Cincinnati Bengals owner and president Mike Brown is prepared to take at least one loss at this week's NFL owners' meetings in Orlando, Fla., but he hopes others might end up sharing his thinking.
Brown has never been a proponent of the league's push for replay, and he's staunchly against its proposed changes for centralization; changes that are expected to be made during Tuesday's meetings. The league would like to have all reviewed plays in games across the country reviewed in real time at a central location in New York. It would be staffed with NFL officials, who would watch review-worthy plays as soon as they are challenged either by a coach or the on-site booth. That group would also communicate with the referee in charge of the game where the review is occurring.
"We feel it will be more efficient. It will tie into our communication system. The officials will be able to communicate wirelessly," head of officials Dean Blandino said during a news conference Monday afternoon. "Then the referee is going to be able to communicate to New York and the replay official [in the stadium]. As soon as he makes his announcement, we can start that conversation, versus, now he has to make the announcement, run over 30, 40 yards and put the headset on. So we feel we can certainly speed up the process."
According to Bengals.com, Brown doesn't think that will be the case.
"They've come up with restraints that should prevent it from taking longer, but whether that's how it works out, in fact, is not certain, in my mind," Brown said, according to the team site. "I've seen over time a lot of assurances about what it would and what it wouldn't do and the one thing I do know is that our games are longer and I don't like that."
He has a point. What happens if the centralized location gets blitzed with three or four reviews going on in games at the same time? It's happened before where multiple games have had review-worthy plays around the same time. Do the replays then get placed into a queue? How long might it take for the last reviewed play to get looked at?
Perhaps the most salient point about replay that Brown had -- in my mind -- were his comments on the "justice" that is inherent in a football game. They are some of the same thoughts many -- like me -- share when it comes to most of the uses of replay in baseball. While there are inherent equities in sports, there are inherent inequities, too, and they aren't all bad.
"I don't know if there is ultimate justice in football any more than there is in real life," Brown said. "I can accept officiating error. It balances out over time. Some of these calls are so close, you really can't tell even after you see the instant replay. It happens very fast oftentimes. I would just be content to let the referees call the game the old-fashioned way and make it go faster."
While I do think some replay is necessary in football (heck, coach Marvin Lewis probably does, too, after last season; the Bengals had nine plays reviewed and seven were successfully overturned), too many complexities, like having it all centralized, could create more headaches than are intended. I'm like Brown. Just leave replay be.
Here are this Tuesday's Morning Stripes:
First, here is more from Brown on the replay changes, as reported from Orlando by Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com.
Brown had an extensive talk with the Cincinnati media's Orlando contingent Sunday (it's a group that this year includes Hobson and the Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Dehner Jr.). We posted some of what was said Monday about Andy Dalton and A.J. Green and their upcoming contract changes. Here is a little more from that from Dehner and the Enquirer.