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Volume 25 No. 48
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NFL Notes: Could League Bring Back Dean Blandino To Fix Issues With Replay?

PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio noted there is "already talk in some league circles" about the possible return of former NFL Senior VP/Officiating Dean Blandino in '18. The NFL has "plenty of issues to address" regarding replay. The easiest solution "could be to bring back" Blandino (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 1/7). THE MMQB's Peter King notes the final 22 seconds of the first quarter of Falcons-Rams "took nine minutes, 22 seconds to play." NBC's Al Michaels on the broadcast said, “We moan about it every week. What are you gonna do?” A Falcons punt fell to the ground and -- as replays "would clearly show" -- bounced off two Rams players and then into a pile, where the Falcons recovered. It is "inexcusable to take four minutes and nine seconds from the time a play happens to adjudicate it, when, in half that time, TV replays show exactly what happened" (SI.com, 1/8). Fox' Kevin Burkhardt during the game tweeted, "Replay review is the worst thing to happen to the NFL and MLB. It sucks the life out of any big moment. Just awful. Love Al Michaels for calling it out!"

PARITY REIGNS
: In Jacksonville, Ryan O'Halloran notes the Jaguars were "one of eight new playoff teams (out of 12) this year and one of two teams [Eagles] to go from last-to-first to win a division championship." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “The competition is so great ... it brings hope for our fans and hope for our communities that their teams can turn it around. It’s a great thing for the fans and great thing for the league” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/8). Jaguars Owner Shad Khan said of the playoff turnover, "That’s pretty cool. I think it’s great for the league. The usual suspects who aren’t here, you might say it’s not good for them, but it’s great for the league" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/7).

WHERE'D THE POINTS GO?
In Boston, Ben Volin noted scoring was "significantly down for the regular season" in a league that has "long believed that more points lead to more excitement, which leads to higher TV ratings." The rule changes over the last decade-plus "have all favored offense, yet the offenses took a significant step backward this season." The scoring average this season "was 21.7 points." That is 1.1 "lower than last year’s average, nearly 2 points lower" than the '13 high mark of 23.4, and the lowest average since the '09 season (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/7).