INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL’s competition committee is unlikely to make major changes to the replay system or playoffs this year.
On Wednesday, the committee discussed both issues during a meeting in Indianapolis but reached no consensus on either issue. More meetings are scheduled later this week as league and team officials convene for the NFL’s annual scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“There’s still a lot of discussion to be done,” New York Giants owner John Mara said when asked about using one location to determine replay reviews. “I think it’s going to be difficult to get done on that this year.”
Under the current replay system, the lead referee goes under a hood, then makes a decision about whether to overturn the original call.
Last season, league officials noted there were some errant decisions made on replay reviews, which prompted critics to suggest the calls should be taken away from the officials on the field and be made instead by someone else. Major League Baseball recently joined the NHL as sports that have centralized replay systems.
Commissioner Roger Goodell also told NFL.com he did not expect a system change to be approved for next season, a sentiment that resounded throughout the competition committee.
“I don’t think people are for that,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “That’s just a matter of the things we talk about.”
Goodell also has raised the possibility of adding a wild-card team in in each conference — a move that would likely ensure all 10-win teams make the postseason. The move would also raise revenue for NFL teams because it would add two more games to the television schedule.
Critics contend expansion would only water down the system. While Mara agrees with that argument, he acknowledged that an even a longtime critic of playoff expansion like himself is willing to listen to all of the options.
“I like the way it works right now and I would be a little nervous about watering it down,” he said. “We did have a situation this year where a 10-win team didn’t get in the playoffs and that’s tough to stomach. We were in that situation a few years ago, and (expansion) would pretty much ensure that didn’t happen.”
Arizona went 10-6 last season but missed the playoffs.
Rich McKay, the committee chairman, declined to talk about any possible rules changes, saying that it was “too early in the week.” No formal votes will be cast until the owner’s meetings next month in Orlando, Fla.