NFL owners plan late night of replay discussion

Payton: Still work to do before adding sky judge (1:54)

Saints coach Sean Payton talks to Sal Paolantonio about the NFL competition committee's efforts to expand replay. (1:54)

PHOENIX -- NFL owners and coaches plan to continue discussing an expansion of replay into late Tuesday night, amid a swirl of new proposals and passionate pleas from coaches who want additional intervention to correct obvious officiating mistakes.

Sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen early Tuesday evening that a proposal that would allow non-calls for defensive pass interference to be reviewed in the final two minutes of a game has a very good chance of being approved.

"What we want," said Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, "is to make sure we can get it right."

Coaches met for nearly three hours Monday to discuss the issue, spurred by encouragement from two of their most veteran members: Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs. That discussion led to a third proposal from the competition committee, one that -- unlike the other two -- would allow some non-calls for pass interference to be reviewed.

Such a rule would allow the league to correct controversial mistakes, like the one that occurred in the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Rams' 26-23 victory over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game.

Saints coach Sean Payton arrived at the league's annual media breakfast more than 15 minutes early Tuesday to continue advocating for replay expansion.

"People would say [to me], 'Stop,'" Payton said. "But I'm not complaining at all. It's just trying to think forward here. It's what deductible are you comfortable with? [We] just got hit with this event. I don't think it was good for anyone. Coaches met yesterday for 2½ hours. It's the best meeting I've been a part of in my 13 years."

Ownership support for any change to replay remains unclear. Tuesday's debate could end in some sort of resolution, or it could spill into Wednesday morning -- when the annual league meeting is scheduled to break. If there is no consensus, it's possible that one or more replay proposals could be tabled until the spring meetings, scheduled for May 20-22 in Key Biscayne, Florida.

But there is little question that the coaches are united in their hope for some sort of action in response to the NFC Championship Game.

"It's was 32-0," Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said. "Hopefully our voice will be heard."

Some coaches differ on the details. Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he worries about frame-by-frame analysis of pass interference calls, but he joined others in suggesting that the existing replay official, who sits in the press box at stadiums, could alert referees to clear and obvious mistakes.

"I believe that the coaches were on the right track," Gruden said. "I believe that the replay official, his role could expand. I think he could be able to personally be able to beep down to the [referee] when there is an obvious or indisputable error. Maybe there are 13 guys on the field. You can't give them a fifth down. Perhaps even the play that cost the Saints. ... I do think that guy up there, without interrupting the game, can right an indisputable wrong. I believe that should happen."

Payton took it a step further, saying that owners will one day arrive at a similar conclusion.

"It might not be this weekend," Payton said. "Not today, but we're going to have a point where this eighth official up is going to allow this game to flow. It's going to allow it to flow, and he's going to buzz that buzzer when he feels a certain level of a mistake has been made. ... That's going to happen."

As the NFL grows closer in its embrace of sports gambling and live betting, Payton said, the league's officiating will face a new level of scrutiny. If fans are frustrated by the potential for a slower pace of play, he said, "times that by a million when they [bet] $4,000 on their phone and hit 'click' with Caesar's.

"And they hit 'click' for a score here and the last drive, 'click,' they hit all of those. And the last drive, and a call like that takes place and blurrrrr ... there's nothing in the account. I'm not even talking about the avid gambler. That's not who they're going for. All of a sudden, our children are going to have $20, $40 in it. ...

"We're not going to be perfect but certainly you have to appear like you're trying to be."

Meanwhile, owners made two expected votes Tuesday morning. They made permanent the 2018 changes to the kickoff rule, which had been made on a one-year trial basis. They also voted to eliminate all blindside blocks, not just those to the head or neck area, to increase safety on punts and other plays.

Owners also approved a proposal that gives teams a choice in the timing of enforcement on a personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct after a scoring play. The yardage can now be marked off either on the extra point or on the kickoff.

In other voting on rules, the NFL tabled a proposal, originally put forth by the Chiefs, to guarantee each team a possession in overtime. The league also defeated a proposal from the Denver Broncos to give teams a one-time option in the fourth quarter to have a fourth-and-15 from their 35-yard line as an alternative to an onside kick.