NFL to Try TV Instant Replay in Nine Exhibitions This Year

The National Football League voted Thursday to experiment with commercial television's instant replays as an aid to officiating in nine exhibition games this summer.

Miami Coach Don Shula, a member of the competition committee, said an eighth official will watch a television set in the press box area to assist the seven field officials.

If the experiment is successful, the league will eventually adopt the plan for regular-season games, Shula said. It is also expected to be used during the playoffs next winter and in Super Bowl XX.

"The intent of the new rule is to correct the obvious mistake," Shula said, meaning, for example, a fumble that isn't seen by the officials on the field. There will be no attempt to correct routine mistakes.

If commercial television doesn't carry an instant replay within 20 seconds after a given play is over, the press box official will be instructed not to interrupt, Shula said.

In other action, the league awarded the 1989 Super Bowl to Miami and the 1990 game to New Orleans.

Next year's game will also be played in the Louisiana Superdome, which will be the host again on Jan. 28, 1990. The 1987 game had already been given to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and the 1988 game had been designated for San Diego.

The NFL chose to bypass Miami in recent years because of what league owners considered to be the unfit condition of the Orange Bowl, but a new stadium is expected to be ready in time for the game on Jan. 22, 1989.

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