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Talk intensifies among owners for correcting clear errors

There’s been plenty of talk in the aftermath of Monday night’s legal illegal bat that the Competition Committee will once again consider changes to the replay review rules. But it’s the owners who determine the changes to the rules, and it’s the owners who were buzzing in the aftermath of the Seattle win over Detroit about the importance of having a system in place for catching clear errors.

The coincidentally-timed ownership meetings, which started the day after the Monday night game, included plenty of discussion regarding two devices for eliminating obvious mistakes.

First, momentum is building for Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s suggestion that coaches should be permitted to challenge anything and everything. While certain clear judgment calls (like pass interference and holding) would be exempt, giving coaches broad power to throw the red flag would help ensure that blunders would be rectified.

Second, some owners support the use of the fairly new communication pipeline from 345 Park Avenue to the various stadiums as an emergency option for ensuring that any and all mistakes are caught. While the pipeline currently serves only as a vehicle for the league office assisting referees when conducting replay reviews, some believe it’s already being used as a de facto “break glass in the event of emergency” technique for avoiding clear mistakes.

If enough owners agree (and plenty already do), the live link from the league office to the various stadiums will be used to keep a mistake from morphing into an embarrassment, with or without a formal replay review.

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that game-deciding calls are made accurately, especially given the impact of bad calls on playoff qualification and/or seeding. The “Fail Mary” play from 2012, for example, kept the Packers from earning a bye. This year, the Monday night mistake could help the Seahawks make the playoffs, win the division, or secure a bye.

While that won’t matter to the Lions, who are officially in a free fall, it hurts the teams competing with the Seahawks for spots on the playoff tree -- from the Cardinals to the Packers, Falcons, and Panthers.

The fact that these mistakes can affect many teams will make more teams inclined to find a way to iron them out of the game.