: (1) the non-catch of DeVonta Smith, who was not caught by replay assist (even though the league has access to all replay angles) ; (2) Patrick Mahomes kicking the ball after his shin fell off which was corrected by the replay assist; and (3) Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s reach with the ball for a first down, which was knocked down by a coach’s challenge, but ignored by replay.

The story continues

The biggest problem comes from inconsistency. Sometimes it’s used, sometimes not. If a decision on the ground was so clearly and patently wrong that the replay review later overturns it, it should have been overturned by an expedited review.

Basically, the league opened a Pandora’s box with replay help. It fixes some calls, but not others. He should fix everything, or he should fix nothing. Everything else introduces the potential for the kind of inconsistency that makes people think the games are rigged, even though they aren’t.

NFL touts impact of ‘replay assist’ on reducing official replay challenges that originally appeared on Pro Football Talk

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