Over the years, the NFL has expanded the list of reviewable calls on a reactive, not proactive, basis. So when there’s a bad call that could have been easily fixed by replay review but the rules don’t allow for replay review of that specific play, the NFL has later changed the rule to encompass that type of play in the future.
And now it’s time to another expansion of the replay rules.
Appearing on NFL Network after the Lions-Seahawks game, NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino said that the question of whether an illegal bat occurred is not subject to replay review. He also said that a discussion about whether illegal batting should be subject to replay review will now surely occur.
Of course, this specific flaw in the rules would have continued to hide in plain sight until a team like the Lions was victimized by the failure to apply the rule in real time, and by the unavailability of replay review. So here’s an idea for the owners to consider at meetings beginning Tuesday in New York: Form a committee to scour every line of the rule book in search of every possible rule: (1) that currently doesn’t allow for replay review; and (2) that could and should easily be changed to include that rule within the scope of reviewable plays.
This won’t help the Lions. But it may help the next team that has to settle for a private apology from 345 Park Avenue instead of a win.