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NFL COULD CHANGE REPLAY PROCEDURES BEFORE PLAYOFFS

For most rules, the NFL doesn’t take up the topic of potential changes until after the season has ended. As to the specific provisions of the rule book that contributed to Sunday’s crazy finish between the Chargers and the Steelers, the league uncharacteristically could be changing the rules on the fly. New procedures could be implemented before the playoffs, V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira said Monday. Currently, the rules prevent the referee from returning to the replay booth. A revision to the procedures would allow the referee to consult again with the replay official after leaving the booth. Another possible change would prohibit the referee from conducting a conference with the other officials after viewing a replay. On Sunday, it appears that a post-replay review conference prompted referee Scott Green to mistakenly conclude that the illegal forward pass on an exchange that resulted in a defensive score for the Steelers had struck the ground, making the play dead on the spot. Though the ruling didn’t affect the outcome of the game, it prevented the Steelers from covering the point spread.