The NFL is back in the instant replay business, but only in the preseason and on a limited basis.
Four years after instant replay was voted out by team owners, the NFL on Tuesday outlined plans to implement a modified form of the procedure for 10 exhibition games in August.Commissioner Paul Tagliabue also said at the NFL owners' meetings that he was enacting a ban until the end of the regular season on any team engaging in discussions with another city that might be looking to land an NFL team.
Calling his action a direct result of all the recent franchise-hopping in the NFL, Tagliabue said any teams that violate the ban would be guilty of conduct detrimental to the league and could be fined $500,000.
Tagliabue said instant replay would cover three categories and each coach would be allowed to challenge three plays per half.
The three categories of reviewable plays are:
- Questions of whether a player crosses the goal line in a bid to score or is in his own end zone while in possession of the ball.
- Questions of whether a player is in bounds as he runs with the ball, tries to make a catch, tries to intercept the ball or tries to recover a fumble.
- Questions of whether a team has the appropriate number of players on the field.
When the NFL's six-year foray into instant replay ended after the 1991 season, many complaints focused on the relatively slow method of the reviews.
This time, the decision will be made by the referee on the field. At three of the 10 games, monitors will be moved directly onto the playing surface for the referee to use. In those rulings, the referee will have 90 seconds to act on the call in question. In the other seven games, the referee will have two minutes to make a ruling because he will have to go to either a sideline monitor or to one mounted on a stadium wall.
Another previous sore spot was the large number of lengthy reviews that involved questions of possession on pass plays. Those types of plays will not be reviewed in this summer's experiment.