Instant Replay II, the Sequel, Gets Panned


There apparently will be no instant replay of instant replay.

The NFL's influential competition committee said Monday it will not recommend either of the two instant replay proposals that will be discussed by the owners later this week.

By a vote of 3-2 with two abstentions, the committee decided that replay technology has not been improved enough to make the system foolproof, or to decrease the delays in games that occurred during the use of replay in 1986-91.

"One thing I know about human error," said George Young, general manager of the New York Giants and committee co-chairman. "The more humans, the more errors."

There was some sentiment for replay's return after questionable calls last season. One proposal was to use replay only in playoff games, and another called for three replay challenges by each team per half.

But league studies showed that only 49 regular-season calls would have been reversed with replay--or one call in every 700 plays. That number increased to one reversed call in every 200 plays during the playoffs.

"I still feel if we have the system, let's use it," said Don Shula, Miami coach and replay proponent. "If the call is incorrect, let's get it right."

However, Young asked: "How many times do we actually get it right?"

The committee confirmed that its major action this week will involve a rules clarification banning all helmet tackling of defenseless players like quarterbacks who have thrown a pass or receivers who are making a leaping catch.

No longer will a player be allowed to tackle a defenseless player with any part of his helmet above his face mask.

The competition committee refused to recommend a proposal to seed playoff teams regardless of conference, and made no decision on Kansas City owner Lamar Hunt's idea of increasing playoff teams from 12 to 16. Hunt will make that proposal personally later this week.

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