During a conference call with the press prior to the start of the NFL Annual Meeting, it was revealed that the Cleveland Browns have proposed a change to the instant replay rule.
Specifically, the Browns have put a proposal in front of the NFL owners that replay challenges not be used up if a challenge is upheld by the replay official. At present, teams are given two challenges to use during the course of a game. That is the limit regardless of the outcome of the challenges. The Browns' proposal would have a team retaining its challenge if instant replay overturns the call on the field. Put another way, the Browns' proposal would limit a team to two challenges which fail.
Rich McKay of the Buccaneers discussed the Browns proposal and was not encouraging about its' prospects. McKay first suggested that the proposal would not be supported since the NFL is in the final year of the original three-year replay rule, and the league would be unlikely to tinker with the rule until it comes up for discussion again after 2003. Secondly, McKay was concerned about the increased number of challenges the rule could create. "One concern about giving challenges back, even when they're successful", McKay offered, "is that you might in some way be encouraging challenges".
Additional notes from yesterday's conference:
- A decision on the location of the 2007 Super Bowl will probably be pushed off until the May meetings in Philadelphia. Washington and New York City are both interested in hosting the game, but NFL publicist Joe Browne indicated that owners continue to favor warm-weather sites, preferably in Florida.
- The NFL is happy that more points are being scored in games and that there are more comebacks and close games.
- The NFL Europe season and the Buccaneers scheduled game in Tokyo are still going forward as originally planned, despite international developments.
- Two proposals on the books, to expand the playoffs and to alter the overtime formats, will be discussed. Both will be discussed, but the NFL's Rich McKay suggested that the NFL will tend to wait to see how the eight-division system works prior to making playoff changes.
- McKay also discussed some of the issues relating to overtime and how greater numbers of games being decided on the first possession. Nearly 60% of teams who win the coin toss in overtime are winning the games as of 2002. A proposal from Kansas City would ensure that each team would have a possession in overtime. If the game remains tied after that, the game would then switch to a sudden death format.
- The league has nothing to say yet regarding possible punishment in the Laveranues Cole matter, where it appears that the Redskins may have violated some NFL rules.