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NFL Instant Replay Not Causing Games To Drag

As has been the case in recent years, the NFL instant replay system will continue to see tweaks heading into the 2012 season. The NFL first instituted an instant replay system in 1986, pulled it in 1992 and then brought it back in its relatively current form in 1999. This past year, the league decided to make all scoring plays reviewable by the replay booth. In doing so, the average NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rick McKay indicated the average time of an NFL game was only one second longer than in previous years.

This year, the league will be adding another wrinkle as they will make all turnovers subject to review by the officials' replay booth upstairs. This does not mean every play will be reviewed by the officials on the field, but rather, if a player leaves any sort of doubt, the booth can call down to the field. Given how drastically turnovers can change a game, this seems like a reasonable addition. Teams should have to be strategic to a certain extent in using their challenges, but it's more important to simply get the plays right on the field, even if a team does not have any more challenges.

One other interesting change for fans attending games is that stadium video boards will now show the same replay the lead official is viewing under the hood on the sideline video monitor. Previously, the home team could show just about any sort of replays from the play in question, even if it is not the view the official is seeing. Some angles don't give the play the proper context, so showing what the official is seeing will give fans a better idea of things.